Rowan students to share sex facts

Rowan students to share sex facts

By GENE VERNACCHIO, Courier-Post Staff

GLASSBORO--Members of a Rowan University fraternity are set to give dozens of area black and Hispanic students some very frank facts on the consequences of unwanted pregnancies.

More than 120 middle and high school students from Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cumberland counties are expected to participate in Alpha Phi Alpha's " Project Alpha 2001" here today.

"This is a program aimed at teen decision-making, particularly where it relates to sexual decision-making," said Bill Myers, Rowan's assistant dean of student services and South Jersey area director for Alpha Phi Alpha. "It's unique in that we take it from the male perspective."

Myers said the fraternity's five chapters from across South Jersey, both college and alumni, are joining as part of the program.

Experts will address specific themes to the teens during today's conference - responsibility, respect and the role of males in relationships; adolescentpregnancy and fatherhood; sexually transmitted diseases and responsibility and the law.

"We want them to address critical issues early, in terms of how males relate to themselves and especially women. I'm talking about the treatment of their sisters and mothers and girlfriends who could someday be their wives," Myers said.

According to New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services' Center for Health Statistics, minority teen birth rates continue to be higher than those of white females.

The birth rate for 15- to 19-year-old black females was 82 per every 1,000 births in the state during 1998, which is the latest statistic available. The Hispanic birth rate in 1998 of females 15 to 19 years old was 75.7. In contrast, the birth rate for white females in the same age range was 13.1 for every 1,000 births.

Dino Fontaine, 21, a Rowan business administration major and member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said the topic is one the fraternity sees as important because of the disproportional number of minority teen births.

"We're trying to help young people like us," he said. "... Of course, I don't expect an immediate response. This is something that will take some time. But we want them to be aware and know the consequences of having sex at a young age."

Fontaine said he thinks the teenagers might be receptive to the message the fraternity is sending, since it's coming from young men who are close to their ages.

Myers said a panel of experts is expected to address the teens, including representatives of the Philadelphia-based group Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues.

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Date Published: Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 01:00
Source URL: Courier-Post