Get Real Teen Council Ramps Up
Get Real Teen Council (GRTC) members are high school sexual health peer educators trained by PPLM educators to facilitate learning opportunities for their peers, families, and communities and advocate for just and positive sexual attitudes and policies. In FY23, GRTC members from Worcester and Greater Boston offered student programs on protection methods and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and on communications and consent. In October 2022, some GRTC members led an interactive discussion with more than 20 teens at Newton’s Temple Beth Avodah, examining how the loss of federal abortion protections impacts young people. A November 2022 gathering of GRTC members and parents frankly explored barriers faced by teens and trusted adults when discussing sexuality and identified practical strategies to improve communication. GRTC also presented a unique virtual event, “In the Classroom with PPLM’s Get Real Teen Council” in February 2023, an opportunity for PPLM supporters to participate in a GRTC peer education workshop as it is presented to teens. In May 2023, GRTC members joined over 100 advocates and educators to lobby at the Massachusetts State House for passage of the Healthy Youth Act (see Advocacy), which seeks to ensure that sex education taught in Massachusetts public schools is medically accurate, age appropriate, LGBTQ+ inclusive, consent based, and include tools to build healthy relationships.
Connecting with Parents and Communities
PPLM’s bilingual parent educators reached parents and caregivers of kids from pre-school to early adulthood through community partnerships, home-based talks and workshops, corporate brown-bag lunch presentations, online resources and publications, and its flagship bilingual program Let’s Be Honest/Seamos Honestos. This program helps parents and caregivers build trust when talking with children about sex and sexuality, emphasizing such topics as reproductive anatomy, promoting healthy relationships, understanding STIs, and managing peer pressure.
Some of PPLM’s knowledge sharing offerings are advanced by our community outreach specialists who inform people about PPLM’s services and resources and establish meaningful local partnerships to help patients access care. Through one of these partnerships, PPLM started piloting contraceptive access points in Worcester. Housed next to community refrigerators in five locations, these access points are stocked with condoms, lube, and dental dams, giving people easy access to free safer sex materials.
PPLM’s Get Real and Professional Training Institute, a division of PPLM’s ASPIRE Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health, offered more than 20 virtual and in-person professional education workshops and training opportunities to educators and other youth-serving professionals, health practitioners, social workers, and community members committed to sharing medically accurate, inclusive, and culturally responsive sex education with their students, patients, and clients. A new training titled “What's Abortion Got to Do with it? Connecting the Dots Between Sex Ed and Abortion” was also designed and offered in response to demand from community partners. They wanted to be prepared for an anticipated increase in questions from young people about abortion after the overturning of Roe v. Wade and sought the right information and tools to have conversations about the importance of including medically accurate information and resources about abortion in the provision of sex education.
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