A group of young mothers who became pregnant as teenagers are sharing their stories in a research project aimed at changing public perceptions. Some of the accounts were shown publicly for the first time today.
Each of the young parents delivers a brief narrative in a digital format that combines video, recorded voice, still and moving images and other sounds.
The point of the collective works – 31 stories in all -- is to remove the stigma and shame surrounding teen pregnancy and promote change in public policy that focuses almost exclusively on prevention.
The Pittsfield Public School’s Curriculum Subcommittee has been meeting with district and community partners to address the city’s troubling teen pregnancy rate by expanding and strengthening programs both in and out of school.
According to the 2010 Massachusetts Birth Report released by the state Department of Public Health earlier this week, the most recent data shows the rate of teenage women aged 15 to 19 having children dropped from 19.5 per 1,000 in 2009, to 17.1 per 1,000 in 2010.
The teen birth rate is now the lowest recorded in the commonwealth, and Massachusetts is now trailing only New Hampshire for the lowest teen birth rate in the country. The Granite State leads with a teen birth rate of 15.7 per 1,000.
A community wide collaboration is credited with helping to reduce teenage pregnancy in Holyoke Massachusetts. Officials acknowledge there is much work yet to do, as Holyoke has the highest teen birth rate in the state. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports