The model behind the Children’s Aid Society’s safe sex initiative – the Carrera Adolescent Sexuality and Pregnancy Prevention Program – has swept across the country. Over 50 youth centers have borrowed from the theory and method behind this innovative program.
Despite the model’s successes elsewhere, the Children’s Aid Society, a New York nonprofit, continues to expand its vision here at home, reinvigorating the Carrera Pregnancy Prevention Program in New York’s most overlooked and disadvantaged neighborhoods. In fact, the South Bronx chapter, located in the country’s poorest congressional district, has just announced an infusion of $3.75 million from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Adolescent Health.
“This is an incredible opportunity to expand a program that has been proven to have a dramatic effect on teen pregnancy rates over a sustained period of time,” celebrated Phoebe Boyer, Children’s Aid Society’s CEO, in a public statement. “Based on the strength of this program, we know the South Bronx will see more young people graduating from high school and college.”
The approach is both comprehensive and manifold. From financial literacy training and college readiness workshops, to encompassing seminars on safe sex and art courses, the Carrera Program touches many dimensions of these young peoples’ lives.
Although most native New Yorkers have crossed paths with the Children’s Aid Society at least once – the trademarked blue stepping stones are a familiar sight to many – the South Bronx’s Carrera Program is perhaps most remarkable for its reach and scope.
The HSS grant alone will guarantee programming for 15 percent of the youth demographic within the borders of Bronx Community District 3.
All this notwithstanding, the Carrera Program has not been the first brainchild of the Children’s Aid Society to inspire imitations and seize the attention of youth activists and community organizers outside of New York. Dedicated to leveling the playing field for New York’s impoverished children since 1853, the Children’s Aid Society helped launch the first foster care system and free school lunch program.
“All young people, no matter where they live, are equipped with enormous potential to succeed,” reiterated Ms. Boyer.