Received by: Michele Reiner (right) and volunteer Cynthia Tucker
Sponsored by: You, the Viewers
In Georgia, the rate of teen pregnancy is one of the highest in the country. But in one Atlanta neighborhood, the teen pregnancy rate has been cut by two thirds—largely because of Cool Girls.
Reaching Out to At-Risk Girls Cool Girls is dedicated to breaking the cycle of teen pregnancy and poverty, and helping girls achieve academic success. The goal is to develop sexual decision-making skills, promote leadership, increase access to technology, and expose the girls to world outside their neighborhoods.
Newspaper columnist Cynthia Tucker has been a volunteer with Cool Girls for more than a decade. "If you can stop a girl from getting pregnant at 14, 15, 16 years old, she's much more likely to finish high school, at least consider college, to get a good job and to delay motherhood."
What makes the program unique is that it introduces girls to everything from business and technology to travel and the arts. Michele Reiner is the Executive Director. "We reach the whole girl, not just a piece of the girl. We are looking at her brain, her emotions. The thing that we give them the most is the power to dream and the power to know that they can achieve those dreams."
At the heart of Cool Girls is its one-on-one mentoring program, Cool Sisters. Cynthia Tucker became a mentor 10 years ago to Tiara; now she is also sharing her heart with Tiara's little sister, Ivy. Volunteers like Cynthia who bring these girls into their hearts and their lives are the key to Cool Girls' success.
The Results For the last 12 years, Cool Girls has had dramatic results. Not one active member of Cool Girls has become pregnant, and 100% of them have stayed in school. A study done by a local university showed that girls involved with Cool Girls had better self-esteem, more knowledge about their bodies, and were more likely to stay in school than peers who did not participate in the program. In 1996, Cool Girls received the Thurgood Marshall Freedom Award for excellence in non-profit organizations. Cool Girls has started a scholarship fund for graduates of the program attending college. The first Cool Girl just graduated from college, and there are several attending college now.