Upstate school district beating the odds on teen pregnancy - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate school district beating the odds on teen pregnancy

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(Fox Carolina) (Fox Carolina)

"My worst fear was telling my parents."

That is only one obstacle that Chelsea Chan said she had to overcome when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was 16 and a junior in high school," Chan said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 2.5 million girls between the ages 15 of 19 become pregnant each year, and fewer than half of them go on to graduate high school.

Spartanburg County School District 2 is turning back that trend thanks in part to the Adolescent Family Life (AFL) program.

"We are able to provide parenting classes for them," said Angie Jones one of the program coordinators, "We meet with them once a week at the high school and they are able to be around other girls with similar situations."

District 2 launched the AFL program in 2008 and since then 90 percent of girls enrolled in the program have achieved their academic goals and fewer than 10 percent have had a repeat pregnancy.

Jones said she is proud of the program, but would rather not see any of the teen pregnancies in the district.

"But if someone is pregnant that is something we have to deal with, and the best way to do that is supporting these girls," Jones said. "And saying to them your path might not be a straight one, but we still want you to achieve your education goal."

District 2 helped pioneer AFL. Its success led to funding from the Mary Black Foundation and the South Carolina Children's Trust to expand the program countywide. 

Chan, now in college and raising her 16-month-old daughter, said she is grateful for the AFL program but hopes others will not follow in her footsteps.

"My advice to teenagers is to use protection and don't be afraid to go to a doctor and ask for birth control," Chan said. "And ask questions even if they're embarrassing because that can keep you from investing your entire youth into having a baby."

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