Since our work revolves around youth health, we take pride in featuring the words of young people on our platforms at ASHWG. Today, we’ll be sharing an essay from a youth Peer Educator from  Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s (PPMM) education department.

PPMM is a trusted source of sexual health information that is age-appropriate, medically accurate, inclusive and engaging.  Since November 2015, PPMM Sacramento Peer Educators have provided education and outreach to thousands of teens and young adults via classroom presentations, street outreach, health fairs, and social media campaigns.

We’ll be sharing an essay written by Macy Flint*, an 18-year old C.K. High School student in Sacramento. She is among the group of Peer Educators selected to serve in the 2016-17 school year, which includes seven other of her peers that were recruited and carefully selected from over thirty applicants.  The group was brought together for in-depth training in order to serve their schools and communities side by side with the PPMM health education team for at least 8 hours a month. Here’s what Macy had to say about her involvement in the program and the activist work she’s been able to do as a result of her commitment.

I am proud to call myself a Peer Educator at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Through this program, I have been able to channel my passions for health, women’s rights, and education. It has allowed me to take action and act as a resource for friends, classmates, and other teenagers in my community. Both the information and reassurance surrounding sexual health and relationships that I’ve learned have stood as assets to my peers and greater community.

For example, in my very first month as an educator, I was able to aid a classmate after she texted me with questions regarding unprotected sex and a potential pregnancy. She was scared, but I had access to the facts and resources, thanks to Planned Parenthood. I helped her to form a plan–take the morning after pill and get tested.

Nobody deserves to feel helpless when it comes to their own reproductive health. Because of my training, I was able to help her through a time of need.

Not only has Planned Parenthood’s Peer Education taught me how to serve others in my community, but it has educated me in sexual decision-making, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), and the importance of activism. It has led me to relish the time I have spent as a representative within the highschool classroom: from bringing resources to my high school’s classrooms and school clubs, to aiding with sexual education demonstrations in other schools, I discovered that this learning has a true purpose for everyone.

Although our array of condoms and in-depth discussions from everything to sexual intimacies and STDs makes teenagers blush and giggle, the information is invaluable and will lead to a future of improved sexual decision-making. It’s worth getting past the awkwardness. This vital outreach, education, and advocacy has allowed me to fight for what I care about and inspired me to continue work in public health and education, beyond my high-school career.

Do you want to learn more about how California schools are implementing the new standards of the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA)? Download our new curriculum review to see how schools are implementing the new standards.

*name changed to protect privacy

 

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