Message from Nicole Dallas

Do you know what stands out the most in my 12 years with Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood? You.

Your support helps make sure that local middle and high school students know how HIV is transmitted. With your support, young people learn how to have healthy relationships, and share that information with their friends. Your donation makes sure they understand positive choices, like not having sex until they're ready, then practicing safer sex. You give them a healthy future.

Sadly, Planned Parenthood's opposition works nonstop to try to prevent us from providing exceptional services, honest education and fearless advocacy. In some states, students receive abstinence-only education. In that environment, rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections skyrocket.

It's easy to think that New York State is immune to threats against medically accurate sex education. We're not. But together, we can prevent it. That's why your continued support is so critical.

I'm a Youth Program Facilitator with Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood's Education team. Twelve years ago, my older sister was a peer educator with S.T.A.R.S. (Seriously Talking About Responsible Sex) in Columbia County. She was a source of confidential, medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education for her peers.

Then, I interviewed to become a peer educator at Planned Parenthood. I had one minute to respond to a topic written on a piece of paper. Some topics were a breeze, like "explain how to tie your shoes." My topic was "share everything you know about HIV."

I panicked. I knew nothing about HIV. And I was a terrible public speaker. After fumbling my way through my presentation, I thought I'd never be asked to be a peer educator. I was devastated. But I was wrong.

Today, I'm a confident professional and remain a resource for my friends and my students. Your donation supports hundreds of discussions about responsible options, from postponing sex to practicing safer sex. Your donation also allows UHPP to provide condoms for free, to offer patients our health services at a cost they can afford, and to everyone who needs it. That's huge!

Over the years, you've made sure that my colleagues and I teach in hundreds of local classrooms, hold hundreds of weekly Teen Clinics, and teach hundreds of S.T.A.R.S. students. You also ensure that we are able to take students to visit colleges like UAlbany, Bard College and Hudson Valley Community College.

When they join the S.T.A.R.S. program, many students think college is for someone else; not for them. But the college visits open their eyes. They see themselves graduating and starting careers they love, like I have. When they believe in a bright future, making responsible choices gets easier.

My friends, students and I are lucky. UHPP is here for us because you are here for UHPP. Together, our impact is enormous. The ripple effects of our work now will be felt for generations to come.

Your donation today is vital. Thousands of young people need Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, so they can learn about safer sex and access basic health services. Please consider making a monthly gift to ensure lasting impact, and to show them how important they are to you.

I tell my students Planned Parenthood is here, no matter what. Thank you for making that possible!

Nicole Dallas, UHPP Youth Program Facilitator
Nicole Dallas
Youth Program Facilitator
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood

Click here to make a donation to UHPP now (be sure to select "Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood" from the drop-down menu), or click here for information on other ways to give.


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