North Star Youth Partnership

North Star Youth Partnership engages youth ages 11-18 through educational, recreational, leadership and service-learning opportunities. What started in 1997 as an educational program to prevent adolescent pregnancy in Yavapai County has expanded to 11 different programs serving youth in Central and Northern Arizona.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Positive Trends with Our Teens

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With so much negativity in this world, we are left wondering, is there anything positive happening? The answer is a resounding yes! Our teens are making a positive impact on our communities. I have been working with teens for over 20 years, and they impress and inspire me. Our teens today are thinking more about their future goals and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors in order to accomplish these goals.

Teens Choose Abstinence

When I began teaching Sexual Risk Avoidance Education, approximately 900,000 teen girls were getting pregnant each year in the United States (U.S.). Today, that number is fewer than 450,000. According to the CDC, teen pregnancy is becoming less common as more teens are choosing abstinence.

Just Say No to Smoking and Drugs

Fewer teens are smoking cigarettes, a habit that’s seen as uncool. Cigarette smoking is at a 22-year low for high school students. Not only has cigarette smoking decreased, but so has the use of prescription pain medication. Even though a number of states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, teen usage of THC has remained stable.

Teens Choose Positivity

Our teens are volunteering more in their communities, and the number of high school dropouts has gone down. According to Child Trends, “Teens who volunteer are more likely to have positive academic, psychological and occupational well-being.” From my experience, I have seen more students stand up for and help others who are in need, and there is less tolerance for bullying and less bullying overall.

Teens have had it especially rough these past couple of years, but so many of them have grown during this experience. They are making the world a safer, more compassionate place.

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Christy Leonard

Cristy Leonard is the Health Education Supervisor in Maricopa for North Star Youth Partnership. Cristy earned her bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and has been teaching for 25 years. She has been providing Health Education through North Star Youth Partnership to teens throughout the Valley since 2003.

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