Promoting Awareness through Live Movement and Sound – Teen Pregnancy Prevention
"And that's what [PALMS-TPP] is all about: empowering our young black men with knowledge on teen pregnancy as well as life skills, guidance, and tools to use along the way, while also creating a safe space for youth to feel comfortable sharing and receiving information.
- Youth advisory board member and past PALMS-TPP participant
Promoting Awareness through Live Movement and Sound - Teen Pregnancy Prevention (PALMS-TPP) is a pregnancy prevention and skills-building program designed for young black men in urban, community-based, non-school settings. PALMS-TPP uses improvisational, interactive theater to spark conversation about real-life challenges young men face regarding sexual behavior and reproductive health decision-making. The program is undergoing a rigorous evaluation to determine its effectiveness and contribute knowledge to the teen pregnancy prevention evidence base, which currently does not include any programs developed specifically for young men.
- Population: Young black men (ages 15 to 22)
- Locations: 11 community-based partner sites across Philadelphia
- Partners: Community-based social service organizations, recreation centers, and a youth advisory board that includes young men from implementation sites
- Reduce participants’ risk for unplanned pregnancy
- Strengthen protective factors associated with improved sexual decision-making, including family support, social connection, communication, and goal-setting
Improvisational, interactive theatrical performances
Promoting Awareness through Live Movement and Sound - Teen Pregnancy Prevention is an innovative theater-based intervention delivered to small groups of adolescents (10 to 15 participants) over four 2.5-hour sessions. Young professional actors put on a short, culturally relevant play that depicts a young man navigating situations involving sexual and reproductive health decision-making. Program facilitators pause midway through the play to lead a conversation about the main character’s decisions. Using knowledge and skills developed during the intervention, participants devise solutions to the main character’s dilemma. The actors then perform the proposed endings, providing participants an opportunity to reflect on situations likely to occur in their own lives.
Curriculum-driven conversations and activities
Additional interactive sessions use discussion, games, role-plays, personal stories, and other activities to build sexual health knowledge and skills, practice goal-setting, teach communication techniques, and consider the influence of popular culture. For example, participants examine and discuss hip-hop lyrics from the perspective of healthy relationships and attitudes toward women. Delivering the program in non-school, community-based settings is critical to “keeping it real” — using young people’s own language and a comfortable environment to engage and put participants at ease.
Positive youth development approach
PALMS-TPP is guided by principles of positive youth development, an approach that identifies and enlists the strengths of young people by giving them meaningful opportunities for participation. Members of the program’s youth advisory board (YAB) tested the curriculum, gave feedback on sessions and activities, developed the program name and logo, and helped interview facilitator candidates. YAB members are also invited to participate in professional development activities, including trainings, workshops, and more.
Stats at a Glance
- 24.2 national teen birth rate (per 1,000 females ages 15-19) in 20141
- 34.9 Philadelphia teen birth rate (per 1,000 females ages 15-19) in 2014*2
- 43.1 Philadelphia teen birth rate, black teens (per 1,000 black females ages 15-19) in 2014*2
- 11.2 Philadelphia teen birth rate, white teens (per 1,000 white females ages 15-19) in 2014*2
- 238 young men participated in PALMS-TPP between July 2016 and April 2018
* Reflects the most recent year for which data are available.
About the TPP Program
The Office of Population Affairs (OPA) Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program is a federal grant program that funds diverse organizations working to prevent teen pregnancy across the United States. OPA invests in both the implementation of evidence-based programs and the development and evaluation of new and innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy. The OPA TPP program reaches adolescents ages 10-19, with a focus on populations with the greatest need in order to reduce disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates.
1 Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., Osterman, M.J., Curtin, S.C., & Matthews, T.J. (2015). Births: Final data for 2014. National Vital Statistics Report, 64(12). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_12.pdf. back to top
2 Philadelphia Department of Public Health. (2017). Vital Statistics Report, Philadelphia: 2014. http://www.phila.gov/health/pdfs/2014%20Vital%20Statistics%20Report%20FINAL.pdf. back to top