Money is part of $500k to Valley nonprofits to help address high rates of teen pregnancy, STDs
FRESNO – Woodlake High School recently received a grant to help students make better choices, not just in academics, but other areas that could affect the rest of their lives.
On Nov. 7, Woodlake High School was presented a check for $38,500 to improve its sexual health program. The money is part of a grant designed to address the high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases rampant in Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Merced and Kings Counties. These programs support teens by providing youth leadership development, reproductive health services, comprehensive sexual education, and teen parent educational support. Teen pregnancy rates in the San Joaquin Valley in 2008 were the highest in the state and continue to be the highest in the state in 2016. The Public Health Institute estimates teen births and their consequences cost more than $130 million annually in the six-county Central Valley.
“While California teen birth rates have declined to record-low levels, the Central Valley continues to have some of the highest rates in the state,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-31), a former emergency room physician and Medical Director at Adventist Hospital in Selma. “Research shows that socio-economic factors, such as poverty, unemployment, and educational attainment result in disproportionate impacts of teen pregnancy on disadvantaged communities.”
Woodlake High School was among seven organizations recognized at a reception at California University San Francisco (CUSF) where Assemblymember Arambula addressed them as well as community healthcare professionals. Other grantees included: Teen Success; Inc.; The Foundation at FCOE, Inc.; California State University, Fresno Foundation; Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County; The Latino Commission – Nuevo Comienzo; and UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program.
The money was part of half a million dollars granted by the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF), in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Anthem, to continue their youth development initiatives that focus on health services and education programs in the central San Joaquin Valley. Since the inception of this grant cycle in 2008, over 40,000 teens have benefitted from the funded programs in Madera, Tulare, and Fresno. CVCF has funded $2.7 million for Central Valley nonprofits with investments being matched at a rate of 2:1 by the organizations.
“These grants provide holistic support to teens and their families by focusing on prevention as well as skills development and health services. Grant funds will also be used to attract and retain much-needed skilled medical professionals to serve in Central Valley hospitals and clinics,” said Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation. “Investing in the health and well-being of young people continues to be a top priority for the Central Valley Community Foundation.”
UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program was also awarded a grant for their contributions to the Central Valley and its youth population. Their program, San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME), trains future physicians to work with underserved communities, particularly those in the San Joaquin Valley. SJV PRIME is an innovative approach to training future physicians, a pathway that will emphasize the quality of care anchored in community-based research and educational experiences. The diversity of the San Joaquin Valley, including health systems, diverse patient populations, and broad community partnerships, is a core component of the effort to improve the health and health care of the region.
“We are sincerely grateful to the Central Valley Community Foundation and Anthem for supporting UCSF Fresno, particularly our efforts to train and retain future physicians in the region and expand access to health care in underserved areas,” said Kenny Banh, MD, assistant dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and Student Services, at UCSF Fresno. “The average medical student graduates with almost $200,000 in education-related debt. Funding for scholarships is vital to recruiting well-qualified students to the San Joaquin Valley PRIME. And support of our mobile clinic will provide a training opportunity for both medical students and undergraduate students at institutions such as UC Merced and Fresno State in addition to bringing health screenings to rural communities where they are needed most.”
The Central Valley Community Foundation has been a trusted partner in philanthropy in the Central Valley for more than 50 years. Our mission is to cultivate smart philanthropy, lead, and invest in solutions that build stronger communities.