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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
Each year, 750,000 Americans under the age of 20 become pregnant. The United States has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy among western industrialized countries. New York City has an especially high rate, with about 20,000 teen pregnancies each year. Since 1984, the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program has worked to reduce the birth rate for teens. The program has worked with the Children’s Aid Society, which operates after-school activities for young people. The sex education effort starts with children who are 10 and 11 years old.
But sex education is only part of the effort. Psychologist Michael Carrera launched the pregnancy prevention program 29 years ago. He says efforts to reduce teen pregnancy rates must help young people see themselves as successful adults. He says success is more likely when young people believe that good things are going to happen in their lives. Then they take steps to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy on their own.
The program includes sports training, art classes, part-time jobs, and help with banking. Health care is also available, as well as advice on education. Young people in the program have 50 percent fewer pregnancies than other New York teenagers from similar at-risk backgrounds.
Michael Carrera is now in his 70s. He says he is still excited to come to work. His program reaches about 4,000 students in 12 states. The Obama administration has recognized the program with a social innovation award. In 2010, the administration ordered that federal money for sex education only go to programs that are proven to be effective.