Most Americans Support No-Cost Birth Control, Poll Says

A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows, among other things, that 66% of Americans support the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to require health insurers to cover the full cost of birth control. Only 24% disapprove of the law. This shows once again that most Americans take a very rational approach to reproductive health issues. As we saw in past polls, most parents want their children to receive comprehensive sex education in the schools, despite vehement opposition by a very vocal minority. (, ) It seems now that the same is true for supporting access to contraceptives—most Americans understand that preventing unintended pregnancies and improving women’s health is critical to strengthening families and communities. This poll should be an important factor in the ongoing debate about health care reform and the budget, as the House has tried repeatedly to eliminate funding for family planning and sex education. The real question is, will it make a difference? Do politicians really care about what their constituents think, or do they simply push their own agenda? Tell us what you think!

Timely Subject: Finding Creative Ways to Fund Your Mission

I just got off the phone with Regina Neu and Emily Newman, who are leading our Fund Development Institute at the Oakland and Los Angeles conferences this year. We’re putting the final touches on the agenda and choosing activities, and our talk made me so excited I felt I had to write about it. Why? Because this information is so critical to anyone working in non-profits right now, but especially to those in teen pregnancy prevention and teen parent programs.

For far too long we have relied almost entirely on government grants to fund the important work we do. In the past that may have worked, but in this economic climate, where Federal, State and Local governments are scrambling to fill budget deficits and fund safety-net programs, we clearly can’t count on that support anymore. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to fund raise in other ways, and how to think differently about where the money for your programs should come from. In both Oakland and Los Angeles we’re holding  this four-hour institute; the agendas will be largely the same and the presenters are both experts in the fields of non-profit management and fund development. We’ll be sharing information about how to find the right funding opportunities for your agency, how to “sell” your programs, how and when to use social media in fundraising efforts, and exploring some other places to look for funding. At the end of the Institute, you’ll have a good start on creating a fund development plan for your program–something that we all need now.

Even if you don’t work in teen pregnancy prevention or parenting, you need to come to this workshop. It’s inexpensive, we’re holing it in two locations for convenience and reduced travel time, and it’s mission-critical to your organization. Don’t miss out. For more information and to register, visit us at Don’t wait–the early bird registration rate ends on September 2nd!

Why I Loved Being on the TeenNow California Board of Directors

I started my service to TeenNow California (then called CACSAP) in 2003 as a regional coordinator on the Board of Directors. I had been working in adolescent sexual health for about four years, and had come in contact with CACSAP through the annual conference, and be meeting various board members on the It’s Up To Me Community Action Network. When the President at that time asked me to join the board, I remember feeling nervous. Did I have the time to commit to the organization? Did I have the expertise they were looking for? Never having served on a Board before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

What I found was a wonderful group of dedicated, caring professionals who were filled with energy and enthusiasm for the work we all do. Some had years of experience, while others were new to the field. What we all had in common was the passion for ensuring that all teens had opportunities and resources needed for success, and the commitment to the field that leads them to care deeply about best practices, advocacy, and training. My participation on the board taught me so much about the field of adolescent health, as well as the ins and outs of running an organization (we were an all-volunteer led agency at that time; we now have a small staff), and leadership skills that have served me very well throughout my career. And, I found friendship. To be able to spend time with a group of like-minded people who you admire and respect is a great thing, and I found that on the CACSAP Board.

I’m happy to say that those qualities still infuse the Board today. As Executive Director, I participate actively in Board meetings and I still learn from them and enjoy them as much as ever. Being on the Board is a wonderful opportunity for professional and leadership development, networking, and most important, a chance to really make a difference not just for TeenNow California, but for  teens throughout the state and for the field of adolescent health. And, we’ve made it easier than ever to be a Board members. While attending the meetings in person is still highly encouraged (and the best way to really connect with each other), you can now attend virtually via conference call or Web meeting.

I highly encourage anyone who wants a great leadership experience and who really cares about the field to apply to be a Board member today. If you might be interested but have questions, you can contact me or the Board president, Brian Hayes, to talk more about the roles and responsibilities of Board members. And if you know someone else who would be great for the Board, please refer them to us! Help us guide this organization to be it’s best!

You can find information about the Board on our web site.