By Alex Cate
Pam Houston feels a since of duty in helping affect change in the young people around her.
“My mom used to always tell me that whatever you can find for your hands to do—do it,” Houston said.
So when an alarming statistic came out about teen pregnancies in Memphis public schools, Houston, director of special events and director of community affairs at the UT Health Science Center, sprang into action by helping organize a conference, in partnership with the Shelby County Health Department, to educate students on the “411 on Sex.”
The conference started small in 2011 but has grown into a day-long forum attended by more than 200 students and their parents each year. UTHSC students talk to teens in small groups, and parents meet with staff and physicians to learn better ways to support their children and create a dialogue about sexual health.
“We talk to them in a real way on a real level that they can identify with about sexual behavior,” Houston said. “We have to start by arming young people with the facts.”
In addition to focusing on sexual health awareness, Houston also has helped create an internship program within the Memphis school system to expose students to professional development and job opportunities.
“If you can change their mind on what they believe they can be, you can change their mind about the decisions they’re making today,” she said. “I’m just blessed to be in this role to do something about it.”Tags: Community