Planned Parenthood

West and Northern Michigan

The Safer Choices Project

The Safer Choices Project provides young people with the information, skills, and support they need to develop healthy relationships; prevent early, unprotected intercourse and unintended pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV; and increase communication with their parents, guardians or other trusted adults.

What Teens are Saying (About the Safer Choices Project):

  • "It's my favorite class right now 'cuz the teachers make it so fun!"
  • "I think this program helped me with a lot. I am making better choices."
  • "Thank you for teaching me what's healthy in a relationship. My boyfriend tries to get me to have sex with him, now I know how to say 'no'!"
  • "This class really helped my relationship with my parents, partner and friends."

What Parents are Saying:

  • "This class can help teens make safer choices in the future, and hopefully it will lead to them living healthy lives."
  • "It helps our teens feel more comfortable with themselves and changes their perspective on the pressures of sex."
  • "It opened more communication skills between my daughter and me."
  • "Not all teens are comfortable talking to their parents regarding sexuality. It is important for them to learn how to make safer choices."

What Other Educators are Saying:

  • "This is the most comprehensive program that I have found in the area the information shared and the lack of judgment are unparalleled."
  • "I want to truly thank you for educating our students, in our schools and in our community. Honest education is empowering for everyone. I am so pleased with the advancement of our district. You are truly a gift to our community."

FAQs

Why is the Safer Choices Project Needed?

Studies, national and state data, and adolescents themselves document the need for accurate sexual health information, skill practice, safe learning environments, and consistent access to caring adults and community services. Numerous studies show that comprehensive sex education is effective at promoting both delays in sexual activity and protective behaviors for teens who do become sexually active.The statistics tell the story:

  • 9% of all births in Michigan are to females ages 15-19.
  • 41% of high school students and 54% of high school seniors in Michigan report having had sexual intercourse.
  • 61% of Michigan sexually active high school students used a condom during last intercourse.
  • 12% of Michigan boys and girls have been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • The teen birth rate in Michigan declined 44% between 1991 and 2008!
  • 267,366 teen births in Michigan cost taxpayers an estimated $7.6 billion from 1991-2008.
  • It is estimated that half of sexually active individuals will contract an STI by age 25.

(Sources:Office of Adolescent Health, "Adolescent Health Facts," data for 2010. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, State Profiles)

What are the Details?

PPWNM's Safer Choices Project is a 14-hour educational program for young people ages 12-19, focused on:

  • anatomy, physiology, and sexual health
  • communication, relationship, and abstinence skills
  • parent/teen interaction
  • birth control and STIs including HIV

Students who participate in the Safer Choices Project outside of their regular school hours receive a $25 gift card when they successfully complete all program requirements.

The Project includes a two-hour program for parents/guardians of enrolled students, aimed at improving communication between adults and their teens on the topic of sexual health. Parents/guardians who complete this program receive a Parent Toolkit featuring information, games, and tips to help further parent/child communication at home.

Who Can Participate?

PPWNM's Safer Choices Project is open to young people ages 12-19 in Kent and Muskegon counties.

Students must apply and be accepted into the program, and must agree to meet all requirements. Parents/guardians of students must sign the application, and agree to participate in the adult component of the program.

If you have a group of at least 12 young people we may be able to bring the Safer Choices Project to you! Call (616) 774-7005 or e-mail education@ppwnm.org to inquire.

How do I Apply?

Interested students must complete and submit an application to be considered for the program.

There are several ways to apply: You can download an editable pdf application for our program in Kent County or Muskegon County, fill it out electronically, and e-mail it to education@ppwnm.org.

Or, you can print the application and fill it out with ink. Then, mail it to the address at the top of the form, or scan or photograph it and e-mail to education@ppwnm.org.

You may also call (616) 774-7005 to request that an application be mailed to you. Or, stop in to our Administrative Headquarters at 425 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, to fill out an application.

Call (616) 774-7005 or e-mail education@ppwnm.org for program availability or more information.

Project Funding

The Safer Choices Project in Kent County is supported by the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).

The Safer Choices Project in Muskegon County is supported by The MDCH's Taking Pride in Prevention Initiative, and the Jean C. and Alex H. Homberger Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

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More Information for Teens

PPWNM has many resources for teens looking for answers to their questions about sexual health including:

  • healthy relationships
  • peer pressure
  • talking with parents
  • refusal and negotiation skills
  • birth control and STIs

Whether it's a personal question, information for a friend, or research for a school project, we can help. Please visit the For Teens page of our website to learn more.

More Information for Parents

PPWNM has many resources to aid parents in talking with their kids about sex and sexual health. We have learning tools available for purchase, and expert advice on our website from a variety of sources. Please visit the Resource Center and For Parents pages of this website to learn more.

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The Safer Choices Project