The concept for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CSPP) began in 1994 when actress Jane Fonda attended the United Nations Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, as the Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nation's Population fund. At that time, Georgia led the nation as the state with the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy, and Fonda believed that the way to address the issue was by expanding the use of contraception. Fonda learned from women at the Cairo conference that to adequately address issues of sexuality and childbearing one must look beyond the traditional, circumscribed, health-centered agenda to the complex constellation of social, economic and gender dynamics. These dynamics are critical components of women's and girl's experiences that influence the onset of sexual activity, family size and the spacing of children. Adolescents' sexual and reproductive behavior cannot be explained and modified without understanding the familial and societal forces that shape this behavior. Withthis understanding, Fonda created G-CAPP.
Returning to Georgia, Fonda traveled through the state, talking to frontline workers to learn about adolescent life. Her research confirmed what she had learned at the Cairo Conference: Girls who grow up in poverty without hope of bettering their situation are likely to become teen mothers. The best contraceptive, it turns out, is hope. In the United States, 80 percent of mothers who begin their families as teenagers are living at or below the poverty line long before they became pregnant. Without early and ongoing interventions, their early parenthood virtually guarantees that they and their children will spend their lives in poverty. (Almost one in 15 teenagers in this country -- close to 6 million -- are from families whose incomes fall below the poverty line.)
Fonda discovered that keeping girls in school is important to reducing early pregnancy and parenthood. School failure and dropout are associated with many risk behaviors in both boys and girls, including early and unprotected sex. So is the lack of an involved father. Girls with involved fathers tend to delay onset of sexual activity and postpone childbearing. Girls who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual coercion tend to initiate sexual activity earlier, have multiple partners and engage in unsafe sex. Sexual abuse robs a girl of a sense of identity and ownership of her body.
Fonda came to see that while sex education, reproductive health and family planning services are critical components in any effort to prevent adolescent pregnancy, they are not enough. She created G-CAPP to broaden the traditional adolescent pregnancy prevention agenda and to address the social antecedents that lie beneath the problem behavior. These include poverty, unemployment, violence, drugs, lack of good parenting, school failure and dropout, child abuse, alienation from mainstream society, racism and gender bias.
Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted by Joshua Logan to appear with her father in the 1954 Omaha Community Theatre production of "The Country Girl." Her interest in acting grew after meeting Lee Strasberg in 1958 and joining the Actors Studio.
Fonda's screen debut in "Tall Story" (1960) marked the beginning of a highly successful and respected acting career, highlighted by two Academy Awards for her performance in "Klute" (1971) and "Coming Home" (1978) and five Oscar nominations for Best Actress in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969), "Julia" (1977), "The Morning After" (1986) and "On Golden Pond" (1981), which was the only film she made with her father.
Fonda's professional success contrasted with her personal life, often laden with scandal and controversy. Her appearance in several risqué movies (including 1968's "Barbarella") by then-husband Roger Vadim was followed by what was to become Jane Fonda's most debated and controversial period: her espousal of anti-establishment causes -- especially her anti-war activities during the Vietnam War. Her political involvement continued with fellow activist and husband Tom Hayden in the '70s and early '80s.
In the '80s Fonda started the aerobic exercise craze with the publication of the "Jane Fonda's Workout Book." She married broadcasting czar Ted Turner in 1991, then divorced him in 2001. The salary she earned from her recent comedy with Jennifer Lopez, "Monster-in-Law," went toward her work with G-CAPP.
The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP) was founded in 1995. G-CAPP’s work is based on the belief that all children are entitled to a safe and healthy adolescence characterized by hope, respect and the opportunity for a productive future free of early pregnancy and parenthood. G-CAPP's mission is to prevent early pregnancy by promoting the healthy development of children, adolescents and their families. In collaboration with youth, families and with Georgia's public and private sectors, G-CAPP's goals are to significantly reduce adolescent pregnancy in Georgia and to develop replicable models to address the factors that lead to adolescent pregnancy. G-CAPP's objectives are as follows:
1) To demonstrate that adolescent pregnancy rates can be reduced through a sustained community-wide effort.
2) To help develop new ideas and program innovations that build local and statewide infrastructure capacity to serve children, youth and families.
3) To help enact effective public policies and system level interventions that support the healthy development of adolescents, families and communities.
G-CAPP utilizes the following strategies to accomplish its goals of preventing adolescent pregnancy:
1) Develops and strengthens G-CAPP Campaign Communities, in Thomasville Heights, in South Atlanta and in Gainesville with the Hispanic community.
2) Insures that appropriate, well-run, effective programs reach a sufficient number of people in each Campaign Community.
3) Engages youth to become actively involved in G-CAPP's adolescent pregnancy prevention efforts.
4) Emphasizes cultural diversity.
5) Develops an annual legislative agenda.
6) Educates the public, policy makers and other stakeholders about adolescent pregnancy.
7) Builds capacity and awareness by sponsoring an annual conference, maintaining a web site, and engaging in other outreach activities.
One community program that G-CAPP administers is Educare, an innovative early learning center for children birth to five years old located in Atlanta, Georgia.
Another is the Doula Project: Doulas are women from the local community who provide emotional and physical support to both the teen mother and baby during pregnancy, delivery and the weeks after birth.
A third is Second Chance Homes, which provides safe and structured living environments for parenting teens and their children located throughout Georgia.
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