‘PREP YourSELF’ aims to teach responsibility

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Aroostook County Action Program has received a grant via the Department of Health and Human Services titled Improving Outcomes for Youth, a Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).

The goal of Improving Outcomes for Youth is to provide youth with the skills needed to promote leadership, resiliency, financial literacy and personal responsibility. IOY encourages delayed pregnancy and promotes the idea that evidence shows having two involved parents is the best way to improve outcomes for children, youth and their families.

For youth already parenting, IOY has a mentorship program designed to promote healthy family relationships, self-care and personal growth activities designed to increase economic independence.

As part of this initiative, ACAP has partnered with New Beginnings and Maine Family Planning to facilitate the PREP curriculum, “Be Proud! Be Responsible!”

“While Aroostook’s teen pregnancy rate is among the state’s lowest at 3.7 unintended pregnancies for every 1,000 teenagers, now remains a good time to help our youth develop the perspective and character they need to avoid high-risk behavior,” said Jenny Paul, project director. “From intravenous drug use to risky sexual behavior, social media bullying and binge drinking, our youth need new tools to equip them for the new threats that now face young adults.”

“Be Proud! Be Responsible!” is a risk reduction program geared toward preventing unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission. The curriculum encourages healthy self-esteem, self-advocacy, communication and healthy relationship skills, as well as risk reduction and prevention education, one of which is abstinence. The program also focuses on alcohol and drug use as a major predictor of youth engagement in risky behavior.

All programs are provided at no cost and are suitable for those ages 16-24. For more information, contact Paul at 764-3721.

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