The YEAH! Network uses research, advocacy, and community education and collaboration to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health. By articulating a common agenda among diverse local, state, and national stakeholders, we are working to create an informed, empowered, and engaged response to teen pregnancy and sexual health disparities in Hampden County.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear Community Partners:

Over the past few days the team at the YEAH! Network has received inquiries regarding the RFR recently released by the Massachusetts Department of Health to support evidence based programs to prevent teen pregnancy.   At this time the YEAH! Network will not apply for the funding.  As a community coalition our mission is to motivate the community and its leaders to address adolescent sexual health and important life decisions.   Our primary mission is not service delivery but building the adult, youth and organizational leadership capacity across all sectors of communities for a collective impact in adolescent sexual health.  Our goal is to leverage our collective human capital to ensure that teens have the knowledge to  make healthy decisions about their sexual health, to have access to quality sexual health services and that the community provides robust opportunity to ensure a prosperous future for all the youth in our region. 

The current RFR is very competitive with nine cities across the state qualifying but only six proposals being funded.   Given the competitive nature of the grant, the YEAH! Network will not write letters of support for the proposals submitted from Holyoke and Springfield.   The best way the YEAH Network can respond to the RFR will be to connect community partners that are  applying so that there is a transparent process that allows organizations to connect if they are interested in submitting a collaborative proposal.  In addition, the YEAH! Network will seek to engage the organizations that are funded to work cohesively with the current community initiatives to reach our common goal of improving the sexual health of teens across Springfield and Holyoke. 

On Friday November 18th the YEAH! Network will host its third Community Conversation for Action that is focused on the target population indicated in the RFR.  The event seeks to formally engage organizations and individuals who work with youth in foster care, homeless youth and youth in the Juvenile Justice System.  The event will provide the opportunity to identify the challenges in addressing the sexual health of high priority youth and most importantly, identify innovative solutions to reduce adverse sexual health outcomes our most vulnerable youth.   The event will be held at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.  It will start promptly at 8AM and end at 10:30am.  For anyone who is preparing to apply for the funding, this event will be a unique opportunity to network with potential partners.   We will also provide copies of the reports from the previous Community Conversation for Action with the Latino and Faith Community that can be used to inform the proposals. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email or by phone.  You can reach the Assistant Director Larissa Rivera Gonzalez at or myself at  You can also call us at office at 413-533-9324.

My best,
Sarah Perez McAdoo MD, MPH
Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health Network

Friday, November 11, 2011

Upcoming Community Conversation for ACTION!

Please join us for the next event in our Community Conversation for ACTION! Series:

Foster Care, Juvenile Justice and
Homeless Youth Advocates
Friday, November 18, 2011
at the Basketball Hall of Fame
8AM - 10:30AM

The purpose of these meetings is to engage the broader community in not just talking about the issue, but creating the innovative solutions that will help teens make healthy decisions, that postpone early childbearing and increase their chance of a prosperous future. Everyone is part of the solution!

All events are free and open to all residents in Holyoke
and Springfield.  Food is provided but space is limited.
To reserve a seat at the table contact the 
YEAH! Network at 413-533-9324
or email us at

Become a part of the YEAH! Network team!

Title: Youth Engagement Coordinator Full-time,
Type: Exempt from Overtime Requirements
Location: Holyoke, MA

The YEAH! (Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health) Network, started in 2006, is a community coalition working to motivate the leaders of Hampden County to address high teen birth rates. The YEAH! Network creates a forum for diverse community stakeholders to organize and share resources in their effort to create an informed, empowered, and engaged response to teen pregnancy and other youth reproductive health disparities. Founded in 1979, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy advocates statewide and mobilizes communities to prevent teen pregnancy, to increase opportunities for youth and young parents, and to empower young people to make healthy decisions about relationships, sex, parenting, and life.
Together, the YEAH Network and the Alliance are collaborating on the Youth First project, an initiative in Holyoke and Springfield, MA. This 5-year project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), involves partnerships with public agencies, youth-serving organizations, clinical providers and other stakeholders to implement a multi-component community-wide initiative to prevent teen pregnancy.
In order to develop a robust collaborative with a common agenda, reinforcing activities, and youth mobilization, the Youth Engagement Coordinator will integrate the youth engagement components of the Youth First initiative and the YEAH Network Teen Leadership Project. Overall the YEC would oversee three major areas:

1. Increase Youth Engagement
•Provide technical assistance to Youth First community partners to support meaningful youth engagement in the community-wide teen pregnancy prevention effort Engage other youth leadership groups in Springfield and Holyoke to address teen sexual health Collaborate with other Youth First staff to integrate youth engagement across the initiative

2. Develop and Coordinate the Youth Leadership Team for the Youth First initiative 
•Members of the Youth Leadership Team are highly skilled or trained youth leaders that will represent the youth voice across the components of the YF Initiative. •This group will be in a adult- youth partnership that works towards implementation of a youth-led advocacy model

3. Coordinate and supervise the YEAH Network Teen Leadership Project (TLP)
•TLP provides the leadership and advocacy training to future teen leaders that can join the Youth Leadership Team or take other leadership roles in the community to address teen sexual health

• Coordinate and support the Youth First Youth Leadership Team of 10-12 youth from Holyoke and Springfield, including facilitating regular meetings and supporting youth-designed and led action projects on sexual health
• Coordinate and supervise the Teen Leadership Project
• Develop a youth network
• Oversee local youth-led communications strategies using social media and traditional media
• Develop and implement collaborative youth outreach project
• Assist with Youth First project evaluation including data collection and surveying youth
• Create and disseminate promotional items for youth
• Maintain the Youth First Facebook page
• Raise visibility of teen pregnancy prevention and the project

Skills and Experience
• 2-5 years’ experience facilitating youth groups October 2011
• Strong knowledge of, and commitment to, youth development principles
• Must be self-directed and capable of operating in a cooperative environment
• Highly proficient with Microsoft Office and general computer skills
• Spanish language skills a plus
• Candidates familiar with the communities of Springfield and/or Holyoke preferred
• Experience working as part of a team and leading teams through a work plan
• Highly organized and able to prioritize tasks for efficiency and productivity
• High level of problem solving skills
• Ability to independently develop project work plans
• Experience with developing community partnerships
• Knowledgeable about use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Master’s degree in public health, social work, education, public policy, human resources, or a related discipline plus 2-3 years’ experience, or Bachelor’s degree with 3-5 years’ experience in a relevant field. Equivalent experience will be considered.

Please send a resume and cover letter by November 18th, 2011 to:
Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, Director YEAH Network
4 Open Square Way, Suite 415
Holyoke, MA 01040
fax: 413-533-9327

Monday, November 7, 2011


The MDPH Office of Adolescent Health and Youth Development is excited to announce the release of the federally funded PREP RFR.
It PaYS: Partners for Youth Success is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE). 

In an effort to decrease the teen birth rate in Massachusetts communities with the lowest performing schools and highest teen birth rates - Boston, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester - this project will integrate community and school services to deliver medically accurate, culturally competent, age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education and adulthood preparation subjects to young people ages 10-19. MDESE will fund schools and MDPH will fund community-based organizations through a competitive procurement process in up to six communities with poor educational outcomes and the state's highest teen birth and STI rates. Selected recipients will be funded to provide evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs that incorporate selected adulthood preparation subjects.

Applicants who wish to respond to this RFR are highly encouraged to submit a non-binding Letter of Intent via email by Friday, November 18, 2011 by 5PM to: Dahlia Bousaid, Director, MDPH Office of Adolescent Health and Youth Development, . The Letter of Intent should include: organization name and address, region, and location of proposed PREP services.  Please indicate if this is a sole or collaborative application. Please reference PREP RFR Letter of Intent in the subject line of the email.

Here are the Instructions for getting to the posting:

1. Go onto the Internet to address:
2. Click on the Solicitations tab.
3. Click on Solicitation Search.
4. Enter 106814 into the Document Number field, then press Search.
5. There are 2 Solicitation(s) found that match your search criteria will appear at the top of the screen. Click on this link.
6. Click on the eyeglasses on the top line, the OPEN line.
7. The Specifications tab has the RFR document. The Forms and Terms screen has the documents for response.

The deadline for application is Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 28th is the next Community Conversation for ACTION!

Upcoming Community Conversation for ACTION! 
Faith Community
Friday, October 28, 2011 
at the Basketball Hall of Fame, 
8AM -10:30 AM

Everyone is part of the solution!
All events are free and open to all residents 
of Holyoke and Springfield.
Food is catered by Max's Tavern and space is limited. 
To reserve your seat at the table, 
call the YEAH! Network at
413.533.9324 or email

Author of a new book about teen pregnancy and parenting in Puerto Rico will speak at the Care Center

Friday, September 9, 2011

2 Community Conversations for ACTION!

Están todos invitados a una
Aporte su voz para que la comunidad Latina encuentre
soluciones positivas dirigido al embarazo adolescente

Jueves 15 de septiembre
de 5:30 a 8:30 de la tarde

En el Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke,
70 Nick Cosmos Way, Holyoke

Cena del Fernandez Restaurant, Se dispone de guardería
Traducción al ingles, Tarjeta de regalo de $25 y rifa

Si quiere participar en la conversación, llame a YEAH! Network para reservar un asiento
al 413.533.9324 o envíe un correo electrónico a

Patrocinado por YEAH! Network, Youth First
 y Tapestry Health


Please join us for a
Bring your voice to the table as the Latino community
finds strength-based solutions to teen pregnancy

Friday September 16th
8:00AM – 12:30PM

At the Basketball Hall of Fame
in the MassMutual Room
1000 West Columbus Avenue, Springfield

Catering by Max’s Tavern

If you want to be part of the solution call
the YEAH! Network to reserve a seat at 413.533.9324
or email

Sponsored by the YEAH! Network, Youth First
 and Tapestry Health

“As formal and informal leaders, we should challenge ourselves to work collectively and lead the efforts to create transformative solutions to teen pregnancy that includes accountability and sustainability. Currently, we have a political and funding window of opportunity and it is imperative that we take action now. If we address teen pregnancy, we strengthen the foundation of the Latino family and the prosperity of future generations of Latinos." 
– Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, Director YEAH! Network

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Local Evaluation Team Needed

Field Supervisor for Survey Research (in Springfield/Holyoke MA)(Job Number: 1100001619)

Description: Health, Education, and Social Programs
Public Health Division
Springfield/Holyoke MA

About ICF International
ICF International (NASDAQ:ICFI) partners with government and commercial clients to deliver professional services and technology solutions in the energy, environment, and transportation; health, education, and social programs; and homeland security and defense markets. The firm combines passion for its work with industry expertise and innovative analytics to produce compelling results throughout the entire program life cycle, from research and analysis through implementation and improvement. Since 1969, ICF has been serving government at all levels, major corporations, and multilateral institutions. More than 3,700 employees serve these clients worldwide. ICF's website is

ICF Macro, the public health division of ICF International, focuses on providing research, evaluation, and consulting activities in connection with health care service programs to key agencies of the federal government.

Job Description:
ICF Macro is seeking an on-site Field Supervisor to coordinate data collection activities (logistics, personnel management, status reporting, and record keeping) for an adolescent health study in Springfield/Holyoke MA. The study is part of a national evaluation of teen pregnancy prevention programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control. The study is designed to assess health outcomes in adolescents receiving “Youth First” initiative compared with a similar group of adolescents not receiving "Youth First" initiative.

The Field Supervisor will be responsible for managing data collection activities and day-to-day operations of the study. This includes assisting with identifying local office space, and hiring and supervising on site data collection staff in Springfield/Holyoke MA. The Field Supervisor will also be expected to work collaboratively with local grantee program staff and their ICF Macro Evaluation liaison to ensure data is collected according to evaluation protocols. This position will be based in Springfield/Holyoke MA, with ICF Macro providing all necessary computer hardware, software and supplies. ICF Macro will also maintain supervisory responsibility for this position through an evaluation liaison.

The successful candidate has experience and is comfortable interacting with various community members including youth, parents, and community organizations. They can also manage data collection activities, and is highly organized and keeps accurate records while contributing to overall project goals. We are seeking an individual who:
■Is highly motivated/goal oriented
■Is experienced in the health field
■Understands importance of research protocols/high response rates
■Can supervise and conduct/administrative/logistical/quality control activities at a field site
■Can manage site activities and field staff
■Can work in a team environment
■Has strong interpersonal, communication, and computer skills, is detail oriented, and can multitask
■Has a valid driver's license and must pass a driving and Federal background check

This is a temporary position with an anticipated work schedule of 30 to 40 hours per week, for approximately 12 to 16 weeks. Hours per week may vary.

Key Responsibilities:
■Attend specialized training on data collection procedures.
■Maintain the contact information database and schedule interview appointments with adolescent study participants.
■Obtain informed consent from adolescents and parents for participation in the study.
■Maintain and transport study equipment (e.g., laptops/tablets and set up)
■Secure filing and maintenance of confidential study data
■Distribute and track project funds (i.e., incentives to participants).
■Organize administrative paperwork associated with the evaluation.
■Conduct in-person interviews with the candidates for data collector positions.
■Provide oversight and supervision of field data collectors who will be responsible for the identification of youth to be included in the study, conducting in-person interviews with consenting youth participants, and transmitting records to ICF Macro.
■Monitor participation and response rates throughout the study.
■Maintain regular communication with TPP Evaluation team supervisor, including the submission of reports on evaluation progress.
■Coordinate and maintain on-going relationships with grantees to secure support for the evaluation: establishing and maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with grantee staff that regularly interact with adolescents; discussing important issues with evaluation sites and updating program staff on a regular basis; and, working collaboratively to develop recruitment procedures including establishment of evaluation consent and enrollment processes.

Basic Qualifications:
■Bachelor’s degree in public health, psychology, social work or related field required. Master’s degree preferred.
■At least 2 years of relevant post-graduate experience is required.
■Must posses a valid driver’s license and available vehicle in reliable working condition to be used to travel within communities. Mileage reimbursement will be provided.
■ Use of a personal cell phone (that is not shared by others) while working in the field is required.
■Facility using Microsoft Office software (i.e., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and/or Access) is essential
Preferred Skills/Experience:
■Experience working in research and/or with adolescents is preferable.
■Field data collection and interviewing experience in research studies is essential.
■Effective marketing skills preferred.
■Ability to interpret field-level problems and generate solutions (i.e., developing strategies to efficiently monitor and enhance data collection efforts) is essential

Professional Skills:
■Strong relationship-building skills and familiarity with community agencies required.
■Ability to interact effectively with community organizations, parent, adolescents, and colleagues to gain support for data collection is a must.
■Availability during evenings and weekends on occasion as workload, data collection and scheduling with study participants dictates is essential.
■Local travel with personal vehicle is required.
■Excellent oral and written communication skills are required.
■Ability to work independently with minimum supervision is a must.
■Strong organizational skills are required

Data Collector for Survey Research (in Springfield/Holyoke MA)(Job Number: 1100001940)
Description: Health, Education, and Social Programs, Public Health Division
Springfield/Holyoke MA

Job Description:
ICF Macro is seeking on-site data collection specialists for a community based adolescent health study in Springfield/Holyoke MA. The study is part of a national evaluation of teen pregnancy prevention programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control. The study is designed to assess health outcomes in adolescents receiving “Youth First” initiative compared with a similar group of adolescents not receiving "Youth First" initiative.

Data Collectors are needed to help administer surveys to youth (ages 15 - 19) in and around Springfield/Holyoake, MA. Orientation and training for this position will be held in mid to late October 2011.
This is a part-time position, with an anticipated work schedule of 15-20 hours per week, for approximately 12 to 16 weeks. Hours per week may vary. Evening and weekend shifts will be required.
This position is ideal for college students, recent graduates and retirees who have experience working with youth.

Key Responsibilities:
■Attend specialized training on data collection procedures
■Visit eligible homes to administer the youth survey to the selected participants following approved protocols
■Obtain informed consent from adolescents and parents for participation in the study
■Conduct in-person interviews with consenting youth participants (note: approximately four interviews will be completed per day by each data collector)

■Transmit data and records to ICF Macro
■Manage the interview incentives ($20), specifically distributing them and managing the receipt and tracking system for incentives
■Maintain regular communication with survey field supervisor including reports on data collection progress
■Maintain the contact information database and schedule interview appointments with adolescent study participants
■Maintain and transport study equipment
■Secure filing and maintenance of confidential study data

Basic Qualifications:
■High school degree or equivalent required. Bachelor’s degree preferred.
■Must posses a valid driver’s license and available vehicle in reliable working condition to be used to travel within communities. Mileage reimbursement will be provided.
■Must be able to lift, carry, and transport up to 50 lbs of survey supplies and other data collection materials.

Preferred Skills/Experience:
■Experience in field data collection, survey/social science, research, sales, or marketing preferred.
■Experience in working with youth and young adults preferred.
■Basic computer skills, including navigating the Internet, using web applications, and using email preferred.

Professional Skills:
■Successful candidates will be extremely well-organized, with a strong eye for detail.
■Ability to adhere to strict time schedules and arrive on time and prepared for all appointments is a must.
■High degree of self-confidence and the ability to deal with difficult situations in a calm/professional manner ■Professional appearance and demeanor is required.
■Strong interpersonal communication skills required.
■Ability and willingness to travel alone is required.

ICF International is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/D/V
For a listing of other career opportunities at ICF, please visit our Career Center at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seeking Input from Adolescents and Young Adults

The Family Planning Program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is seeking input from adolescents and young adults into what challenges exist in achieving our goals of reducing unintended pregnancies and promoting sexual and reproductive well-being.

The Family Planning Program created a short survey and would like to invite young people to participate. It should take only 5-10 minutes to complete.

As a thank you, after completing the survey participants may opt to be entered into a drawing for one of five $10 iTunes gift cards! If he/she chooses not to be entered into the drawing, the survey responses will be anonymous. The drawing will take place onSeptember 15, so please complete the survey before then! 

If you would like paper copies of the survey, please contact Bridget Larson at the Department of Public Health.
Take survey here

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prevention Program Internship, Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy

Dates of Internship: Fall 2011 (September-December 2011, with potential to continue into Spring 2012). Start and end dates are flexible.
Hours: 16 hours/2 days per week (Preferably Monday-Thursday)
Compensation: Unpaid. Alliance will provide supervision of requirements to receive school credit.
Supervisor: Prevention Director
Last Day to Apply: September 1, 2011

The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy seeks an intern to analyze public health data and assist with Alliance communications and press events in Massachusetts communities with high teen birth rates. Responsibilities will include developing fact sheets and presentations on relevant data and assisting with the Alliance’s Youth First Initiative in Springfield and Holyoke. Work may also include development of press releases and disseminating Alliance materials via new media.

The ideal candidate will have skills in making public health data accessible and useful to the public, an understanding of current issues in adolescent sexual health/teen pregnancy prevention, and excellent writing skills.

Position Requirements:
• Skills in working with public health data
• Commitment to and belief in the mission of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, and desire to empower the young people of Massachusetts
• Engagement in a Master’s level of study preferred
• Resourceful and thorough
• Strong organizational skills
• Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously
• Willingness and ability to work autonomously, with direction and support
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Experience in youth services preferred
• Integrity, sense of humor, and desire to “do good” in the world

To Apply, Please submit resume and cover letter to Erica Fletcher, Prevention Director, at No phone calls, please

Monday, August 8, 2011

YEAH! Network response to the 2009 Teen Birth Data: A Collective Impact Approach to Reducing the Disparity

Written by Amy Cronin DiCaprio, YEAH! Network Director of Research Development

Two weeks ago, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released the Massachusetts 2009 Birth Data. Their report highlighted the continued disparity in the teen birth rate in many western Massachusetts communities, and underscores the continued need for a sustained and comprehensive response to improving sexual health outcomes for youth.
Massachusetts teen births have declined 11% since 2007, pushing the overall state teen birth rate to its lowest in decades.  However, the statewide birth rate for Hispanic teenagers is still five times that of white teens, and there is a continued stark disparity between the state teen birth rate compared with several cities in western Massachusetts, most notably Springfield and Holyoke.

For the fifth year in a row, Holyoke reported the highest teen birth rate in Massachusetts, at 96.8 per 1,000 teen girls aged 15-19, which is almost 5 times the state rate of 19.6 per 1000. Springfield saw 65 more teen births in 2009 than in the previous year, with a 2009 teen birth rate of 72.1 per 1000. The percentage of teen births to Hispanic mothers in each city has trended upwards over the last decade: in Holyoke, 86.3% of teen births in 2009 were to Hispanic mothers (compared with 82.9 in 1996), and the increase was even sharper in Springfield, with 67.6% of teen births in 2009 to Hispanic mothers (compared with 48.7% in 1996). In each city, the majority of teen births were to older teens (aged 18-19): 64.4% of teen births in Holyoke and 64.8% of teen births in Springfield were to older teens. However, births among younger adolescents are on the rise in Springfield: 2009 saw 12 births to mothers aged 12-14 (an increase of 7 over the previous year).

For nearly two decades, Springfield and Holyoke have consistently held some of the highest teen birth rates in the state, with both cities ranking in the top five nearly every year. A new way of addressing this disparity is long overdue. Teen pregnancy and community responses to teen pregnancy are influenced by a myriad of factors including economics, education, opportunity, culture, and politics. The task of creating a meaningful impact on such a complex issue is too much for any single agency, single strategy, or even single sector: it requires a collaboration that goes beyond the approach of traditional coalitions and networks.
            An article in last winter’s Stanford Social Innovation Review examined the concept of “collective impact.” The authors define collective impact as “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” (Kania and Kramer, 2011, p.36) In contrast to the traditional approach used by nonprofits where single agencies try to invent independent solutions to major social problems (also known as isolated impact), collective impact emphasizes cross-sector coalitions, led by a single agency using a systemic approach to social impact that prioritizes the relationship between sectors, organizations, and communities.
Adopting a collective impact philosophy and approach to addressing the high teen birth rates in Springfield and Holyoke resonates with the core values of the YEAH! Network. The YEAH! Network has consistently worked to advocate for a long-term and sustainable multi-sector approach to addressing the disparities in adolescent sexual health. By making it our policy to operate in multiple cities, have steering committee members from multiple cities and sectors, resisting the pressure to seek short-term single-initiative funding, and working to link our philosophies and practices to research and national priorities, the YEAH! Network has been modeling the beginning stages of collective impact.

The YEAH! Network believes that a collective impact approach is the best way to reduce the disparity in the teen birth rates in Springfield and Holyoke. There is a unique window of opportunity to create this collective impact strategy to address teen pregnancy in Springfield and Holyoke. Last year, in partnership with the YEAH! Network, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy was awarded one of nine $1.1 million federal grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test the effectiveness of community-wide approaches to reducing teen pregnancy. We’ve called this project the Youth First initiative. There is an unprecedented alignment of goals and stakeholders in Springfield and Holyoke, and the timing for a collective impact approach couldn’t be better: city leadership in both cities passed policy changes (within one year of each other) in support of evidence-based comprehensive sex education in schools. Two city-wide, mayor-supported task forces exist solely to influence policy around adolescent sexual health. As part of a collective impact strategy, the Youth First initiative aims to bring together all sectors of the community in this effort, and the YEAH! Network and the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy have been continually building and deepening the relationships with parents of adolescents, teachers, faith leaders, youth, business owners, school administrators, social workers, community-based organizations, clinical providers, pediatricians, employers, and policy makers.

            It is increasingly clear to those of us who work with youth, care about youth, and to youth themselves, that the strategies of the past 20 years are not effectively addressing the disproportionately high teen birth rates in Springfield and Holyoke. A collective impact approach, supported by the 5-year Youth First initiative, is a sustainable, logical, and timely strategy. Changing the way we work, and changing the way we work together as communities, is absolutely essential to create the conditions required for improved sexual health outcomes for youth in Springfield and Holyoke: access to information and education; access to reproductive health services; and access to opportunity for the future.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2009 Massachusetts Birth Data now released

Below is the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy's Press Release

New Teen Birth Data Highlights a Tale of Two Cities
Boston, MA Newly released teen birth data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows an 11% decline in births to teens since 2007, pushing the Massachusetts teen birth rate to its lowest in decades. Still, the teen birth rate for Hispanic teens in Massachusetts is more than 5 times the rate for whites. In Boston, the Department of Public Health reports that the teen birth rate for Hispanic 18-19 year olds is 19 times that for white 18-19 year olds in the city.

“The continued decline in teen births overall proves that preventing teen pregnancy is a winnable battle,” says Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. “But we cannot be satisfied when such stark disparities persist. Teens of all race/ethnicities deserve the chance to reach their own potential, to pursue education and meaningful work, before they have to focus on raising a child. ”

Holyoke reported the highest teen birth rate in Massachusetts, at 96.8 per 1,000 teen girls aged 15-19— almost 5 times the state rate. Communities like Holyoke, Lynn, and Lowell have seen teen birth rates trending up in recent years, following strong declines in the late 1990s and the begin of the millennium. Community data is available to assist cities and towns in understanding specific challenges. For example, almost 40% of births to teens in Lawrence were to teens aged 15-17, compared to 29% statewide. In Southbridge, almost half (48.4%) of teen births were to teens under 18.

Currently, school districts are not required to provide sex education, and though teen pregnancy prevention, family planning, and school-based health care survived the FY12 budget process, funding levels are still far below what was available 10 years ago. 

We need to make sure that every young person has access to comprehensive sex education, that sexually active young people have support for the use of condoms and contraceptives, and that all youth have a clear path to adult identity with motivation to delay parenting,” says Quinn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Youth Leadership Institute

The YEAH! Network and The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy will be hosting a

Summer Youth Leadership Institute
August 16-19th
 for 13-19 year olds living in Holyoke and Springfield  

This is a four day event for those who want to know more, and have something to say, about sex, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy. Participants will develop leadership and advocacy skills to take action and create change in their communities with regards to teen pregnancy, sexual health, and healthy relationships.

The institute is FREE, and the deadline for submitting an application is July 25th.
You can download the application here.  
For more information, contact Meegan at 413.533.9324 or at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Please help us evaluate the needs of our community

Our Community Needs Assessment survey needs your input! Please take this anonymous online Community Evaluation  survey to help the communities in which we live and work to better develop a collective impact plan to reduce the teen pregnancy rates and adolescent sexual health disparities. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Conference evaluation

If you attended the May 6th conference and did not fill out a conference evaluation survey, you can fill one out here
Your input is very important to us and we value and appreciate your opinion. Thank you. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Save the date and join us for:

The YEAH! Network presents:

Community Conversations for Action!
Latinos Engage for Strength-Based Solutions to Teen Pregnancy

When: Thursday May 26th, 2011
Time: 8:30a.m. - 12 noon
Where: Mill 1 at open Square in Holyoke

Please join us for:
An interactive presentation by renowned national speaker Héctor Sánchez-Flores, along with presentations by state and local leaders and a strategic planning session for sustainable solutions. 

Contact us for more information at 413-533-9324 or

Monday, May 2, 2011

Friday May 6th is the YEAH! Network conference!

The conference is this Friday, May 6th from 10a.m.-6:30p.m. If you plan on attending, please register with your name, email, and workshop choice to You can find all of the workshop information at our website or in the 2011 conference page on the left side of this blog. Thank you, and we hope to see you there! 

May 5th Holyoke teen focus group

For more information about JSI and their teen focus groups, visit their website

Monday, April 25, 2011

The YEAH! Network conference press release

YEAH! Network
Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health Network
sponsored by Partners for A Healthier Community
4 Open Square, Suite 415
Holyoke, MA 01040

YEAH! Network To Host 5th Annual Conference on May 6
“Relationship Building: Understanding How Community Relationships Can Drive Transformation in Adolescent Sexual Health”
Event is free and open to professionals and the general public

Springfield – The YEAH! (Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health) Network will hold its 5th Annual Conference – “Relationship Building: Understanding How Community Relationships Can Drive Transformation in Adolescent Sexual Health,” on Friday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Baystate Health Education Center, 361 Whitney Ave., Holyoke.

Designed for both professionals and the general public, the free program is geared for youth service organizations, educators, social service agencies, policy makers, medical providers, funders, parents, youth, and anyone interested in leading a collective impact in adolescent sexual health.

“Although the conference will primarily focus on adolescent sexual health, the keynote speakers will address themes that are relevant to anyone interested in a collective impact to reduce the social and health inequalities in our region,” said Dr. Sarah Perez-McAdoo, director, YEAH! Network, sponsored by Partners for A Healthier Community.

“If you want to know what it will take to reduce the disparity in the teen birth rate, this conference is for you. We will achieve greater results by strengthening community relationships at multiple levels from parent-child to youth relationships to organizational partnerships to overall community connectedness with the goal of improving the sexual health of teens,” added Dr. Perez-McAdoo.

Highlights of the daylong event will include two keynote addresses, including luncheon speaker Greg Hills, managing director, FSG Social Impact Consultants. His address, entitled “Collective Impact: Achieving Large Scale Social Change,” will describe the paradigm shift from isolated impact to collective impact for addressing complex social problems. He will also discuss the key conditions for success and mindset shifts required to successfully execute collective impact initiatives in the community.

Following lunch, Hills will host a question and answer session for local funders entitled “The Role of Funders in Collective Impact.” The session will provide an informal forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges for funders engaging in collective impact initiatives.

Participants can choose from 10 workshops to be held throughout the afternoon by local, state, and national presenters. Among the many workshop topics will be “The Tipping Point: What Really Opened the Policy Window for Comprehensive Sex Education in Springfield and Holyoke,” “Engaging Youth in Public Policy Advocacy: How to Motivate, Empower and Mobilize Teens,” “Creating a Road Map for Collective Impact: Lessons Learned,”  “Parents and Providers = Healthy Teens: a panel discussion on developing strong partnerships between parents and providers in support of youth,” “Building Bridges Between Communities and Providers: a Promotora model to address health disparities,” “What Is a Young Man’s Role in Teen Pregnancy Prevention?” “Wise Choices: Healthy Teen Dating” and “Keeping It Real: What Young Men Really Think About Relationships.”

The day will end with dinner and a closing address, “Community Relationships and Respect: The Key To Understanding How Everyone Contributes To Solutions,” presented by Hector Sanchez-Flores, director, Training and Initiatives, National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute.

There will also be time for community networking during several breaks during the day.

The YEAH! Network works to use advocacy, research and community education to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health.

For more information, or to obtain a registration form, log onto or call 413-533-9324 or email

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo live on Channel 22 WWLP Mass Appeal!

The YEAH! Network's Director, Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, appeared live yesterday, April 20, on the Channel 22 WWLP Mass Appeal show. She spoke about the YEAH! Network's 5th annual conference coming up on May 6, and about using collective impact to achieve the short-and-long term goals of the YEAH! Network to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health.

Click here to see a video and a transcript of her interview with Channel 22's Nate Luscombe.

Great job, Sarah!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Registration now available for our May 6th Conference

To view the YEAH! Network's conference information, go to the 2011 Conference page on this blog. Email to register or complete the online registration

Call us at 413.533.9324 or fax your registration to 413.533.9327

You can print a registration form off of the 2011 conference page on this blog

We look forward to seeing you on May 6th!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Federal Funding Update

An important update on the federal budget from our friends at the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy: 

Yesterday, the House of Representatives released the details of the continuing resolution (CR) agreed upon over the weekend. Federal teen pregnancy prevention funding (including the grant that funds the Alliance’s Youth First project with the YEAH! Network) and Title X have been cut, but have not been eliminated. The National Campaign on Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has a good explanation of the impact of the budget where it stands now on these two items.
Healthy Teen Network has been strongly advocating in favor of the Adolescent Family Life program, which was also cut but not eliminated in the CR. A quick summary of 2011 federal budget changes relevant to providers working in teen pregnancy and with expectant or parenting teens can be found on the Healthy Teen Network website. The Adolescent Family Life program is eliminated in Obama’s 2012 budget, so check out what you can do here to advocate to save it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Survey of 2012 budget priorities for Springfield, MA

Please fill out this survey to contribute to the 2012 budget priorities for the Springfield Public Schools. To join in the support for the continuation of sex-ed being taught in the schools, please pay special attention to the ranking of physical education teachers highly because they are teaching the courses of sex ed

Thank you for your support and please contact us with any questions or for other ways you can contribute to this most important cause.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating Youth Leadership

Terrance Mack, youth leader in the YEAH! Network Teen Leadership Project at Dunbar Community Center is actively engaged in our community. See Terrance, along with others, speaking on Mass Appeal about standing up to bring everyone together to encourage local students to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available in our community. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can our communities afford a 45% spike in the teen pregnancy rate?- URGENT ADVOCACY NEEDED

An important note from Patricia Quinn, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy:

Dear Advocates,

We urgently need you to contact your US Senators NOW to ask them to restore federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention and family planning.
Last Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would eliminate two very effective, cost-saving prevention programs from the federal budget. These service cuts would increase Massachusetts' teen pregnancy rate by about 45% and add more than $51 million in costs to Massachusetts taxpayers almost immediately.* Now the Senate needs to decide if they think our communities can afford more teen pregnancies.

In 2008, Title X family planning programs helped our state avoid 4,672 teen pregnancies. Eliminating Title X and the new Teen Pregnancy Prevention initiatives will result in a near immediate 45% spike in the state's teen pregnancy rate.The spike in unplanned pregnancies will cost Massachusetts taxpayers an additional $51+ million each year.The US House of Representatives' CR eliminates the new Office of Adolescent Health, which has committed more than $28 million to Massachusetts projects over the next five years. This will eliminate jobs and reduce Massachusetts' infrastructure for helping communities combat teen pregnancy, and will eliminate the new Alliance project, Youth First, in Springfield and Holyoke.

Please call Senators Brown and Kerry TODAY and ask them to be more fiscally responsible than the House by protecting Title X and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives in the budget.

Senator Scott Brown (R- MA)
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Boston (617) 565-3170           D.C. (202) 224-4543

Senator John F. Kerry (D- MA)
218 Russell Bldg., Second Floor
Washington, D.C. 20510
Boston (617) 565-8519         D.C. (202) 224-2742 

Sample script:
My name is ______and I am calling from ________.  I urge Senator______ to vote to protect funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and Title X. The cuts that have passed the House would have a devastating impact on efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy and the huge costs associated with it, HIV, and other STDs, and would undermine low-income people's access to health care. These cuts are not about "fiscal responsibility" or "reducing government spending." They are about eliminating access to comprehensive sex education, family planning, sexual and reproductive health services, and HIV/STD prevention for those most in need.

The Senate will take this up on Monday.  CALL NOW!

*Think our numbers sound extreme? The Guttmacher Institute just released a state-by-state analysis of the impact of Title X on the states. The analysis showed that without Title X, Massachusetts' teen pregnancy rate would be 45% higher. We haven't seen rates that high since teen pregnancy "boom" of the 1990s. While educational programs help youth avoid pregnancy in the long run, Title X helps them avoid pregnancy immediately. That means, without those Title X services, teens - and our communities - would see the immediate impact of an unplanned pregnancy. See more of the Guttmacher Institute's data here.