May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and the Confident Girl Mentoring Program has taken a virtual approach in sharing messages about risky sexual behavior. The nonprofit organization works to build the self-esteem of youth in Buffalo through various after school programs.

What You Need To Know

  • May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
  • Confident Girl Mentoring Program goes virtual
  • Organizations focused on digital disparities

​"Although the rate is down, disparities still exist," said CEO & President Tiffany Lewis. 

It's an initiative CGMP has been focused on since partnering with Hope Buffalo and the Erie County Department of Health several years ago to target nine zip codes and reduce teen pregnancy rates within Erie County. 

Stan Martin, the director of Hope Buffalo, says they've been paying close attention to the social determinants of health concerning teen pregnancies. Though the numbers are down, Martin says Hope Buffalo's partners will now have to consider the digital gap in terms of outreach.

"There's one thing to talk about health disparities, but I think the issue you raise is equity," said Martin. "Certain communities, they need more, they need more resources." 

Hope Buffalo is partnering with the Erie County health department to make those resources available. Thirty mini grants totaling $20,000 will be awarded to youth organizations in Buffalo. Confident Girl Mentoring is a past recipient of that grant. They have equipped students with headphones and DVD players to participate in their programs from home during this pandemic.

"We've gotten better at some of our programs," said Lewis. "This [coronavirus pandemic] has been a traumatic experience for our youth."

Lewis says her organization's virtual sessions are connecting teens from across the country and the world.

"That opened up a different dialogue," adds Lewis. "Teens realized that they are not alone."

Lewis says her organization has embraced that this will be the norm for many after school programs and that there are signs the message is being received efficiently and effectively even though it is happening virtually. ​