PPWP's Peer Education program, Peer Helpers, is a comprehensive teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention program designed to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to avoid sexual risk behaviors, make healthy decisions, and promote norms around those same behaviors amongst their peers.
Peer Helpers are middle and high school youth in Allegheny County. Over its 26 years, the program has consistently met its goals of 99% pregnancy prevention and 100% school completion for participants through relationship-building, proven sexuality education methodology, and a positive youth development approach to working with students on a long-term basis. Many Peer Helpers start in middle school and continue all the way through high school graduation.
During weekly sessions with beloved facilitators, Peer Helpers engage in important conversations around decision-making, communication, gender, personal values, consent, digital citizenship, contraception, STD prevention, and much more, with all content tied to six key concept areas identified by SIECUS’s K-12 Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education – human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Curricula from the Office of Adolescent Health's list of evidence-based programs form an important backbone of the content, with other lessons drawn from nationally-respected and in-house curricula.
Peer Helpers also demonstrate:
- Increased confidence around practicing healthy sexual behaviors such as abstinence, condom use, birth control use, and talking with a partner about STD testing
- Increased knowledge around essential sexual health topics
- Increased intentions to use birth control and practice healthy sexual behaviors (including their convictions that they will not be sexually active without doing so)
These shifts help give youth the support they need to set healthy boundaries, pursue positive relationships, and communicate and protect the decisions that make sense for their lives. PPWP believes that this type of high quality sexuality education helps youth thrive.
For more information on the Peer Education program, call Peer Education Coordinator at 412-258-9535.