Planned Parenthood teen program enters 17th year
ST. LOUIS – Teens across the St. Louis area are advocating for comprehensive, evidence-based sex education through a program sponsored by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
The Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH) program, which began in 2000, provides teens in grades 9-12 with the most up-to-date, inclusive and medically accurate educational information about sexual health. Teens in the TASH program become ambassadors of sexual health in their schools and neighborhoods, and often develop into leaders in their communities.
Academic studies have concluded the use of comprehensive, science-based sex education reduces unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, and some studies have found students receiving comprehensive sex education abstain from sex longer than those who receive abstinence-only education.
“The knowledge and skills I gained could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Sasha Mothershead, who participated in TASH all four years of high school and will be attending Brown University this fall. “Not only did I learn about healthy sexuality and contraception but also important, unexpected things: community, confidence and the knowledge that, even as a teen, my voice is powerful. “
“My daughter found a place to develop her leadership and advocacy skills, and learned how to speak up about the importance of comprehensive sex education. She took her concerns to the school board, to Jefferson City, and all the way to Washington, D.C.,” said Melissa Krause, whose daughter Zoe was in the TASH program from 2008-2012.
Krause’s son Noah was also in TASH from 2014-16. “My son developed an understanding of how he, as a male, has an important role in advocating for healthy sexuality, healthy relationships, accurate sex education, and serving as a role model to his peers,” she said. “Both my kids taught me the importance of having open, honest conversations about sex and sexuality - something not available to me as a teen.”
TASH students use educational resources and information to learn about adverse dynamics that contribute to poor health outcomes, and create positive change in their lives and in their communities.
“TASH has been my only sex education ever,” said Courtney Harris, 18, a 2016-17 TASH participant who will begin studies at Spelman College this fall. “It allowed me to be myself and make my own choices as a young adult.”
Applications will be accepted through Thursday, Sept. 7. More information about the program and the application process are available on our TASH web page.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri has provided high-quality, supportive health care in the region since 1932. They are the area leaders in sexual and reproductive health care, providing contraception, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, education and more to tens of thousands of women and men each year. Patients can make appointments online or by phone at 1-800-230-PLAN (7526).
Media Contact: Jesse Lawder
314-531-7526, ext. 307