Since 2010, MyPower, Inc. has worked with more than 9,206 5th – 9th grade girls in its MyPower Elementary Mentoring Circles, the MyPower Middle School Edition, and MyPower Leadership Camps to empower girls to make wise choices, set goals, succeed academically, and avoid teen pregnancy. We are serving 1,353+ students this year.
Recent teen pregnancy statistics released by the New Mexico Department of Health are encouraging for Lea County. The Hobbs Municipal Schools (HMS) previously announced a huge drop in the number of pregnant high school girls, a 20-year low, despite a record number of students enrolled in HMS.
Addressing the tough issues and alarming statistics for STD’s and teen pregnancy in Lea County, MyPower has worked closely with the Hobbs Municipal Schools (HMS) to implement major changes in the sex education program for 7th – 10th graders. This change to Abstinence PLUS information, evidenced-based programs was exciting news for the Hobbs community. Science and health teachers teach factual information, and parents can choose to “opt-out” their children from the program. MyPower advocated for this change and commends the HMS Board for implementing the new policy.
MyPower’s Mentoring Circles offer 5th grade girls a 12-week structured empowerment and self-esteem program through our spring MyPower Circles. Sessions are held once a week for 2 1⁄2 hours after school. The program was customized from well researched programs proven to help girls make good choices, set goals, succeed academically, and avoid teen pregnancy. We address issues in a straight-forward and relevant manner. Healthy snacks, crafts, and T-shirts are included for all the girls. We have 90% student participation in eight elementary schools.
MyPower Leadership Camps are exciting day camps for girls entering 6th-9th grades. These camps instill academic and social skills in a dynamic and entertaining setting! Local teachers, community leaders, and university students work as facilitators. Middle school girls can look forward to fun and fulfilling learning experiences, free MyPower T-shirts, games, academic, and skill-building activities. The camps are held in late summer on the Hobbs High School Campus.
MyPower was founded in 2009 specifically to address Lea County’s alarming teen pregnancy and STD rates. New Mexico has consistently moved between 1st and 3rd place nationally. As of 2018, New Mexico ranks #8 in the United States for teen births. The U.S. leads the industrial world in teen births. While rates are down in Lea County since 2009, there is still a long way to go.
High teen pregnancy rates hurt communities, as less than 1/3 of teens who begin families before 18 ever complete high school; only 2% of teen mothers complete college before age 30; and the children of these parents are often not ready for school themselves and are more at risk for child abuse. In New Mexico, the gross impact of teenage parenting is more than $100 million annually (Source: Power to Decide). Single women who have a baby during the teen years are also at a high risk of poverty.
MyPower’s program is Abstinence PLUS information, and is designed to help empower girls in grades 5-8 to successfully navigate the teen years by empowering them to make wise choices, set goals, succeed academically, and avoid risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy. These youth development programs provide girls with straight talk about issues they will face as they enter the teen years. MyPower uses tools such as refusal skills, training and practice with real life situations to prepare these girls.
Specifically, our Abstinence PLUS Information curriculum works to empower girls to think about their goals, and it presents very straight talk concerning sexual issues, including basic facts of life, the importance of waiting, teen STD and teen birth statistics, how to prevent STDs, birth control options and the facts about common myths. MyPower’s straight talk and Abstinence PLUS Information mentoring programs give girls the answers to their questions about the consequences of risky sexual behavior. MyPower utilizes area nurses and doctors who volunteer their time to present the anatomy and facts of life sessions, as well as the teen pregnancy and STD issue in the community.