November 23, 2014

SSC student and partner raise awareness concerning teen pregnancy

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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BAY CITY — Standish-Sterling Central junior, Victoria Greenwood and Bay City Central senior, Alysha Sautter, are increasing awareness regarding teen pregnancy as they compete against several groups from the state to promote a topic of local, state, and/or national interest.

According to Greenwood, the girls are spearheading the project through the Health Occupations Students of America Community Awareness program at the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District Career Center.

The topic hits close to home for both girls.

“One of my best friends actually became pregnant so that’s why we chose teen pregnancy,” Greenwood said, adding no previous competitors had used the topic.

“There’s a lot of girls in my school that are pregnant right now, too,” Sautter said.

A guideline packet for the project says each group must first make a worthwhile contribution to the community by planning and documenting activities concerning their project, then create a portfolio of the project and develop a presentation.

Greenwood says the duo conducted a survey of 500 teen girls, developed a PowerPoint presentation, created a display board and distributed 50 T-shirts, with the slogan “Ask yourself, (front), is it worth it?, (back)”, throughout the Bay-Arenac center, Bay City Central High School and Standish-Sterling Central High School.

The girls – who don’t take a stance on the issue in the presentation, electing instead to expose the costs and consequences of a teen pregnancy – say the competition project isn’t just about winning for them.

“It’s about making teen girls aware of the cost and time a child demands,” Sautter said. “A pregnancy costs between 9 and 12 thousand dollars, not counting doctor visits.”

“Having the baby in the hospital isn’t in that cost,” Greenwood said, adding that can add another $5,000 onto the tab.

“With the economy hurting, it’s not easy for parents (of teenage mothers) to help out either.”

A stunning statistic revealed through the team’s survey found that 5-percent of the girls said it was “cool” to get pregnant and thought that if they were pregnant, their boyfriend would stay with them forever.

“They’re finding out that’s not the case for most of them,” Greenwood said.

Greenwood and Sautter have been promoting their cause since October and will be competing in the state competition in April at Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City – after a third-place finish at the regional contest at Delta College – that presents the opportunity to compete at nationals if their topic is promoted the most, combined with their state competition score.

“We don’t even know who’s judging us.” Greenwood said. She explained the methods for judgment aren’t disclosed and are measured through large-scale awareness and promotion throughout the community.

They also say they’re finding their presentation to be effective, although, they believe a larger-scale operation might be a better approach after the competition.

“It’s about 50-50,” said Greenwood. “Some girls already have their minds made up because they hadn’t learned about it at an earlier age.”

Both girls said they might look into starting an organization after the competition.

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