Governed by an elected Board of Directors, the Council on Adolescents of Catawba County was incorporated in 1986 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Council was created by a group of homemakers and the health educator from the Health Department to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in Catawba County. In the last 25 years, the Council’s focus was expanded to include educational interventions against tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use. Currently, programs are exclusive to puberty and teen pregnancy prevention education programs. The majority of funding during the Council's 25 years of existence has come primarily from grants: state grant programs, local foundations, and larger NC foundations, and private donations.
The Council's main educational initiative is in the area of comprehensive sexuality education, as required by the Healthy Youth Act, and encouraging abstinence-until marriage. Our programs are integrated, sequential, age-appropriate, medically accurate, and interactive. Our target populations are adolescents between the ages of 10-18 in Catawba County. Through in-school education programs, we teach healthy alternatives to risky behaviors. In 2011, we served approximately 7,500 5th - 9th graders in Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, Concordia Christian Day School, St. Stephens Lutheran School and University Christian High School.
Our newest initiative, the "Lunch Buddy Program" is a mentoring program that serves at-risk adolescents in Catawba County. This mentoring program is designed to help reach students who meet the criteria of potentially dropping out of school. Our agency recruits and train volunteer mentors and works with three school systems to match identified students with appropriate mentors. The Lunch Buddy Program helps create healthy attitudes and behavior in youth and provides them with a positive adult mentor that meets with them on a regular, scheduled weekly basis.