Are You Living an Upside-Down Life? Book 5 in the Arise-Sprouts Teen Pregnancy Awareness Series

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Are You Living an Upside-Down Life? Book 5 in the Arise-Sprouts Teen Pregnancy Awareness Series
Arise Foundation
116 pages.

This fifth and final book in a life-skills curriculum for teen pregnancy prevention defines an “upside-down life” in its subtitle: “Letting Guys, Sex, Risky Behavior, Pregnancy Come Before Education, Relationships, Maturity, Solid Future.” Previous volumes taught prenatal and child care to teen parents. The new, stand-alone volume discourages girls ages 13 to 19 from becoming parents, emphasizing teen mothers’ solo struggles, short-lived relationships with their babies’ fathers, and the children’s insecure future. It also explores the rewards of finishing education, job training, and maturing before parenthood.

Opening with tips for group facilitators on using tools effectively, the manual is flexibly designed for single or non-sequential sessions accessible to youth who don’t have strong reading skills. Multicultural images appear in posters, handouts, “true-life tales,” quotes for reflection, and self-assessments.

More than 50 posters offer visual concepts for quick digestion – one says “Pregnant? Say Goodbye to Your Beach Body,” showing three photos of bloated bellies with loose skin and stretch marks. Uplifting images include two joyful young women at college graduation, with a Venus Williams quote: “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That’s what makes you a winner.”

Handouts include a “Boyfriend Audit” form to assess his worthiness with checkboxes for 22 attributes from “No criminal record” to “Will not mind when a woman is independent.” Opportunities for reflection arise from 15 pages of “Mama Said” quotes contributed by children ages 6 to 60 from their own mothers, such as “Mama said, ‘You are part of me. If you hurt, I hurt.’ ”

Among nine first-person stories – a couple pages each in large type with photos – is “Grandma Is Fed Up,” describing her exhaustion and turmoil taking care of her daughter’s baby while the baby’s mother is “out doing God-knows-what.” In “The Dumpster,” a newborn infant’s point of view is wrenching as he lies abandoned in the garbage.

Many exercises speak to males as well as females, including two “playlets” for improvisation. One investigates a father’s role; the other demonstrates both polite and clueless dating behavior.

Leaders can choose what resonates with particular groups from two approaches – disturbing facts that discourage unwise behavior or positive attitudes that inspire improvement – in settings such as health classes, teen pregnancy programs or visits with incarcerated youth. (888) 680-6100, www.at-riskyouth.org.