by Valerie Alvarez
In marginalized communities, community organizations are a safe haven for those struggling with a numerous amount of problems. A problem in particular- teen pregnancy has affected the lives of multiple girls my age that are living in my neighborhood. I recall the struggling young girls my age that would seek resources from the WIC center while I was volunteering there. As a volunteer, I hoped to gain valuable experience to further my education.
It seems as though there is a correlation between issue of high teen pregnancy rates in my community and the lack of adequate sexual education for young adults. The public education system has failed to provide teens with the resources to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), teen pregnancies and the importance of consent. Hispanic women, who are prominent in this community and typically attend public schools, are twice as likely as white women to become pregnant at an adolescent age. “Why are we depriving our children of the vital information about safe sex?”
In my neighborhood, the East Side, the Southeast Youth Alliance is an organization for Chicago youth to come together in efforts of the betterment of the community. While it is a great program that focuses on encouraging students to pursue a college education, I feel that there is a need to provide health resources to the youth residing in the East Side. I suggest administering comprehensive sex education for the reasons mentioned above. Additionally, resources need to be compiled for adolescents of the LGBTQ+ community. Being open about the risks and dangers that irresponsible sexual conduct brings could save lives and inform choices. Detailing relevant information regarding contraceptives would be a big step towards combating teen pregnancy and STI rates.