Roughly one in four teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

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Media, Parents, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy, Teens
September 12, 2014

Edge of Eighteen PromoPhoto credit: Al Jazeera America

 

Ever wondered what would happen if you gave video cameras to 15 teenagers from different backgrounds, brought them to New York for some intense training in filmmaking, then sent them home to document their senior year of high school? Award-winning filmmakers Alex Gibney and Alexandra Pelosi did just that and the result is Edge of Eighteen, a stunning, thought-provoking, and kind of heartbreaking docu-series (airing on Al Jazeera America Sunday nights at 9pm ET/6pm PT). 

Each week, we meet a different set of teens and get an up-close look at what their lives are like—from triumphs to crushing disappointments—from their own perspectives. We meet their parents, teachers, friends, classmates…and watch events unfold as they make plans to leave their teen years behind.

In this week’s episode, we meet Christina McVay from Barbourville, KY, where poverty and teen pregnancy are pervasive. Christina is 17, five months pregnant, and brings viewers along as she tries to manage pregnancy, parenthood, and her commitment to finish high school and go to college. Christina is hopeful about the future, and her boyfriend Les supports her. As the months pass however, her optimism is challenged and it’s not clear how things will work out for her, Les, and their child.

Since four in 10 teens have never thought of what life would be like if they got pregnant or caused a pregnancy, one of the most important things adults can do is to give teens a way to make it personal.

After all, if you think teen pregnancy can’t happen to you, why care about preventing it?  This series is a great way to get teens thinking about what teen parenthood is really like—from the viewpoint of another teen. Grab your teens, tune in, and check out these tips for helping your teens avoid pregnancy in the first place. Also, keep an eye out for our StayTeen PSAs during the episode—filmed by our very own Youth Leadership Team!

Authored by: Marisa Nightingale

As The National Campaign’s Senior Media Advisor, Marisa Nightingale leads key partnerships with entertainment media executives to help integrate prevention messages into their work. She and her colleagues provide expertise, story material, and hands-on help to hundreds of content creators in television, print, and digital media whose work is most popular with teens, young adults, and their parents.

Marisa joined the Campaign in 1996, shortly after its founding, and is the architect of its nationally-recognized Entertainment Media and Audience Strategy program. She served as the program’s Senior Director for 12 years and continues to advise on program strategy, forge new media partnerships, and expand relationships with existing partners including NBC, FOX, The CW, ESSENCE, Mun2.tv and more, with a special emphasis on reaching Latino audiences. Public Service Ad (PSA) campaigns developed under her direction have won multiple awards and have garnered millions of dollars in free placements.

Prior to joining The National Campaign, Marisa was the Communications Director at Share Our Strength (SOS), one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger organizations. At SOS, she informed journalists about the causes and consequences of hunger, and trained chefs and restaurateurs to talk to press about hunger, poverty, and child nutrition issues. She is a seasoned speaker on the role of media in preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy, and has served as a Campaign spokesperson to local and national media, including The Today Show, The View, The Ricki Lake Show, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post and more. Marisa graduated with honors from Yale University and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

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Authored by: Danielle Lapierre
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Bedsider, Popular Culture
Mississippi Flower
September 09, 2014
Authored by: Andrea Kane

Andrea Kane is the Senior Director of Public Policy at The National Campaign. She is responsible for The National Campaign’s public policy program, as well as its growing initiative with community colleges. During her time at the Campaign, she has also had responsibility for partnerships with a wide range of national, state and local organizations and helped launch The National Campaign’s work with youth in foster care and with Latino communities.

From 2001 through 2008, she was also affiliated with the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families in various capacities. Before joining The National Campaign in 2001, Andrea served at the White House Domestic Policy Council as a special assistant to President Clinton. She has also worked at the National Governors’ Association, and at the state and local level in California, Texas, and Virginia.

She studied Government at Smith College, received a BA from Cornell University and an MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

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