The “Pearls,” mentoring program operates during the school year (August-June) and primarily supports volunteer and at-risk adolescent females. The program functions in a group and individual modality and supports girls between the ages 14 to 21 years old. Program design encourages young women to take ownership of their future by researching careers path requirements, making pro social choices in their communities and school, improving family relationships, and identifying barriers to their future goals. During weekly group meetings, program mentors present topics which traditionally hinder modern day school performance (distractions) and emphasize the importance of preparing strategies that will assist in overcoming challenges. Weekly curriculum topics include but are not restricted to the following:
Introduction to independent living
Social media safety
Making Proud Choices
An Evidence Based Program
Pearls Academy offers Making Proud Choices! An Evidence-Based, Safer-Sex Approach to Teen Pregnancy and HIV/STD Prevention, throughout the Chester County Region. The program serves male and female clients between the ages of 13 and 18 years old who are involved in Chester County’s offices of Juvenile Probation and Children, Youth and Families. “MPC” is an 8-module curriculum that provides adolescents with the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV and pregnancy by abstaining from sex or using condoms if they choose to have sex.
The intervention is based on cognitive-behavioral theories, focus groups and the authors’ extensive experience working with youth. Making Proud Choices! is an adaptation and extension of the original Be Proud! Be Responsible! curriculum that integrates teen pregnancy prevention along with HIV/STD prevention. The curriculum involves culturally sensitive video clips, games, brainstorming, role-playing, skill-building activities and small group discussions that build group cohesion and enhance learning. Curriculum modules include:
Module 1: Getting to Know You and Steps to Making Your Dreams Come True
Module 2: The Consequences of Sex: HIV Infection
Module 3: Attitudes About Sex, HIV and Condom Use
Module 4: Strategies for Preventing HIV Infection: Stop, Think and Act
Module 5: The Consequences of Sex: STDs
Module 6: The Consequences of Sex: Pregnancy
Module 7: Developing Condom Use and Negotiation Skills
Module 8: Enhancing Refusal and Negotiation Skills
Each activity lasts only a brief time and involves adolescents getting out of their seats and interacting with each other. In this way, it is possible to maintain interest and attention that might fade during a lecture or lengthy group discussion.
At the completion of the program, youth will
Have increased their knowledge of HIV, STDs and pregnancy prevention
Believe in the value of safer sex, including abstinence
Have improved their ability to negotiate abstinence/safer-sex practices
Have increased their ability to use condoms correctly
Have stronger intentions to use condoms if they have sex
Have a lower incidence of HIV/STD sexual risk-taking behavior
Take pride in choosing responsible sexual behaviors
Academic, Career & Technical Training Service
The A.C.T.I.O.N Program
Pearls Academy’s A.C.T.I.O.N program is an eight session intervention which provides instruction in the areas of workplace readiness, job exploration, self-advocacy and independent living skills. As a Chester County P.A.C.T.T. affiliate Pearls Academy’s A.C.T.I.O.N program adheres to a curriculum which supports PACTT soft skills requirements while encouraging youth to attain entry level certificates such as OSHA 10 and ServSafe which improve employment opportunities.
Primarily serving at risk youth within Chester county ages 14-21 years old, participants research career paths and participate in workshops which aid in identifying goals and action steps needed to follow their chosen career paths.
Interested in Getting Involved with Pearls Academy?