About the Collaboration
It's Your Future (IYF) is a five-year project that is part of a broader county initiative called Better Together Hennepin: Healthy Communities — Healthy Youth. The broader initiative focuses on providing four key supports that help to prevent teen pregnancy:
- Comprehensive sexuality education
- Access to reproductive health services
- Connections to caring adults
- Healthy youth development opportunities
IYF is funded by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. IYF and Better Together Hennepin are both based in Hennepin County’s Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD). IYF implements two evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs: Safer Sex Intervention (SSI)1 and TOP.2
Both of these interventions involve significant collaboration between Hennepin County’s HSPHD (the OAH grantee) and its partners, including local government offices, non-profit organizations, and school districts. HSPHD works with every school district in its service area, as well as with community-based organizations and community- and hospital-based clinics. As part of the broader initiative, HSPHD also partners with the county’s Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation to incorporate evidence-based prevention programming in the local juvenile detention center and with the County Home School (which is designed for youth who have been adjudicated for a longer period of time). See the full list of IYF collaboration partners. IYF’s wealth of collaborative relationships is consistent with OAH’s emphasis on the development of local strategic partnerships, which is included as a key factor in its Sustainability Resource Guide (PDF, 170 pages).
Youthprise, a local foundation that champions learning beyond the classroom, is a fiscal sponsor of the overall Better Together Hennepin initiative. Youthprise created a restricted fund into which Hennepin County puts money. Youthprise matches those dollars. This process of matching of funds is anticipated to continue. In addition, the foundation partners with the initiative to develop a strategy for better aligning its funding sources and leveraging additional funding (see Mapping of Resources in the Promising Practices section of this profile).
Efforts from IYF and the broader initiative incorporate the voices of youth and provide opportunities for youth leadership. For example, TOP students at a local school (Brooklyn Center High School) sponsored a 5K walk/run in May 2014 to raise community awareness about healthy youth development, including teen pregnancy prevention. Students planned all of the activities for the event, including coordinating with other student groups, the police department, and local businesses. More than 150 people walked or ran the route. The fact that this event originated with youth was attractive to adults in the community and increased the visibility and positive impact of prevention programming.
1 SSI is a clinic-based program that helps the project stakeholders to fulfill two of the four key supports in the broader initiative: access to reproductive health services and connections to caring adults. SSI is an intervention in which 13- to 19-year-old females who are sexually active, participate in one-on-one sessions with a trained health educator. IYF implements SSI in 17 clinics in eight cities (including Minneapolis and its suburbs) that have the highest teen pregnancy birth rates in Hennepin County.
2 TOP is a service learning project that fulfills the following key supports in the broader initiative: connections to caring adults and healthy youth development opportunities. TOP is a nine-month program (with multiple iterations), so facilitators can develop long-term relationships with participants. Each replication is called a “club.” In 2015, 111 TOP clubs are being implemented in 28 schools in the eight cities with the highest teen pregnancy birth rates.