Volunteers helping teens make healthy choices
On a Friday afternoon middle school and high school students are lined up outside their teachers’ classrooms to begin a unique, weekend-long assignment: caring for a lifelike computerized infant. The teacher programs the infant to cry for various reasons and lengths of times. It is the student’s job to respond to the crying and figure out what he or she needs to do to comfort the baby. This care by the student is recorded by the computer chip inside the infant. Teachers download the information about the kind of care provided.
Baby Real Deal gives teens an eye opening experience about the realities of caring for a baby. Teenagers figure out that being a teen parent is not a good choice. Our volunteers support the work of these teachers by providing and maintaining the highly technical infant simulators.
One special volunteer opportunity for our members involves using three uniquely designed Realityworks® infants to give classroom presentations on the preventable causes of birth defects: fetal alcohol syndrome, drug-affected baby and the tragic results of shaking a baby. Helping to prevent these types of birth defects is a rewarding volunteer experience.
Teens Tell Us:
“I learned that having the baby is a big responsibility and it had a big effect on my life. I could no longer go out with my friends or see a movie because I had a loud baby.”
“Raising a baby is hard work…I can definitely wait until I’m older to have a baby.”
Teachers Tell Us:
“When Monday morning rolled around, the students were lined up at my door to return their “babies.” They were all exhausted and happy to turn them in!”
“As we begin our Family Life program, I think this is the first year we haven’t had a young lady pregnant in the class since I’ve been here in 13 years. This is good news. Pass it on.”
“Your presentation on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Shaken Baby Syndrome has a huge impact on students.”
In The News:
“The continuing decline in teen birthrates underscores the importance of teen pregnancy prevention programs. We must continue our work.” Dr. Ron Chapman, former director of California Department of Public Health.
An Assistance League of Inland North County member who chooses to participate in this program might do one or more of the following activities:
- Classroom presentations on the preventable causes of birth defects: fetal alcohol syndrome, drug-affected baby and the tragic results of shaking a baby using infant simulators.
- Cleaning babies to get them ready for the next school year.
- Making an inventory of simulators and ancillary equipment.