Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic Rec Room to hold weeklong sexual education course for teenagers

The workshops will include discussion topics on healthy relationships, consent and safety, family values and teen goals

In March and April Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic will offer two weeklong comprehensive sex education workshops for Homer teenagers.

The first workshop is March 25-29 and is for youth aged 12 to 14 years old. The second will take place April 15-19 for youth aged 15 to 18 years old.

The workshops will include discussion topics on healthy relationships, consent and safety and family values and teen goals.

The workshops will use a curriculum titled “Resiliency-Informed Sexual Health and Wellness,” which is based on national standards for sexual health education and uses the peer education teaching model. Each workshop is limited to 10 participants.

For students interested in participating in the course, Tyler Schlieman, peer education coordinator with the clinic, strongly encourages them to attend all five sessions because each day is designed to build on what was learned in the previous day.

He also said it’s important to go through the entire workshop series together as a group and develop as a cohort. If students are able to attend all five days, Schlieman has gift cards that he’ll offer them.

Schlieman will instruct the course with the KBFPC’s teen peer educators. The KBFPC has been working with the peer education model since 2011. The youth are hired as employees at the organization and they teach with Schlieman in various settings throughout the community of Homer.

“A lot of research shows that type of model works really well. The youth are relatable, they have similar experiences and if we’re talking about potentially uncomfortable subjects, having the teen peer educators who are comfortable talking about the subject helps normalize everything,” Schlieman said.

Before they begin work, the educators go through about six months of structured training, depending on how quickly they can move through the regimen.

“It’s a learning curve but they get through it. It includes observing classes, study, attend youth conferences. It’s pretty extensive and I make sure they know that when they get started, you can’t just start teaching right away. Usually, they have the incentive to do it because they’re encouraged by older peer educators who are already on the team who serve as models,” he said.

This is not the first time the workshops have been offered to Homer teens. The longer workshops are offered through the Rec Room at KBFPC, but the clinic has also brought some shorter versions into classrooms with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, where the curriculum is also approved.

The “Resiliency-Informed Sexual Health and Wellness” curriculum follows state and national standards for teaching sexual health that’s age appropriate. This is why the courses are offered to two age categories.

“For the younger group, there’s more emphasis on changes in your body, what happens during puberty, hygiene and abstinence. For the older group, there’s less emphasis on puberty and more on relationships. That’s just one of the examples of how we change and morph as we get older,” he said.

According to Schlieman, the course work progresses in two sections. “We start by talking about the more scientific and medical topics such as anatomy, STI prevention and contraception and then we switch to do a little more work with consent, violence prevention, resiliency and healthy relationships,” he said. The course includes substantial emphasis on the components of communication, respect and relationships.

“It’s very discussion based. We want the youth to be able to bring personal life experience to it but we also want to be guides and facilitators in this wild part of their life. We try to be as encompassing as possible for the right ages.”

Funding for the program is provided through the Teen and Unintended Pregnancy Prevention federal grant program and additional resources that contribute to KBFPC.

For more information or to register for the workshop see www.homerrecroom.org or visit the office at 3959 Ben Walters Lane in Homer. The office phone number is 907-235-3436.

Tags: ,