Connecting community groups in Buffalo to fight teen pregnancy

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 18:25:39-04

There are certain parts of Erie County where the rate for teen pregnancy is about three times the state average and about double the national average, according to the Erie County Department of Health.

Teen pregnancy is one of the focuses of HOPE Buffalo, an organization dedicated to promoting teen health. It collaborates with teenagers in the Buffalo community to be sure the message resonates with its target audience.

HOPE Buffalo also relies heavily on around 60 different community partners. The group says that helps them better connect with different people in Buffalo, since these partners have strong relationships in various neighborhoods or with certain groups of people.

"Programs like Hope Buffalo and Families Talking Together are vital for the future of our leaders which is our youth," Erica Leon-Torres, education and outreach supervisor for Families Talking Together, explained.

FTT is a program, geared toward Latino families, designed to reduce risky sexual behavior in adolescents. It holds group workshops or individual sessions with families at home to help start that conversation.

"FTT makes it easier for our parents to open up and have these conversations with their adolescent," Leon-Torres said.

The Confident Girl Mentoring Program also partners with HOPE Buffalo. It is a mentorship program for young girls that promotes self-worth and confidence.

Along with HOPE Buffalo, Confident Girl organizes 17 Days. It is a program that helps teenage girls better understand risky sexual behavior.

"That really talks about sexual health in our youth, especially teen girls," Tiffany Lewis, Confident Girl's founder and CEO, said. "Which will also give them a platform to make informed decisions when it comes to sexual health."

Confident Girl helped organize a local Youth Confidence Day last year that has now turned into National Youth Confidence Day. Here in Buffalo, the organization will celebrate on October 20 at East Community High School.

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