By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
The Temple Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Leadership Council (HLC) announced its strategic plan for 2007 as John Alaniz passed the gavel to Jodi Lane-Vazquez, incoming president.
'Our special project is to reduce teen pregnancy rates this year,' said Alaniz, the council's outgoing president, during the its Jan. 19 meeting.
'The Hispanic Leadership Council calls for abstinence in the youth of our community.'
This statement segued into the introduction of HLC's new partnership with the Scott and White Worth the Wait Program.
The Worth the Wait Program has the goal of educating youth on the health benefits of abstinence until marriage.
Program activities are designed to help young people set limits in sexual activity as well as to understand the difference between risk avoidance, risk reduction and ways to reject sexual advances.
Organization leadership said this partnership will help HLC meet its goal to achieve a 2 percent reduction in pregnancy rates among Hispanic females between the ages of 13 and 17.
Lamar Collins from the Scott and White Worth the Wait Program discussed the issue of teen sex with the 30 HLC members who attended the Jan. 19 meeting at the Temple Chamber of Commerce.
'Intelligent young ladies who are pregnant often have to choose between child and education, so 80 percent of them end up in poverty,' Collins said. 'Parents are the solution.
'Tell your child 'I love you, that's why I don't want you having sex.' As parents avoid the subject of sex, children look to the media for direction.'
The new HLC president, Mrs. Lane-Vazquez, agreed the sex subject needs to be broached.
'The mentoring should start in early school years and continue through college,' Mrs. Lane-Vazquez said.
Future meetings and findings from various committees will determine the HLC's success in its objective.
Other goals this year for the HLC include:
* To develop and support visible servant leaders within the Hispanic community.
* To bridge the gap of educational opportunities that exist in the Hispanic community.
* To promote and support new and existing Hispanic owned businesses.
* To promote the awareness of healthy lifestyles, spiritual well-being and positive mental health within the Hispanic community.
In his last moments as HLC president, Alaniz shared these closing remarks.
'Don't wait for anyone to give you anything,' Alaniz said. 'You have what God has given you. Use it and succeed.'