Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
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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