Erin P.

Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition staff member Erin Petrie works everyday to help make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged teens in the region. Erin oversees the Coalition’s teen health initiatives and supervises a federal grant that expands the 4Me Teen Health Project, which includes comprehensive sex education classes for teenagers in nine different sites in the community including Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

“I think it has a really great impact on the community,” Erin said.

The program is a series of workshop-style meetings in which teens 12-18 years of age will learn about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections and learn why it is important to set personal goals. The project also advocates healthy relationship building between teens and their parents by providing workshops for parents and provides a teen leadership council for those teens that want to continue on in the program.

With the help of the grant, the 4Me Teen Health Project is extending its arms to provide sex education to teens in more urban and suburban low-income areas by partnering with other local service programs. The project hopes to prevent early STI contractions in teens and to abridge the number of early pregnancies.

Erin has worked on staff for the Coalition for more than four years now. Prior to joining the staff, starting in January 2008, she served 10 ½ months at the Coalition as part of the national service program, AmeriCorps. As an AmeriCorps member, she conducted outreach for Florida KidCare, the state children’s health insurance program. Before taking over the teen pregnancy activities, she oversaw provider outreach for the Healthy Start program and staffed community initiatives. As one who has worked to help create a brighter future for families, Erin strongly believes in the care the Coalition provides to women.

“It’s a holistic view of the woman,” she said. “It’s not just focused on the medical issues when they are pregnant.”