TUPELO – At its annual Live and Love fundraiser banquet, Parkgate pregnancy clinic unveiled its latest effort against teen pregnancy – smartphone app Pow.
Parkgate Executive Director Jima Alexander said the app works in tandem with the clinic’s Empower sexual education program. Children are first introduced to the material in seventh grade, and again in ninth grade though the high school health class.
“The app is the first one of its kind that we know of,” Alexander said. “For kids, the activities match up with their daily Empower lesson, and it allows parents to see what was discussed.”
Getting parents and kids on the same page is the first step to facilitating crucial discussions about sex. Communication, Alexander said, is the most important factor in educating our community’s children.
“We don’t want Parkgate to be the lone voice. We want it to open the door,” she said. “And if a kid isn’t sure about some material in class, and is embarrassed to ask in front of their friend, they can consult the app to get the facts.”
The comic book-themed app was developed through Junior Auxiliary, whose national focus for the next two years will be the teen pregnancy epidemic.
Junior Auxiliary member Carley Johnston said the Auxiliary worked with an app developer over the course of six months to create an app as fun as it is useful.
“If it’s not fun, kids won’t use it,” she said. “We used our own research and experience as mothers of teens, and we consulted focus groups of teens to see what they would like in an app.”
The app, free for download on iPhone and Android marketplaces, will go into action in the next few weeks, as the next round of Empower begins.