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Teen advocates work to prevent teen pregnancies

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Teen advocates work to prevent teen pregnancies

By Beth Fisher. CREATED Aug 15, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The teen pregnancy rate is going down nationwide, but here in Nevada we still have a lot of work to do. But no matter what we tell our kids, hearing it from other teens may be more effective. The TAPP group is helping.

TAPP stands for Teen Advocates for Pregnancy Prevention. The group's mission is to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Health Educator Rosa Olguin said, "They are essential. They go out there, send messages, speak to kids, relate to kids, they are important to our program."

The Southern Nevada Health District started TAPP two years ago. Since then, teens have been working to educate their peers. Caitlyn Caruso is the TAPP president, "They don't know how to use condoms, they don't know about resources available to them, and they are completely in the dark about their own anatomy."

Some students say the sex education offered in public schools leaves teens more confused, not more educated. This group works to change that.

Stephanie Santiago is one of the students participating, "I've been able to give condoms. That's a help. But also information. Letting teens know I'm there for them if they need help. I have resources."

The youngest member of TAPP is just 14. But Shonondra McDonald said that's too late to begin teaching kids. By 14, she said many teens are already sexually active and at risk for a pregnancy and a hard life ahead.

"My friends, they aren't able to finish school. They have no education. They don't have enough money to take care of their children. So now they have to rely on parents. Sometimes parents kick them out."

In addition to talking to teens in person, TAPP is also talking online with a social media campaign tagged #UseCondomSense, a slogan Caruso defends.

"I think criticizing us for promoting condom use is like criticizing people for providing life jackets on boats. We're not promoting it but we know it's a possibility that people will have sex. There are studies that have proven 50 percent of CCSD students are or have engaged in sexual activity."

Beth Fisher

Beth Fisher

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Beth Fisher is an anchor for Good Morning Las Vegas and reports on the positive news in Las Vegas.