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WORCESTER—The Fallon/OrNda Community Health Fund of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation has awarded Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) a $12,500 grant to support the work it’s doing to encourage young people to learn about their sexual health and empower parents to become their children’s go-to resource.

The grant will enable PPLM’s peer education program, Get Real Teen Council, and its parent education programs, Let’s Be Honest and Seamos Honestos, to reach more young people and families in Central Massachusetts.

“Too often, young people and parents don’t know where to turn for accurate, non-judgmental information about sex and sexuality, or they are unsure how to start to such conversations. Thanks to the generous support of the Fallon/OrNda Community Health Fund of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, PPLM will be better equipped to provide young people the information they need to stay healthy and plan their futures and to offer parents guidance for initiating open, honest conversations with their children,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of PPLM.

High schools students in the Get Real Teen Council lead workshops for their peers on sexual health and healthy relationships, and collaborate with community partners on public health campaigns to encourage STD testing and treatment. In the last year, Get Real Teen Council members educated 1,000 teens, young adults, and others through workshops and through one-on-one conversations in and around Worcester. Let’s Be Honest and Seamos Honestos offer English and bilingual Spanish/English workshops that teach parents how to communicate with their children about sex and relationships. Nearly 1,000 parents in the Worcester area have benefited from these sex education workshops in the past year.

Worcester faces higher rates of teen births and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than many other communities in the state. With the support of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, these programs will be able to connect more people with the resources they need and reach communities who face barriers to education and care, including Latino and LGBTQ teens who are disproportionately impacted by unintended pregnancy and STDs.

“Everyone thrives when they have the knowledge, resources, and support needed to make healthy decisions and take care of themselves. PPLM is committed to giving parents and teens the tools they need to build healthier lives, healthier families, and healthier communities,” said Childs-Roshak.