01 Aug Stories from ICAH’s Youth Sexuality Education Residencies
By Tess Levin, Education Intern.
This year has been an amazing one for ICAH’s sexuality education program. Our peer led programs and our FYI performance-based workshops have reached over 3,300 young people! Our sex-ed programs, crafted by both adult facilitators and peer educators, promote ICAH’s theory of change, promoting #NoShame, #SafeSpace, #YouthVoice, #AdultAllies, #HealthAccess, and of course, #SexEdSaves. We are especially proud of our long-term residencies that range anywhere from 5 to 32 sessions and really do contribute to the best health outcomes for youth. Our own evaluations have shown that longer-term programming increases knowledge retention and comfort in being able to apply the skills gained, and we would like to share 2 stories that demonstrate just that.
For many young people, beginning sexuality education can be scary, since we often don’t have a #SafeSpace to have these important conversations in. This was especially true for one of our high school participants in a student re-engagement program at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, where ICAH was providing a long-term sexual health and sexual violence prevention residency. At first, this student felt very skeptical about discussing sex in school at all, but after some trust had been developed across multiple workshops, he felt empowered to participate. He led a role-play scenario about how he would talk to his parents about his questions about sex and ask a doctor for accurate health information. Workshop activities like this focus on #NoShame communication and amplify #YouthVoice, so that students like him feel comfortable and empowered to advocate for themselves despite feeling hesitant before. At the end of this residency, this young person answered the question, “How have you changed as a result of these workshops?” by saying that he now “can have serious conversations with my partner.” Hearing that the information learned will actually be used in this young person’s life is exactly how we know that our #SexEdSaves.
The creative and empowering energies of our workshops have also created deep trust between the students and facilitator, and have even inspired some amazing ideas from participants. Near the end of a long-term sexual health and sexual violence prevention residency for middle school students at Mays Elementary, the young people communicated that they wanted to be alone with the ICAH facilitators in order to have the most full-disclosure, #SafeSpace conversations that they could because of the strong relationship the facilitators built with them. The class continued to engage more deeply and even decided to create a skit themselves for this program’s commencement ceremony to show everyone what they had learned from ICAH. This is an amazing display of the #YouthVoice leadership, knowledge production, and empowerment that our sexuality-education program strives for!
Bring our innovative and effective programming to your young people! For youth programming contact Sarah Bernstein, Youth Education Specialist, at Sarah@icah.org. For general education information and adult professional development, contact Aisha Chaudhri, Education Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-646-ICAH (4224).