Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to dine out with 2 iconic women I grew up adoring – Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin! They held a special Empower Party here in Atlanta where they shared some information about an organization called The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (or GCAPP).
What is GCAPP?
“All children are entitled to a safe and healthy adolescence characterized by hope, respect and opportunity for a productive future.”
The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP) was founded in 1995 by the one and only Jane Fonda with the purpose of addressing the high number of young girls getting pregnant throughout the state of Georgia. I had no idea if this beforehand, but these were some alarming stats I learned in regards to teen pregnancy in Georgia:
- Georgia has the 17th highest teen birth rate in the nation.
- 19.5 percent of all births among teens ages 15-19 years old were repeat births.
- Three in ten girls in the U.S. become pregnant at least once before age 20; that’s over 750,000 teen pregnancies a year.
- Teen pregnancy costs Georgia taxpayers $395 million a year.
- Approximately two-thirds of teen mothers never finish high school and are more likely to end up on public assistance than those who have children later.
- Only 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22.
- Only 2% of teen mothers finish college.
In the past year, with the help of GCAPP, teen birth rates have decreased by 10%!
As a mother of 2 daughters myself, I find it particularly important even now to begin educating my children about healthy relationships – intimate or otherwise. While my mother’s approach to all of this leaned more towards scaring the living death out of me if I got too close to a boy, I can appreciate that GCAPP has tons of resources for teens and parents, which enable young people to make smart decisions and to help make the dreaded sex talk not so scary for parents.
GCAPP’s vision encompasses the idea that Through elements such as teen pregnancy prevention, physical activity & nutrition, healthy relationships, GCAPP is committed to bettering our youth.
2016 Empower Party
The 2016 Empower Party I attended is an annual event and fundraiser held to help bring awareness of G-CAPP and raise the necessary funds to help finance and grow the initiatives of the organization that touches so many lives. Some Platinum and Gold Sponsors of the event include the following:
- Atlanta Charity Clays
- Cox Enterprises
- Legendary Events
- Everywhere Social Media Agency
- Georgia Crown Distributing Co.
- Untitled Entertainment
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were so incredible inspiring (and hilarious), reminding us of the fact that we’ve all got to step outside of our own bubbles to help our community. In case you ever wondered, the sheer comedy and chemistry between the 2 of them is truly as authentic as it can be!
Some of the speakers included a 17 year old peer educator and first generation Nigerian-American, sharing her story of feeling like an outsider at times when facing the disconnect that stems from the difference in cultural values. I immediately thought about my life growing up as a first generation Liberian-American where the conversation with your parents about teen sex and prevention was as simple as, “Don’t You DARE!”
Another touching story came from a teacher who shared a story of one of her students who became a teen mom and was so determined to excel she went so far as to request and complete all of her assignments while on maternity leave, returned to school, but then unfortunately had to quit permanently after winter break because she could not find childcare. Heartbreaking!
Just some celebrity supporters who were in attendance last night included Julius Erving (Dr. J), Keshia Knight Pulliam, and CeeLo Green.
We had a blast participating in a live auction for some incredible prizes, including an experience on the set of Grace and Frankie, VIP access and tickets to the AMAs, an Ellen DeGeneres and Conan O’Brien VIP package, and many more! Throughout the course of the evening, GCAPP raised over 1 million dollars!
Lastly, Suzanne Malveaux interviewed Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin about their passion behind GCAPP, as well as their hilarious new Netflix series, Grace and Frankie and how its recurring themes of female empowerment, sexuality, and self-discovery tie into the core work of the organization.
PS. If you haven’t seen Grace and Frankie yet, it’s certainly binge-worthy. We even got an exclusive look at some of the hilarious outtakes from Grace and Frankie.
*For more information and resources about The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, visit http://gcapp.org/resources.
I received a ticket to the Empower Party, thanks to the non-profit, GCAPP and Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.