iii Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson Introduction L ove Notes builds skills and knowledge for healthy and successful relationships with partners, family, friends, and co-workers. It is designed to empower young people by developing their skills and confidence for making wise choices for their relationships and intimate lives—ones that will assist them in achieving their education, employment, relationship, and family goals. This program may be especially helpful for teens and young adults who are at risk for poor quality relationships, unplanned pregnancies, and for those who are expecting or parenting. That said, all of the content of Love Notes is relevant to any young person. The communication skills and self-awareness components of Love Notes are key to all kinds of relationships in life. For example, these soft skills increase successful and cooperative interactions in school or in the workplace. Employers report that soft skills are vital for the success of young people entering the workforce. Love Notes also represents an innovative approach to STIs, pregnancy, and intimate partner violence prevention within the context of a positive youth development approach. These goals, typically addressed in separate programs, are integrated and embedded into one comprehensive healthy relationship skills program. This comprehensive approach was selected by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a 5-year evaluation. Love Notes was put on the HHS Office of Adolescent Health’s (OAH) list of Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs. In this federally funded, 5-year random control trial conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville, those participating in Love Notes were 46% less likely to have a pregnancy as compared to those in the control group. It also achieved four other outcomes: increased use of contraception and condoms, a greater number who remained abstinent, less recent sexual activity, and less frequency of sexual activity. These outcomes are impressive, especially so since the target audience for the study was vulnerable teens. 21% had been or were in and out of home care, 82% were low income, 16.6% were LGBTQ, 9.3% were refugees, and 88% were African American.1
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