More than 40 adults came together Monday evening to talk about ways to help support and nurture Marlboro County teens.
It was part of the Tea Talk sponsored Tea Time with Teens and Fact Forward (formerly known as the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy) to help adults to discuss issues that impact teens.
Asiya Jones, who was part of the program, said those issues were love, sex, and relationships.
“Teens are challenged each day with issues,” she said. “Many do not have trusting adults who they can confide in and speak with.”
Jones encouraged those in the room to be those adults and provide information to them. The goal of the program was to have them as caring adults to reflect on ways to support teens in the community.
Rev. Judith Knox, the pastor of Trinity UMC who provided the invocation and other blessings, was glad to see so many adults there.
“And you are willing to serve and help our young people make good decisions so they can do what is good, pleasing and right,” she said.
The event was to provide a setting to help adults know how to communicate with young people about love, sex, relationships, and other topics.
Attendees were seated at various tables and had a chance to do an activity together.
Educator Portia Clare did a 45-minute activity to demonstrate how to “Build a Teen” Tea Talk.
It involved role-playing scenarios to allow adults to see different issues from the perspective of a teenager.
She hoped after everyone completed the role-play that they recognized how vulnerable teens can be and what can be done to empower them.
“What we are trying to do is help them stand on their own feet no matter what happens,” she said. “Words matter. It is not only what you say matters but how you say it matters.”
Wendy Woods, who works with Tea Time for Teens in Clio for 10 years, said it is about building teens up and not tearing them down.
“At the end of the day, these teens need encouragement and nonjudgement,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is about building the community.”
Rep. Patricia Henegan talked to attendees about the importance of voting and participating in the 2020 Census.
She quoted Marian Wright Edelman, “People who don’t vote have no line of credit with people who are elected and thus pose no threat to those who act against our interests.”
Henegan asked people to get out to vote and encourage others to do so.
Another issue she was concerned about was the 2020 Census. During the last Census, one million people in the state did not participate.
The Census data is used to determine how the federal government decides how much funding to give states, counties, and cities; used to draw district boundaries; and determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
CareSouth talked about various services offered to teens and adults.
Near the end of the event, a video presentation created by Shaquita Pegues, showed Tea Time for Teens since it started in 2009.
Marian R. David, founder of Tea Time for Teens, said if everyone could, they would protect teens from the storms and the rain.
“The truth is that the hurricanes will come into their lives,” she said. “They are going to go through challenges but what we can do is build them up the best we can.”