Left Photo: Teens in the Project PAUSE program participated in various activities to help them make wise choices. Right photo: OIC of South Florida Educator, David Young, teaches the evidence-based “Making Proud Choices” curriculum.


Staff Report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Although May was National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, OIC of South Florida’s Youth and Family Services Department works throughout the year with teens and adults alike to help them achieve a high quality standard of living.

Preventing early pregnancy is one of the ways this is accomplished.

As such, the organization has a program called Project Prevent Achieve Understand Succeed Educate (PAUSE), which serves over 4500 youth per year in Broward County.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, U.S. teen pregnancy rates are still the highest in the industrialized world.

“Despite extraordinary declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing, nearly one in four teens still get pregnant by age 20 and the progress we have made remains uneven. Teens living in poverty are disproportionately more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy, as are African American and Latina teens,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign.

The goal of Project PAUSE is to help youth prevent pregnancy and the contraction of STDs like HIV/AIDS; ensure they achieve their academic and personal goals; help them understand the risks associated with unprotected sex; give them a better chance at succeeding in the endeavors they undertake; and empower them to educate their peers and community.

This year participants attended a Youth Leadership Retreat, during which they toured the University of South Florida’s campus in Tampa. In the program, they are equipped with solid decision making skills that promote post-secondary education and career preparation.

A team of trained educators serve students in Broward County Schools, community settings and parks and recreation facilities using evidenced based curriculums that teach youth to pause before acting and consider the possibilities.

The curriculum encourages them to develop a plan that supports their future and the future of their community, as well as effectively mobilize their peers and the community to positive action.