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Health officials announce dual teen efforts

JONESBORO — Clayton County teenagers will get to navigate a maze of sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy, incarceration, employment and death next week.

The Clayton County Board of Health announced it will host a Teen Maze Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Riverdale Centre, 7210 Church St., in Riverdale. The maze is designed to illustrate the pressures and choices teenagers face on a daily basis.

Board of Health spokesman Joel Hall said the maze is free and open to teenagers between 12 and 19.

“The scenes portrayed will be different, depending on the paths to which teens are assigned, and youth counselors will open a dialogue with teens at the culmination of the maze about what they have witnessed,” said Hall. People can call (678) 545-2236 for additional information.

Hall also said the Board of Health is looking for community partners to work with teens through its Clayton County Soar to the Top program. The program was launched last year with a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health.

Teens who participate in the program meet in small groups to discuss issues facing their age group, ranging from sexual health, to decision making. Partners are organizations who work with teens on a regular basis.

Hall said groups who want to partner with the program will be evaluated in September and selected organizations will receive financial support from the Board of Health.

Organizations that want to participate in the program must:

• Have a passion for working with teenagers.

• Provide services for teenagers.

• Offer youth development programs.

• Provide at least 15 teenagers to meet with a program facilitator once a week.

• Offer community service opportunities for teens.

• Provide transportation to teens.

• Provide a safe setting for teens.