Teenage Pregnancy in Southwest Georgia
Jayda Robinson is a 14-year-old high school freshman, professional speaker, and author of '20 Reasons not to Have Sex Before Marriage'. Jayda says she learned information in school about sex, but her real education came from her mother, grandmother, and church.
The book transpired from a bet. Her grandfather challenged her to give him 20 reasons to remain a virgin until marriage and explain why. After careful thought and consideration she gave him her reasonsâ|and now uses her book as a platform to encourage other teens not to have sex. "My book can be used as a tool to help other teens gain the same knowledge that I've gained. Physically you can get pregnant, std's, or you just clearly different from after you have sex. I want them to gain the knowledge of not having sex before marriage and the consequences that come with having sex" says Robinson.
Jayda Robinson's experiences are opposite from Elisa Bell-Hudson who got pregnant at 16 and had her baby at age 17. Bell-Hudson says everything went downhill with her already unstable household situation.
Elisa's a part of Network of Trust â" a school health program that helps teenage mothers in Calhoun, Dougherty, Lee, Terrell and Worth counties.
Network of Trust says their first priority is to make sure the teenage mothers have a healthy baby and to connect them to community resources. Their second priority is making sure the mothers graduate with a high school diploma. Teenage mothers are required to maintain a "C" academic average.
Shaquana Carr has been a Network of Trust Educator for three years and says teenage mothers come to her with mixed emotions and with a ton of questions. Classes taught include topics on nutrition, physical changes to expect, and what the delivery process is like. The educators also emphasize graduation. "I tell them they have to graduate because everything they do from this point forward not just affects them, but it affects their baby. So having a high school diploma is going to help them make a better outcome not only for themselves but for their child's future.
Elisa Bell-Hudson got pregnant at 16 and had a baby at 17-years-old. She says the program convinced her to stay in school. "I was in a bad place. My situation at home was unstable, I got pregnant because I thought he was the only person that loved me, and it seemed like it was all downhill. Network of trust motivated me because I know now that if I get my diploma it will be the best thing for me and my son. Not to mention I'll be the first high school graduate in my family and the first to go to college" says Bell-Hudson.
For Jayda, support from friends, family and her church encourage her to stay abstinent and help others travel the same path she's chosen. "People who read my book might not have the same plan I have or the same ideas, but they will come up with their own ideas and their own plans to stay abstinent. The book will help guide other teens to have their own reasons and push themselves not to have sex." says Robinson.
Elisa says she wishes she would have had the stable family support that Jayda had growing up. "I wish someone would have told me that I'm not alone in this situation, that I'm not by myself, and that sex is not the way to solve your problems. I would tell all young girls that sex is not the answer. You can get an std, you can get pregnant, and it's hard. Being a teen mother is very hard" says Bell-Hudson.
At the time of this report the Network of Trust is currently assisting 215 pregnant teenagers.