The last time I checked, reminding young women that they can have lofty dreams and goals, and encouraging them to delay parenthood so they can pursue those dreams, is a good thing.
Our recent Candie's Foundation PSA campaign sparked an incredible national dialogue.
Although the reaction to this PSA campaign was somewhat surprising, with some proclaiming we are "shaming" teen moms. We have still accomplished one of our goals, which is to keep the conversation about teen pregnancy prevention top of mind.
By no means are we "shaming" teen moms. We are trying to break through all of the media clutter and make teens understand that having a child is difficult and will change your life forever. We plant a seed in the minds of teens to be aware of the risk of teen pregnancy and to remind them how it can change the course of their future. Young women should be aware, that if they become a teen mom they will face tremendous challenges. Teen moms repeatedly tell us how they feel isolated from peers, judged by teachers and experience hardships that they were not prepared for.
The goal of The Candie's Foundation is to educate teenagers about the consequences of teen pregnancy. We are calling attention to the facts. We do this through PSA campaigns, and events such as town hall discussions that featured non-famous teen moms on the same stage as Maci Bookout, Hayden Panettiere and Bristol Palin. (Links to press coverage: Baby Center , Seventeen Magazine)
Our website lists helpful resources for teens including facts, diaries of teen moms and partners including National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, StayTeen.Org, SexEtc.Org, Amplify Your Voice and Seventeen Magazine. We have research that proves that our message is getting through to teens and making an impact.
Instead of criticizing the few efforts that are actually creating a highly visible dialogue about teen pregnancy, why aren't we talking about how few companies, families, schools, individuals will even talk about the issue? How many corporations include teen pregnancy prevention in their corporate social responsibility efforts? People will always disagree about how to present teen parenthood in the media. It is either glorifying, shaming, or sugar-coating it. But here is the bottom line: very few other efforts have created the intense national discussions about teen pregnancy that The Candie's Foundation has. We will continue to raise awareness about teen pregnancy, not because we benefit from it but because we know we have something to offer that others do not. We believe we can all agree, children should not be having children.