(Miami)— They are parents, they are community members and they are now sexual health educators. On Saturday, November 15th 14 participants of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast’s Adult Role Models (ARMs) program celebrated their graduation at Ministerio Internacional El Rey Jesús Church in Homestead.
ARMs is a train-the-trainer program offered in English, Spanish, and Créole that brings increased awareness about sexuality and teen pregnancy, as well as the importance of open and honest family communication to diverse communities. By teaching parent volunteers to provide instruction and outreach to their children and peers, ARMs fosters the development of leadership skills, an understanding of sexual health issues, improved parent-child communication, and an awareness of Planned Parenthood’s services, mission, and advocacy efforts.
“Open and honest communication between a parent and child is the ideal way to educate young adults about sexual health,” said Lillian A. Tamayo, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, Inc. “Parents who graduate from the ARMs program have the opportunity to interact with their children, educate their peers, create a parental support system in their neighborhood, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are leaders within their community,”
El Rey Jesús Church has hosted three ARMs trainings since fall 2007. A total of 27 adults have completed the program, which consists of 75 hours of training that includes modules about how to talk to your kids about sexuality, adolescent development and puberty, contraception and sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS awareness, domestic violence, breast health, sexual orientation and Parenting 101. ARMs graduates bring their knowledge and message to community events, health fairs and in-home meetings.
Dr. Marlon Martinez, pastor of El Rey Jesús Church recognized that cultural barriers and a lack of knowledge about sexual health were leading to high teen pregnancy rates and reluctance among adult women to seek reproductive health care. He knew that the ARMs program could benefit his congregation which consists of Spanish speaking migrant farm workers who have a limited education and consider talking about sex a cultural taboo.
“Mothers tell me how comfortable they are now talking to their daughters about issues that would have been too embarrassing to discuss before attending the ARMs training,” added Dr. Martinez. “Other parents tell me how the training has taught them the importance of taking care of their own reproductive health, and provided them with the courage to speak with their families and fellow church members.”
To learn more about Planned Parenthood’s Adult Role Models program please visithttp://www.ppsoflo.org/.
The mission of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy. We do so by understanding and responding to the needs of those seeking our services, and by protecting and respecting the essential privacy rights, dignity and culture of each individual.
Director of Communications
November 10, 2008