The Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program has enjoyed over ten years of success and counting. While we never equate our program as a quick-fix to the issue of adolescent pregnancy, we do like to measure our success. In addition to the following article, the most up-to-date articles can be viewed on the Children’s Aid Society web site.
May 9, 2023 - Preteen Martha Garcia talks with her middle school friends about which boys are cute and the changes puberty brings.
Now she is one of 30 Houston students to participate in a newly expanded sex education program sponsored by Planned Parenthood and called “Brighter Futures.”
“My parents want me in the program because they don’t want me to get pregnant until after I finish school and get married,” Garcia, 12, said Wednesday.
A pregnancy prevention program that has worked in Houston for older teens will now instruct students 11 and 12 about abstinence, contraceptives and making responsible choices, said local Planned Parenthood director Peter Durkin.
The program founder, Dr, Michael Carrera of New York visited Houston Wednesday to discuss funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which will provide $100,000 for each of the next four years for the local program.
“We teach them to use their brain, not their body,” Carrera said. “The best way you dilute the effects of bombardment of sex in society is to communicate.”
Carrera, director of the Children’s Aid Society National Adolescent Sexuality Training Center, formed the model of the program in New York in 1984 that is now used from Washington State to Florida and Texas.
The Houston program meets after school and on Saturdays at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church to offer tutoring, field trips and community support.
“We don’t obsess about sex, so kids don’t feel they are in a pregnancy prevention program,” Carrera said. “We show them how to do well in school and be successful in life.”
Carrera described this “above the waist” prevention program as doing exceptionally well in the Hispanic population, which continues to increase in teen pregnancies nationally.
Yolanda Alvarado, local director of “Brighter Futures,” said she has recruited 14 girls and 11 boys, mostly from southeast Houston’s predominately Hispanic Deady Middle School.
“I’m looking to fill five more slots,” she said. “We’ve talked to all their parents and explained the program in English and Spanish.”
One of “Brighter Futures” success stories, Karina Arredondo, now 18, has graduated from Eastwood Academy after being in the program since she was 13.
She learned to vote in elections and how to drive.
As a reward, she traveled with staff members to New York last August to visit Carrera and his center, she said. She visited the Twin Towers only weeks before Sept. 11.
Now, she said, her plans include attending the University of Houston, possibly majoring in engineering.
Carrera said he hopes local community foundations and supporters see this program as a worthy investment.
“We are appealing to others to join with funding,” he said. “In New York, the Robin Hood Foundation has board members who are Wall Street business people who have seen what a great investment this is.”
Random evaluations of the programs showed that female participants delayed sex longer, had fewer partners and were three times more likely to have used an effective contraceptive during their last intercourse.
The effects on male participants were not as great in curbing sexual activity, but they had better access to health-care programs and greater knowledge and use of computers and universities.