By Kate Atwood

Meet one of Atlanta’s biggest champions for girls and young women.  Vikki Millender-Morrow is a mom, a community activist, and the new CEO of G-CAPP (Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.)

This month she shares with Living by Giving about her new job, taking on a complex issue in our culture, and how she would like the world to be different for the next generation.

Congratulations on your new position as president and CEO of G-CAPP.  Can you share a little about your primary responsibilities?

Foremost, my responsibility is to make sure G-CAPP has the resources to continue its crucial work so that Georgia is no longer one of the states with one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, but one of the states in the bottom third.  Reaching this goal requires that G-CAPP is financially sound, is strategic in its public and private partnerships, and effective and efficient in its programs and services.

Tell us a little about the progress of G-CAPP’s mission in the past 16 years to help prevent adolescent pregnancy.

Georgia is one of the top 10 states in the country to experience significant drops in teen birth rates. But while there continues to be progress, teen pregnancy still remains an epidemic in Georgia.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in your mission to prevent teen pregnancy in Georgia?

One of our biggest challenges is the subject matter itself. Teen pregnancy is very often a complex and under-appreciated issue and it’s one of the toughest social issues in Georgia. People need to understand that it’s not just a reproductive health issue and often times it’s not just about sex. Poverty, the high school dropout rate, workforce development and fragile families are all inextricably linked to teens becoming parents too soon. Teen pregnancy related issues cost Georgia taxpayers more than $465 million annually. We all pay one way or another.

From Girls Inc. to G-CAPP, your Living by Giving passion is clearly centered on helping girls and young women. What motivates you around this cause?

I’ve long had an unwavering passion for working with girls and women and am grateful to have had the opportunity at Girls Inc. and now G-CAPP. I would say that it was probably triggered by being one of the few female engineering students in undergrad. There were few mentors. Too many girls from an early age aren’t nurtured, mentored or encouraged to reach their full potential which has created something of a crisis of confidence for so many young girls.  I believe simply mentoring girls and women can be the great equalizer in many ways, whether it’s a young girl just reaching adolescent, or the astute professional navigating her way through corporate America.

You have chosen to use your career as a way to give back, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “what is your Living by Giving dream?” How would you most like to see the world changed in the next 10-20 years?

I’m a mom first. And as a mother I would like to see the world put a premium on children. Children everywhere deserve a loving environment, opportunities, and hope for a better future.

Can you share a little about what you all have coming up in October around the premiere of Jane Fonda’s new movie, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding?

This is going to be one exciting event. Atlanta doesn’t get many movie premieres, let alone as a fundraiser. From the VIP Reception, to the red carpet, to some of the most phenomenal live auction items, and the film itself, we’re expecting Atlanta to turn out for an opportunity to experience an unforgettable, fun, one-of-a-kind evening for a good cause.  We’re so grateful to have our founder, Jane [Fonda] and her influence to bring the premiere to Atlanta as a G-CAPP benefit.

For more information on G-CAPP and the upcoming movie premiere, visit gcapp.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.