We are two years into a five year grant for teen pregnancy prevention in Okanogan County and our progress is powerful and exciting. Last year we partnered with three Okanogan County school districts including Pateros, Paschal Sherman and Methow Valley as well as Juvenile Detention to teach and integrate comprehensive sexual health education that is shown to reduce teen pregnancies.
One of our partners, Barb Quintasket, Science Teacher at Paschal Sherman Indian School, recently wrote us:
"The partnership with Room One has been built on total trust and it has been very beneficial for our school. In my classroom it was beneficial in two different ways; the first result I saw from this program was the students gaining access to the information that they need to make healthy choices. The other result from this program has been an outcome that I didn’t anticipate. Because of the trust that was built during the program, I can bring up anything and the kids can bring up anything now. There has been a door of communication that has opened because of these classes. Now students feel safe coming to me with questions or support and nothing feels awkward to talk about. I see this as one of the most beneficial things that has happened in our school in a long time.”
Programs like ours have fueled a rapid decline in teen pregnancy rates, yet Tom Price, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has unilaterally ended the entire $210 million dollar program effective July 2018. Room One is doing our part to ensure our elected officials know what this funding means for rural communities like Okanogan, where 1 in 20 girls becomes a mother while in her teens. Click here to take action and advocate for this critical community-centered program.
Room One will continue to work with our partners across the county to prioritize strategies that will further reduce teen pregnancies. We are exploring funding streams and partnerships to help us maintain and sustain this vital movement. We are committed to ensuring all Okanogan youth have the knowledge and resources they need to prevent pregnancy, maintain reproductive health and be in control of their own future.