Ty’Keese wants to be a mom someday. Just not right now. Robert used to think that pregnancy was not really his problem.

Both Ty’Keese and Robert have participated in National Health Foundation’s (NHF) Be A Star programs that offer at-risk youth in South Los Angeles high schools the type of frank and open conversations about pregnancy, sexual health, goal setting and personal responsibility that have proven to reduce teen pregnancy. After all, Be A Star’s motto is Be A ‘Successful Teen Acting Responsibly’!

On #GivingTuesday, they would like the community to consider donating to NHF so that this program can be offered to more of their friends. Ty’Keese is currently attending Humboldt State University working towards her degree in psychology and Robert is in his last year of high school and serves as a mentor to other young men in the program.

The harsh reality is only 40% of teen moms finish high school and fewer than 2% finish college by age 30*. High school dropouts face unemployment, poverty – and shorter lives. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a significant link between education and health. High school graduates live longer than high school dropouts. College graduates have even longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices, and overall better health.

Be A Star has provided more than 700 students with the tools they needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy and set a clear path to graduation and beyond. For teens who are already parenting, the program encourages students to complete high school, set goals for college and prevent any additional unwanted pregnancies.

“It is amazing to watch the young men and women in the program really step into themselves. They come in somewhat shy and unsure and by the time they complete the program they are knowledgeable and empowered. You can see it in the way they speak. More importantly though, you can sense the hope they have for their futures,” shared Be A Star program manager, Jeanette Pena.

All of the donations received by National Health Foundation on #GivingTuesday will be used to expand and improve our health programs such as Be A STAR. We’re hoping to raise $8000 to increase the number of participants we can serve.

*The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “Preventing Teen Pregnancy is Critical to School Completion,” Briefly… (Washington, D.C.) July 2010