NOV. 1, 2000

CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456; mstepanovich@csub.edu




Grant to combat teen pregnancy in Kern County


A California State University, Bakersfield professor has received a $450,000 grant from the California Wellness Foundation in Woodland Hills to combat the continuing teen-pregnancy problem in Kern County.

Vandana Kohli, a professor in CSUB's Department of Anthropology and Sociology, received the grant, which will provide $150,000 each year for three years.

The grant will do two things, Kohli said:

It will match CSUB students with at-risk high school students and involve them in a well-rounded mentoring program. The program will include participation in such things as plays, sports camps, artistic endeavors and self-esteem building. Many of the activities will be held on the CSUB campus, and while students are on campus they will be introduced to the many cultural and academic opportunities the university has to offer. "We anticipate that this will improve these students' chances of continuing their education here at CSUB, and enhancing the quality of their lives," Kohli said.

Collaborate closely with Clinica Sierra Vista to expand and enhance programs aimed at preventing unwanted teen pregnancy.

"Kern County has the highest pregnancy rate among teens under age 15 in the entire state of California," Kohli said. "And, according to a recent study by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Bakersfield is identified as a hot-spot for teen pregnancy. The reasons involve a combination of variables having to do with low socio-economic status, low education, single-parent households and residential instability.

"I feel that CSUB should be taking a leadership role in this initiative because CSUB, as a regional university, has a responsibility to the health and wellbeing of the residents in its service region," Kohli continued. "By helping these young people, we can ensure they continue their education and thus maximize their chances for self-actualization."

For more information about the program funded by the grant, please call Kohli at 661/664-2390, or e-mail her at vkohli@csub.edu.