Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Mother Was Born

March 24, 2002. A little more than 12 years ago I began the most challenging role of my life: mother. Up until that point I had been a daughter, student, friend, girlfriend, coworker, and wife but none of those roles had prepared me for my new position. I remember bringing our daughter home from the hospital and being amazed that they actually let my husband and I leave with her. The fact that we were allowed – and expected – to assume complete responsibility for this brand new life, this sweet little baby girl, was astounding to me. I kept waiting for someone to come tell us that they had made a mistake, that clearly we had no idea what we were doing – because we didn’t – and that she couldn’t go home with us. But no one came, and off we went, and oh what a journey it has been! There have been so many adventures and new experiences, a long line of firsts: first smile, first tears, first words, first teeth, first steps, first friends, first arguments, first days of school, first dance recital, first swim meet, first school dance, first communion. We have celebrated and rejoiced with each new skill, each new accomplishment, and each new step in the crazy dance toward adulthood.

This spring we’ve added a new first – a first boyfriend. And with this new first, all of those feelings of uncertainty and ill preparedness from the day we brought our precious bundle of joy home have come roaring back! Have we taught her to be kind and caring? Have we taught her to be respectful of herself and others? Have we taught her about healthy relationships and love? Have we done enough to help her feel empowered to make good decisions about her personal health and well-being? And the honest answer is: I don’t know.

But what I do know is that we have strived to create an ongoing dialogue, an atmosphere of openness, so that she never feels like she can’t ask us questions. I want her to know and understand that she should never be afraid to come to us with anything and that we will always try to listen.  We have always told her that as her parents we have three jobs: to keep her safe, to help her grow and to help her learn – with LOVE. We may not always have the answers but we can look for them together. Who knows where this journey is heading… but I can’t wait to find out!

Monday, May 19, 2014

And the Celebration Continues...

Let's party like it's 1994!

In all seriousness, we are counting down to Summer Institute 2014, where we will continue to celebrate 20 years of accomplishments in teen pregnancy prevention while pushing even harder for more growth and progress. We are excited to have more than 350 colleagues from across the state and the nation. This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the 47 percent decrease in SC's birthrate but focus on the research, awareness, advocacy, and evidence-based programming necessary to keep improving as SC is still ranked 11 in the nation for teen births.  While we will work hard in beautiful Charleston, SC June 11-13, we will also take time to party just as hard as we did in Columbia at our 20th Anniversary Celebration, especially during our celebration on Thursday night at the conference! Check out some conference highlights below:

Social Work, Health Education, and Counseling Hours Available

The 2014 Summer Institute will provide strategies that impact young people's health and well-being by providing the latest information regarding teen pregnancy and STI/HIV prevention programs and approaches.  

The conference will feature: 

More information is available at the Summer Institute Conference homepage.  Questions? Contact Kimberley Wicker at 803-771-7700.

by Kimberly Wicker, Outreach and Development Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Monday, May 12, 2014

Keep Talking to Closed Doors

When my mom held her baby girl and thought about the future I’m sure she saw our relationship growing into something Gilmore Girlesque when I became a teenager. I’d tell her about my first crush while she painted my nails. I’d cry on her shoulder and we'd pig out on ice cream when I got my heart broken. Reading my diary would never cross my mind because my life, to her, would be an open book.

Instead she got me. An introvert who thinks pouring my heart ranks slightly below a root canal on the list of things I’d rather not do. Even in the height of my teenage angst, I’d be much more likely to grab my running shoes than I would my cell phone after a tough breakup.

That had to be hard for a touchy-feely, extrovert like my mom. But to this day I’m amazed that she has never stopped letting me know she was there if I needed her. She kept asking questions even when I gave her one-word answers. When I got annoyed and slammed my door, she’d slip a “thinking of you” card under it. She instituted a mandatory call-home-on-Sundays policy when I moved out and still sent a card when she knew I was struggling.

As annoying as I thought it was when I was a teenager, I so appreciate it now. My whole life I knew that there was always someone I could go to with my problems. Having that security gave me the courage to move halfway across the country, try new things, be willing to accept myself for who I am, have the courage to fail, and the faith that I would eventually succeed.

by Kylee Perez, Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tomorrow is Midlands Gives!

The SC Campaign is participating in Midlands Gives, a local, 24-hour online giving challenge lead by Central Carolina Community Foundation TOMORROW, May 6! This event is designed to encourage friends and neighbors to support their favorite causes and organizations right here in the Midlands. Click here to donate to the SC Campaign!

Why should you support the SC Campaign's work you ask? Well, here are some reasons...

  • South Carolina has the 11th highest teen birth rate in the U.S.
  • Teen childbearing costs South Carolina taxpayers $197 million annually.
  • 15 teens (age 15-19) give birth every day in South Carolina.
  • 57% of South Carolina high school students report they have had sex.
  • 5,532 teens (age 15-19) gave birth in 2012 in South Carolina.

We need YOUR help to combat this issue!

Donate $75 or more on May 6 and get a FREE, limited-edition Jonathan Green poster (pictured below) to commemorate the SC Campaign's 20th Anniversary! Posters signed by Jonathan Green will be sold at the 20th Anniversary Celebration on May 7 for $100 and unsigned posters will be $50, so make sure to get yours fast!

Click here to donate to SC Campaign for Midlands Gives.
Click here for more information about the commemorative poster.

by Sara Lamberson, Corporate Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy