Instead of the harsh judgment they may fear, pregnant young people can look to a new LCMS resource for caring support and positive choices for a healthy pregnancy, birth, and parenting options.
“Sometimes in churches and communities, pregnant young people are judged negatively. This campaign is positive and hopeful,” said Rev. Alan Erdman, president and chief executive officer of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS), referring to the new “Get Real with Yourself” program developed in partnership with LCMS World Relief/Human Care.
A few taps on the computer keyboard link young people and their families to a Web site (www.getrealwithyourself.com) that debuts Sept. 4, offering information on pregnancy, parenting, and adoption. It also provides access to trained LFCS social workers who will talk with expectant mothers and fathers and concerned relatives. Counselors are available 24/7 through a toll-free hot-line — (877) 747-REAL (7325) — or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“There’s a huge need to provide young people with information in a risk-free environment they are comfortable with,” Erdman said. “The Web site is a way the church can let young people know that we very much care about them and their situation and that there are positive choices they can consider for a healthy pregnancy, birth, and outcome.”
LFCS is headquartered in St. Louis, but hot-line staffers can refer callers to similar Lutheran agencies throughout the United States when local services are requested.
Unlike many similar programs, sponsors say the “Get Real” campaign targets a younger audience, aimed especially at teens in the 15-to-19 age range, within the broader target audience that spans ages 15 to 24.
In 2000, the teen pregnancy rate for young women ages 15 to 19 was about 83 teens per 1,000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the abortion rate for that same group was about 24 abortions per 1,000 teens.
If the “Get Real” campaign proves successful, sponsors hope to offer it as a pilot program to Lutheran social ministry organizations nationwide.
“Our goal is to reach as many young people and their families as possible,” said Maggie Karner, director of LCMS World Relief/Human Care’s Life Ministries. “We want them to think, consider, and learn about the different positive choices they can make for their babies and for themselves.”
To launch the new Web site, LCMS sponsors will team up with a St. Louis radio station (KSLZ-FM, Z107.7) on “Get Real” promotions at Labor Day weekend activities and introduce an ambitious radio and print advertising campaign. The latter focuses on student publications at St. Louis area colleges.
To learn more about LCMS World Relief/Human Care’s Life Ministries, visit http://worldrelief.lcms.org or call (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1380. For information about LFCS, visit www.lfcsmo.org or call (866) 326-5327.
Posted Aug. 31, 2006