Madison County teens have a new place to go to get information on almost any issue they may face in today’s society.
Teen Matters, a new free service provided by the Madison County Health Department, is designed to promote the health and well-being of teenagers ages 11 through 18.
Nurse practitioner Wanda Strickland and program associate Lynne Sartain staff the new facility, which opened Aug. 4 in its own building at 51 Sam Groves Street in Danielsville. Regular center hours are Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. and no appointment is necessary.
Strickland and Sartain said the clinic served 13 teens during its first week of operation.
And though the clinic serves teenagers, parents are always welcome to visit.
“We want to provide a positive service to the community,” county nurse manger Pam Smith said.
“All conversations at the clinic are ‘teen-led’ conversations,” Strickland said. “I try to meet them where they are.”
Strickland says it’s easy for teens to become discouraged and quit school, because of bullying, low self-esteem and other issues.
“I have a passion for these kids, I want to see them get their diploma or their GED and continue their education because education is the key out of poverty,” Strickland said.
“If you don’t finish school you limit yourself so much,” Sartain agreed.
Teen Matters provides a myriad of confidential services including sports physicals, abstinence education, health education, nutrition and exercise advice for weight loss, tobacco, alcohol and drug counseling, testing and treatment for STD infections, immunizations for Hepatitis A, B and HPV, birth control/condoms, HIV testing and pregnancy testing.
There are dozens of brochures on almost any subject, as well as videos and other educational materials.
Strickland says when counseling a teen about birth control, she talks with them about abstinence first, followed by the risks of sexual activity including STDs and pregnancy. She said she uses these conversations as an avenue to provide education and information.
“Most teens have the mindset that it won’t happen to me,” Smith said.
Smith said they began working on the idea for the Teen Matters facility in Madison County in February, following the example of two clinics in Athens-Clarke County. The clinic is funded through county health department funds.
Teen Matters will hold a community open house on Tuesday, August 26, from 3 – 6:30 p.m. (There will also be a drawing for chance to win a free iPod.)
For more information on Teen Matters, call the Madison County Health Department at 706-795-2131 or Teen Matters at 706-795-2506, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org