According to PregnantTeenHelp.org, the USA has the highest rates of teen pregnancies of any country in the western industrialized world. Every year, around 750,000 teen girls, or 33 percent of the female teenage population, gets pregnant. This percent is much higher for Hispanic teenagers; around 52 percent of Latinas will become pregnant at least once by age 20, according to the National Campaign. Even more sobering than the thought of teenage pregnancy is the fact that only one third of teenager girls who have a baby will graduate high school.
Luckily, there’s Espera Más. Espera Más (“expect more” in Spanish) is a campaign based in Oklahoma City, OK, that is dedicated to helping Hispanic teens navigate the steps to success in their own lives: graduate high school, attend college, start a career, get married, and start a family, in that order. Espera Más has partnered with local schools and health organizations to promote education, safe sex or assistance, and success for the individual and his/her community.
The main goal of Espera Más is to create higher expectations amongst Hispanic youth and their families, and to connect them with the resources they need to meet these expectations. Espera Más offers educational resources, such as financial aid information and scholarships, after school programs, internship opportunities, tips to improve levels of communication within the family, and many other programs that will help students achieve their full potential. All of these resources are available on the Espera Más website.
Currently, Espera Más is only available in Oklahoma. However, this program could be a role-model for future programs. Hispanic teens are not the only ones who need this kind of advice and guidance. Fortunately, the lessons one learns from Espera Más can reach across many walks of life.
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