TOPS Program

TOPS Program
Posted on 02/23/2023

Teen Outreach Program: Health Program for Teens in Our Community
By: Kim Costley, Teacher at Mexico Public Schools

The Missouri Teen Pregnancy Prevention program (MOTPP), offered by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), seeks to reduce teenage pregnancy, encourage healthy relationships, and empower youth across the state, including here in the Mexico community.

Teens in our community have participated in the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) curriculum since 2016. The program prepares middle and high school students to develop healthy relationships, build self-esteem and self-awareness, and create a sense of purpose and empowerment through peer learning, facilitated lesson plans, and collective service to the community. Through lessons on problem-solving, goal-setting, and healthy relationships, the TOP program nation-wide has lowered the likelihood of teen pregnancy, risky sexual behaviors, course failure, and rates of truancy in school. 

While MOTPP is administered by DHSS, schools, health departments, and nonprofits implement the program, including Mexico School District. This year there are 77 students enrolled. These students are a part of three different clubs, each led by program facilitators from the schools. At Mexico Middle, Kim Costley, Lauren Merz, Kira Krebill, Jennifer Pascoe, and Daniel Nunnelly facilitate the TOPs program; at Mexico High School, Jennifer Warbritton and Drew Widaman assist. 

Finally, community service learning is a major focus of TOP. The clubs have volunteered many hours of service to the community, including making blankets for foster children, visiting nursing homes, helping out at elementary school family events, helping teachers prepare for MAP testing, serving dinner at parent/teacher conferences, packing blessing bags of toiletries and other personal items that were donated to the Help Center, putting together Halloween treat bags for community events, and making dog treats and preparing adoption kits for the animal shelter.  You may have also seen us ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Moser’s and Wal-Mart. 

This program is teaching students how to not only take care of themselves, but is teaching them how to take care of their community.  Contact Kim Costley at [email protected] if you have questions or you have a community service project for future teens.