HEALTH

Alexandria teens launch teen pregnancy campaign "Keep it 360"

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A group of teenagers in Alexandria launched a campaign to get their peers talking about - and prevent - teen pregnancy.

The four T.C. Williams students have named the campaign "Keep it 360." They want to get teens and the community talking about every aspect of teen pregnancy.

“All the angles, if you think of a circle, 360 around, you want to cover all the parts of a topic,” said Emma Beall, one of the teenagers who started the campaign.

The city of Alexandria's teen pregnancy rate is twice as high as the state's, and triple the rate in Northern Virginia.

“Last year there were a lot of pregnant teens, I think I heard the day care center was filled up,” said Brooke Ninman. Her fellow campaigner Yasmin Faruki wondered how many Alexandria schools actually have a day care center available for teen mothers.

The teenagers are part of a group called Teens Talk that has launched the “Keep it 360” campaign with the guidance of the Alexandria campaign on adolescent pregnancy. The campaign launched Oct. 1 with an event at T.C. Williams.

The teens designed the logo on their shirts, passed out flyers, and performed an original song they wrote at the kick-off event.

“When people say what keep it 360 is about and someone else will say it's about preventing teens from having sex, I say no, it's about preventing teens from having unsafe sex,” said David Summers.

The group is blogging about the issue and thinking of more ways to get other teens talking.

“They know what the issue is, they know they want to help peers as well as parents and community members get the conversation re-invigorated,” said Becky Griesse of the Alexandria adolescent pregnancy campaign.

Among their ideas is holding a video contest and starting a club at the school to raise awareness for teen pregnancy prevention.

To find out more, go to the campaign's website at Keepit360.org.

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