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FOR RELEASE: October 26, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Teen Educators Stress the Importance of Dads in Parenting

Dads Make a Difference is the main message of a group of teen peer educators scheduled to provide training Nov. 9–10 for teens from Lone Wolf and Granite High Schools in Western Oklahoma. The training will be held Nov. 9 – 10 at the Ramada Inn in Elk City. Teen educators, from Millwood High School in Oklahoma City, have taught this program to about 200 middle school students over the past two years and with positive reception from the younger students.

According to health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), in 1998 Oklahoma ranked 12th highest in the nation in teen birth rates to females age 15 – 19 in 1997.

In 1998, teen girls ages 19 and younger gave birth to 7,998 babies. The teen educators emphasize that every birth resulted from sexual involvement by two parents and requires the acceptance of responsibility by both parents.

Teen educators are trained to teach younger children the importance of avoiding risky behaviors that cause pregnancy and the need for fathers to be involved in their children's lives. Activities also show the difficulties faced when a teen tries to raise a baby without the father's emotional, physical and financial support in the home. High school teens teach this program because they are positive role models for younger kids and younger kids listen to them.

Dads Make a Difference is a four lesson program that uses trained high school teen peer educators to teach 7th and 8th grade students about the importance of fathers in children's lives, the legal and financial responsibilities of parenting, and why teenagers should wait to have a baby.

The Oklahoma County Teen Pregnancy Coalition and OSDH are sponsoring the training. For more information call the OSDH Women's Health Division, Community Health Educator Sheryl Mapes at (405) 271-4470.


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