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The Anchorage Teen Council recently placed runner-up to the Humanitarian Spirit of Youth Award.

The award was given in recognition of Teen Council’s outreach and education work for the LGBTQ community. 
 
Anchorage Community Outreach Educator and Teen Council Facilitator Kelley Gerke, who nominated the group for the award, said, “While the runners-up are not being announced on the Spirit of Youth web page, it is still important to recognize and celebrate Teen Council’s accomplishment.” 
 
Anchorage Teen Council was recognized at the Spirit of Youth virtual awards ceremony in May and received a $500 reward to use towards their programming.  
 
Gerke said she is proud of Teen Council and all that they have accomplished, especially considering the social distancing and pandemic restrictions of this past year that largely prevented them from meeting in person
 
Teen Council has been one of Planned Parenthood’s most successful education programs. 
 
“For over twenty-five years, Teen Council has provided teen leaders with comprehensive, medically-accurate sexual health training, empowering them to become non-judgmental resources to their peers through both formal presentations and informal social interactions. This is an evidenced-informed program that increases communication, self-efficacy, and encourages health behavior in teens,” explained Gerke. 
 
Gerke reports that recently, Anchorage Teen Council completed 33 classroom presentations reaching 455 students. They also had 499 informal peer conversations with 554 individuals.  Most of this had to be done virtually, due to social distancing restrictions. 
 
Gerke said that the council’s work focused on addressing the stigma against the LGBTQ community this year.  
 
“They provide training that is inclusive and gender neutral in its delivery of information, and the group is an all-inclusive space that works towards building an inclusive community,” she said. “There is an overall lack of knowledge and awareness of sexual health topics in the Anchorage community. Teen Council works towards providing access to this vital information in an inclusive way for the whole Anchorage community.” 
 
Due to COVID-19, Teen Council was unable to make their annual Lobby Day trip to the state capitol to meet with legislators.  
 
However, in the fall of 2020, Teen Council members participated in a Get Out the Vote campaign, and collaboratively created two videos to engage votes. These were posted on the Anchorage Teen Council Instagram site.  
 
To support innovative and successful education programs that empower youth like Teen Council, please consider a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Tags: Alaska, comprehensive sex education, teen council