Friday, March 30, 2012

Mustache Madness....A different type of March Madness

So it’s almost down to the wire…this competition of MEN. The competitors are starting to look more than a little…scruffy. Who will be crowned champion of these men among men? Well, we will just have to wait and see, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point, when you remember the madness…the MUSTACHE MADNESS!

It all started with 19 brave men. The number 19 represents the number of teens that give birth each day in South Carolina. The contestants all started with baby faces and individual fundraising goals, and then, the game began. Each man has, for the last three weeks, been growing their mustache (ONLY A MUSTACHE) and raising money through the help of friends and family. As each man reaches his goal, he is allowed to go back to his facial hair status (bearded, shaved, or the inevitable Soul Patch!), but until he reaches his goal, it is MUSTACHE MADNESS for him.

The SC Campaign staff have gotten in on the fun and have been supporting the competitors that are co-workers in different ways, including temporary tattoos! SC Campaign competitors include training coordinator Ryan Wilson, CPO Doug Taylor, and CEO Forrest Alton.

Other agencies have gotten in on the act too, and the men are doing whatever they can to raise the money to be done with the competition. They have hosted beer nights at their homes where the $5 went to the donations, put out “Stache Cash” jars at their work places to grab money from good humored customers, and have even resorted to using cute furry friends or children in their weekly photos to get the “Aww” votes!

So if you are interested in getting in on the fun too, please do! Go to our website, and visit our DONATE NOW page. Click on MUSTACHE MADNESS and donate to your favorites!

By: Taylor Wilson, Communications Specialist -Contact Taylor at

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Telling the Story Again

I am already wondering what I am going to do!  It is just a few weeks from Easter, that holiest day in the Christian year, that day in which everyone shows up!   We will bring out extra chairs, have special music, and know that our sanctuary will be full.

The problem is the sermon!  What am I supposed to say?  I have been the pastor at Providence Baptist for 15 Easters!  I have preached every Easter story at least 3 times.  You would think that people would know it by now!  Maybe this year I will use a different text -- perhaps Judges 11:29-40.

Can you imagine the uproar?  People come to church on Easter expecting to hear THE story!  It is one that every preacher feels compelled to use.  We don’t tell it the same way from church to church;  I won’t tell it the same way this year as I have before—but we will tell the story.   We will tell it because it is important, because we need to remember it, and because it forms the center of our faith.

It is the same story, but we continue to tell it.  That is what we do with the important lessons of our lives.  Yet many times when it comes to lessons about sexuality we fall into the delusion that we don’t have to worry about that since we had THE talk.
It is not THE talk.  It is a continuing conversation.  It is a conversation that stresses different points—from parts of our bodies, to sexual intercourse, to setting limits, to values.  These are conversations that take years to tell!  And so we need to return to them over and over and over again.  We need to do it for ourselves, but also for our families, for our world.

This year we are having one of those conversations again, the one concerning contraceptives.  Many times in the past few weeks I have heard people say, “I thought we made this decision 50 years ago?”  (I have said that myself!)  But have we had it since?  Have we explained that hormonal therapy isn’t just about birth control?  Have we had the conversation that explains that married couples choose hormonal therapy in order to be responsible parents?  Have we explained how using hormonal therapy is a way of caring for our world?  Have we had a conversation about the ethics of contraceptives?

We did have this conversation 50 years ago and now we are getting to have it again.  And we should!  Can you imagine a minister who said, “I did an Easter sermon 15 years ago.  We don’t have to do that again!”  The important conversations are those we have over and over and over again.  As we should! 

(And no, my text for Easter Sunday is not Judges 11.  It is John 20:1-18.  If you are in Charleston for the Family Circle Cup come by.  We are just down the street!  How’s that for shameless promotion?)

Rev. Don Flowers has been the pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Charleston for 15 years and is a former Board Chair of the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poli-talks...My Least Favorite at Parties!

Traditionally, and even though I know friends that would scoff at this, I do not like to talk about politics.

When it starts at parties, especially in company of mixed views, I am quite certain it will kill the good time we are all having. To “Mighty Mouse” the situation I “come to save the day” and will suddenly bring up such a random subject that people can’t help but leave the “dirty poli-talks” for another day, sans Taylor.  (“My favorite for a while was, how about those Banana Slugs, did you see the game last night, whew!”  For those that don’t know what I am talking about, like most of my friends, click here.)

The one thing that ALL of my friends will agree that I L-O-V-E talking about is teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention.  I love to talk about what I do, because I also L-O-V-E what I do.  So I talk, and talk, and talk, and talk about contraception, and parent child connectedness, and how abstinence is the best option for our young people, but that they still need the education for when they decide to become sexually active to know how to protect themselves….talk, talk talk Wahwahwahwah wah wah wah wah….I am quite sure half of my friends believe I sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

But something has changed here recently.  I can’t talk about my FAVORITE subject without talking about my LEAST FAVORITE subject.  Just like the weird guy at the party, politics are sticking their nose into my convo.

The “political debate” about “contraception” feels so foreign to me, as it does to many of my friends.  To see this on CNN or on any other news channel is like mixing pickles and chocolate (NOT GOOD…DO NOT TRY).  A personal decision like when to have a baby and how to prevent having one until you are ready is not one for the floor of the House or Senate.  It isn’t even one for open discussion between elected officials behind closed doors.  It is between a sexually active person(s) and a medical professional.

I will not end my good time by debating the politics of contraception here, but I will say this. The whole point of this is that people have the right to select their method of family planning.  I do not care what others do for their pregnancy prevention, be that natural family planning or using long acting reversible contraception (LARC).  As Americans, we have the right to make our own plans for our own lives, individually, without the need to consult on the state or federal government level.  When folks stop remembering that and start wanting the family planning conversation to be a POLITICAL CONVERSATION, I start calling them the “Party Poopers” and will immediately change the subject “so how about those Banana Slugs…what a team, am I right!”

by:  Taylor Wilson, Communications Specialist

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marathon Training and Teen Pregnancy Prevention are more Similar than You Might Think

I am not a natural runner.  Some people run and look graceful, powerful, effortless. Not me.  I look like I am running mile 10 when I am on mile 2. I look like I am fighting for every step.  But, nonetheless, running has become a really important part of my life. Along with two friends, I get up at 5:00 in the morning 3-4 times a week to run, and I completed my first half marathon last year.  I was supposed to run my second half-marathon this weekend, but instead found myself frustrated on the sidelines with an injury.

This unwelcome break gave me a chance to reflect on what makes running so special to me. Running is simple and hard.  It is continuing to put one foot in front of the other, even when all you want to do is quit. It is taking setbacks, like an injury, in stride, and it's knowing that you’ll get better if you put in the work.  Occasionally, there is a big accomplishment along the way that makes all the work pay off.

 It is not too much of a stretch to think about lowering the rates of teen pregnancy as a marathon.  One of the central tenets of the SC Campaign is that we are committed to prevention now and in the long term.  Teen pregnancy prevention is not simple  -- it is hard, and the challenges facing South Carolina are daunting.  We have the 12th highest teen birth rate in the country.  We are disproportionately and negatively affected by child poverty, health disparities, and other indicators of child wellbeing.

 However, through steadfast commitment to young people, the SC Campaign continues to invest in strategies that work such as effective, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs;  accessible contraception for teens who are sexually active; and helping parents have conversations about sex, love, and healthy relationships. We are able to maintain this commitment because we have a vision of young people who have the chance to go to college, who are empowered to make decisions about their health, and  who can wait until they are ready to start a family.  While we have some significant challenges, we also have some major accomplishments.  Teen birth rates have never been lower in the state or in the nation. These decreases represent real people: young people who have a chance to finish high school, go to college, start a job or otherwise continue to build their vision of the future without the responsibility of pregnancy and parenthood until they are ready.  So, just as I will keep getting up far too early to go for a run, we will all keep working to help young people in our state have the chance to build the future they want. 

- Shannon Flynn is the Research and Evaluation Director at the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Contact Shannon at