12/14/10 — Program sets sights on stopping teen pregnancy

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Program sets sights on stopping teen pregnancy

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 14, 2010 1:46 PM

A teen pregnancy prevention program that started nearly a year ago in Mount Olive is expanding its efforts to Westhaven Community Center in Goldsboro.

PrimaDonna Incorporated was formed in 2008 and introduced this past year as an after-school program serving about 40 girls at Carver Elementary, Brogden Primary, Mount Olive Middle and Southern Wayne High schools.

They have been meeting each week at Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church in Mount Olive. Girls 12-17 years old gather on Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30, while younger girls meet there on Friday afternoons from 3:30 to 5.

The Westhaven site, which started out for girls in kindergarten through eighth grade, expanded this week to offer the program to girls 12-15 years old. It meets Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The name is an acronym for Providing Refuge to Intermediate and Maturing Adolescents in order to Determine Outlooks Necessary to Navigate in tomorrow's America, Director Imari Norris said.

"I was trying to think of what I wanted my mission to be," she said. "We wanted to provide young girls with alternative positive activities within their schools and community, while teaching them social skills, building self-esteem and preventing teen pregnancy."

The latter goal is especially challenging, she admitted. But it's nevertheless important.

"We work with them on learning about their body being a temple and since we're using the church, we can use spirituality," she said. "We want to show them that there are alternate ways to live their lives."

Organizers have already held a teen pregnancy summit earlier in the fall. At the event, teen mothers, some still in high school, shared their experiences on the challenges of raising a child.

In addition to the educational component, Mrs. Norris said the program also focuses on the arts. Donations have made it possible for several of the girls to take dance lessons, while plans are being made to take the group to see performances of "The Nutcracker" and "The Lion King" in Raleigh in the coming months.

While avidly seeking grant funding, Mrs. Norris said the non-profit organization is reliant on contributions and community support.

For more information on the program, call 330-7261.