Reality Works Program
Teen pregnancies and dropping out of high school are problems that stand in the way of a student’s ability to further their education, to gain meaningful employment and to be contributing members of our community.
Infant simulators are designed for students to take home over a weekend to experience the realities of life as a teen parent. The computer unit within the baby records the date and time of missed care events and any incidents of mishandling. Teachers retrieve the data from the babies when they are returned to school. After a weekend of caring for a baby, students recognize that parenting is a big commitment which they are unprepared for.
The babies come with a life-skills curriculum that is linked to National Family and Consumer Science Education teaching standards. The curriculum includes activities and assignments that focus on helping students to recognize the importance of setting goals, defining personal values, recognizing peer pressure, and the high cost of teen pregnancy. It provides a life-changing experience that affects the way students think about sexual activity and parenting.
In 1997, the Knox Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (KAPPI) purchased fifteen of the Realityworks Baby Think It Over infant simulators to use in Knox County Middle Schools. Funding for this project was provided by the Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance (KAMA), Knox County Health Department and two local churches.
Because student participation in the program continues to grow, teachers are requesting more babies. KAMA provided funding in 2007 to purchase 10 new infant simulators. In 2011 Knox County Schools and the Knox County Health Department purchased additional simulators. The program has reached thousands of Knox County middle school students over the years with important life-skills education.
For information contact:Cynthia Hudson
Knox Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Coordinator
Knox County Health Department