Core of Life (COL) is an innovative, 'hands on' pregnancy and parenting program for teens. This research is based on information about pregnancy birth, breastfeeding and early parenting to youth and the wider community.
COL comprises of teams of presenters including midwives and other youth/health/education and community representatives, delivering an education program about the journey to becoming a parent, utilising slide images, video, discussion and role play to portray real life.
COL also offers a training program for community members to assist them to be equipped in presenting the education program to all those in need within each of their regions.
As an extension to the initial COL program, a package of extra parenting modules has been developed. These modules utilise and guide trained COL facilitators, also trained as Baby in Mind Infant Massage Instructors, to provide 5 week baby massage and family wellbeing groups. Currently this activity is being offered on the Central Coast, NSW and is expanding to other regions.
COL is also committed to assisting the continuation and passing on of traditional Indigenous Womens’ business knowledge from one generation to the next. Simultaneously, it also facilitates cross cultural information sharing as a step towards recognition, respect and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non Indigenous groups within the community and stronger, healthier families and communities.
Finally, COL offers a variety of proven quality teaching resources to increase the effectiveness of this type of education to a variety of audiences.
The programs key aims being:
- Encourage increased self confidence in making informed decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health choices thus discouraging unplanned teenage pregnancy.
- Improve youth/community connectedness to support active engagement with available pregnancy and parenting support services.
- Foster positive pregnancy and parenting practices thus promoting improved child and family well being outcomes.
WHERE IT BEGAN
- COL was developed in 1999 on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria by midwives who were concerned about the minimal education available to teenagers and the wider community prior to pregnancy. Education that would assist them in making informed and responsible choices regarding the timing and journey to becoming a parent.
- Local schools and service providers were concerned and requested assistance in providing a user-friendly evidence-based education resource that could be used to offer information prior to pregnancy. School staff required a program which would firstly, help with encouraging their adolescents to make more informed and responsible decisions around their sexual decision-making and secondly, help with informing peers of young women/men who were to become teen parents to stay connected to the school community and not be so alienated.
- By 2002, COL had been integrated into the curriculum of around 25 high schools in the region.
- Following further philanthropic funding support from ANZ William Buckland Foundation, the program was shared across Victoria to areas identified as high need i.e. low socioeconomic and high teen birth rates.
- 2005 saw COL supported by the Commonwealth Department of Family and Housing and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to be introduced across Australia with a secondary focus on the Northern Territory in 2006.
So, consequently COL is now a program which is offered Nationally to support regions with improving access to quality information about the journey to parenthood.
Become involved in COL and help to build stronger, healthier, happier families.