CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Dr. Bob and Marsha Long and the congregation of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church received the “Community Leader Award” from the Oklahoma Interagency Coordinating Council (OICC) for their efforts in the Prevention of the Adolescent Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The presentation was made on Thursday (December 8) during the Turning Point-Oklahoma Fit Kids Forum at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Over the past 10 years, St. Luke’s volunteers have mentored 1,500 pregnant and parenting students attending the Emerson Teen Parent Program. Each week, volunteers take students on field trips, knit with the students, participate in the annual school supply drive and provide funds for a student scholarship as well as school supplies.
Randa Pirrong, family and consumer science teacher at Emerson, an alternative school in the Oklahoma City public school system, said, “The St. Luke’s mentoring program is an outstanding model of a school-community partnership that produces transformational results for the teen parents.”
In other news from the forum, Antony Medina of Oklahoma City was presented with the Youth Achievement Award. According to a news release from OICC, “Antony’s passion to help make a difference in the area of teen pregnancy prevention came while in middle school and participated in the nationally-recognized “Postponing Sexual Involvement for Young Teens (PSI)” program coordinated by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.
Medina, 19, saw firsthand the positive influence of PSI on young people.
It was that inspiration, program sponsors said, that led him to join the Positive Ways teen leader group as a student at Southeast High School where he never missed an opportunity for speaking engagements to talk about the negative consequences that teen pregnancy has on young people and their communities.