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DETROIT – On Friday, May 6, teen peer educators from across the state will gather in Detroit for a Peer Education Summit, a leadership opportunity designed to build peer educators’ confidence and skill sets and further empower peer educators to educate their peers through meaningful interactions. The Peer Education Summit, sponsored by the Patrice K. Aaron Family Foundation and Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI), is part of the organization’s observance of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month in May, a month of activities to promote teen pregnancy prevention, including a quiz at www.StayTeen.org.

“Planned Parenthood peer educators are already well-versed in medically-accurate sexual health information and this event is focusing on supporting them in the delivery of that information,” said Ashley Choker, PPMI Youth Programs Manager. “Peer educators connect to their peers and community members around very sensitive, personal topics, which is not always an easy task. We hope this event will help them feel more comfortable and confident having these conversations.  The Summit will include presenters from across the state who will teach youth how to thoughtfully strengthen messages that will further their prevention efforts in their home communities.”

PPMI has over 30 years of experience developing and managing teen peer education programs. It currently facilitates eight teen peer education programs reaching over 80 youth throughout Michigan. One of the highlights for the peer educators each year is the opportunity to collaborate with other peer educators from across the state to network and inspire each other as well as expand their leadership skills. This year’s Summit will involve teens from Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Milan and Muskegon.

Since the early 1990s, teen pregnancy and birth rates in the United State have declined by 51 percent and 61 percent respectively and are now at record low levels. The teen birth rate declined by an additional nine percent in 2014 alone and is at historic lows for all age groups and all ethnic and racial groups. Despite this progress, it is still the case that nearly one in four girls in the United States will get pregnant at least once before they turn 20, and that the rates in this country are far higher than in other industrialized countries.

PPMI offers evidence-based programs to educate teens about the importance of making healthy and responsible decisions either by abstaining from sex or using protection to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV. These programs are part of and funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health's Taking Pride in Prevention Initiative, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families' Personal Responsibility Education Program.

The Summit takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. If you are interested in covering the event, please reach out to the contact for more information.