Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Harold’s Wish and his STARS

In high schools throughout South Los Angeles, groups of boys are learning some valuable life lessons such as building self-confidence, how to graduate from high school, interview and how to become an effective communicator. They are also learning about responsible sexual behavior to avoid the cycle of teen parenthood.

National Health Foundation’s Go Harold’s Way: Be A STAR Boys (Successful Teen Acting Responsibly) targets adolescent males at greatest risk of fathering a teen pregnancy and subsequent school dropout. The 10-week prevention curriculum promotes responsible behavior and empowers young men to make a commitment to their futures by avoiding risky behavior and focusing on values such as integrity, accountability, self-determination and goal-setting. The program provides individual services, strong linkages to community resources and peer group education sessions at partner school sites.

Kelly Bruno, President and CEO of National Health Foundation (NHF), recently explained how this program works, “ Be A Star works on scaffolding these young men in a holistic way. Yes, we offer comprehensive sexual education and offer resources for them to have access to condoms and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. But more importantly, we look at the whole individual and offer the framework for them to build their confidence, to redefine the Black and Latino male experience and to empower them to see the possibilities of education.”

The program, funded by the Harold Edelstein Foundation, is part of NHF’s larger Teen Pregnancy Prevention workshop series. The program features a robust data collection and evaluation system thanks to additional funding via an AT&T Foundation grant. Coupled with NHF’s partnership with LAUSD, the impact of the program is both far-reaching and well documented.

“It would not truly honor Harold’s legacy to simply create a program without the follow-through of statistical evidence of what works and what does not. We are able to capture quantitative data to monitor program objectives and outcomes and to provide ongoing resources, education and information to program participants. By capturing this data, NHF has the ability to evaluate the impact of the program and continues to provide resources and referrals to participants after graduation from the program,” shared Bruno. “Ultimately we are moving Harold’s and our shared concern for the health of these young men, as well as that of their partners, into measurable action that bridges the gaps in healthcare that currently exist in this community.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Be A STAR boys program has touched the lives of 71 young men. Harold would be so proud of each of his STARs.

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