The state of Georgia is lending a helping hand to McDuffie County and its fight against teen pregnancy.
An after-school program called "Abstinence is the Best Choice" will be offered to McDuffie County children using a $52,374 federal grant.
The grant, awarded to the McDuffie County Board of Education, will allow school officials to teach abstinence and provide general character education, mentoring, tutoring and parent involvement, according to Dr. Pete Colbenson with the Children and Youth Coordinating Council (CYCC).
The program will benefit nearly 200 children ages 10-16 years old. According to McDuffie County school officials, the targeted group of students will be Thomson Middle School students.
In McDuffie County, 72 teenage girls became pregnant in 2002. That includes 31 who were between the ages of 15 and 17. In 2001, there were 84 teenage pregnancies; including five who were age 10 to 14, according to the Georgia Division of Public Health.
The grant was made available through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. It is one of five being used in the area to support youth prevention programs.