Young Moms Connect website wins national Apex award
YoungMomsConnect.org won the 2012 Grand Prize for websites developed by nonprofit agencies at the 24th Annual Awards for Publications Excellence (APEX) competition. YoungMomsConnect.org, was designed by the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation for pregnant and parenting teens and young women in North Carolina. The site was cited by the judges for its "superb organization, clean legible layout and typography, and very informative content -- concisely written, with top notch links."
Young Moms Connect is a three year, federally-funded grant to the N.C. Division of Public Health. The collaboration between the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation and the N.C. Division of Public Health supports the media, social media, texting and website components of the project. The site was launched in June of 2011 following several months of testing the design, ease-of-use and content with the target audience: young women between the ages of 13 and 24.
"The focus groups were key in developing a site that the audience would find interesting and useful ... it really was a grass-roots kind of site," said Karen Gupton, Website Manager for the Foundation.
The awards were announced in July and are sponsored by the editors of Writers Web Watch. They are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry -- in the opinion of the judges -- in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence.
Over 3,000 international communications pieces are judged each year by the APEX awards committee and only 100 Grand Prizes are awarded.
Young Moms Speak Up (community video project)
In fall 2012, local groups in two Young Moms Connect project communities (Bladen and Rockingham) agreed to participate in the Community Video Project. The goal: to create short videos with health and pregnancy-related messages on a number of topics. Each group wanted to create videos that would raise awareness among their peers and their community.
In spring of 2012, local groups in four Young Moms Connect project communities (Nash, Onslow, Rockingham, and Wayne) agreed to participate in the Community Video Project. The goal: to create short videos with health and pregnancy-related messages on a number of topics. They wanted to make their peers, and the community, sit up and take notice.
Each group received training from a professional videographer as well as video equipment. Two groups filmed pregnant women's and young moms' reactions and personal stories at one-time events. Two groups picked a health topic and filmed over a number of weeks. Here are their creations:
In Bladen County, a group of young moms and student volunteers with Families First, Inc. took on the heavy issues of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault and created "This is NOT OK: Three Short Stories". These students used role-playing to create three powerful short stories that illustrate the importance of letting the secret out about domestic violence and sexual assault among young people.
A group of students from John Motley Morehead High School and Rockingham County Student Health Center took on the issues of bullying, cyberbullying and dating violence in "I Deserve Better: A Short Trilogy". These students used role-playing to create a powerful series that illustrates each issue and how it affects young people.
A group of students from the TRU Club (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) at Nash/Rocky Mount Early College High School took on the issue of teen smoking, something they are very passionate about, and created "Smoking: Myths and Reality."
In Onslow County, a group of young moms decided THEY wanted to be their own "film crew." During a special Young Moms Connect Viewing Event, the moms watched a docudrama, "The Pregnancy Project," about how teen moms are often stereotyped. The moms filmed themselves and other moms discussing and sharing their personal stories.
A group of students from Reidsville High School - where they all knew classmates who had gotten pregnant - attended a Young Moms Connect Viewing Event at Rockingham Community College. They watched "The Pregnancy Project" docudrama along with young moms and their families. They then filmed the group discussion that followed, as well as one-to-one interviews with some of the moms.
Key Club students at Wayne Early Middle College High School tackled the heavy subject of HIV, and the risks you take if you don’t practice abstinence or safer sex. These students, who have previously been recognized nationally for their video-making talents, used role-playing to create a powerful story that illustrates the importance of making wise decisions.
Are pregnant teens treated differently by friends, classmates and teachers? That's a question high school senior Gaby Rodriquez wanted to answer as she considered what to do for her Senior Project. She'd watched her mom and three sisters - all teen parents themselves - struggle with stereotypes and being treated with less respect over the years, and she wanted to do something about it. After getting approval from her principal, her mom and her boyfriend, she began padding her belly and faking a pregnancy.
What Gaby discovers during the months of pretending to be pregnant is eye-opening to all those around her. Her story has been turned into a book, "The Pregnancy Project," and now a movie on Lifetime. Tune in and find out why other teen moms are thanking her for showing people what they really go though.
Our Stories - Our Lives
Dayekia, Kimberly and Anna share what it was like to become pregnant as teenagers, their lives as young mothers and their personal goals for the future.