Brave Teens Show Sexual Intelligence

I was point­ed at a very inter­est­ing site, Sex­u­al Intel­li­gence, by a post to a home­school­ing list about some admirable teens who were among the 2002 Sex­u­al Intel­li­gence Award Winners.

Speak Out! Teen Group

It start­ed out inno­cent­ly enough last fall. A few high school kids in San­ta Ana, CA start­ed talk­ing about how their friends were get­ting preg­nant. They real­ized that their health class was­n’t help­ing. All it said about sex was “wait until mar­riage.” Their text­book did­n’t help either. It said “wait until mar­riage.” The stu­dents knew they need­ed more. 

They decid­ed to orga­nize and col­lect infor­ma­tion about teen preg­nan­cy local­ly, and how it could be reduced. They exam­ined var­i­ous sex edu­ca­tion cur­ric­u­la and learned how some, like the absti­nence-only pro­gram in their school dis­trict, were far less effec­tive than oth­ers. They received encour­age­ment and tech­ni­cal sup­port from the Camp­fire USA Speak Out! pro­gram, where they also learned research method­ol­o­gy and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. 

They start­ed talk­ing to every­one about the issue. Sur­vey­ing oth­er stu­dents, they dis­cov­ered 60% were already sex­u­al­ly active. No won­der a sex-ed pro­gram with the sin­gle focus “don’t do it” was­n’t helping—students were already doing it. Fur­ther sur­veys dis­cov­ered that the cur­ricu­lum improve­ments they want­ed were sup­port­ed by 90% of the dis­tric­t’s par­ents and a major­i­ty of their health teachers. 

When they final­ly got their chance to address the school board, the teens were ready with sta­tis­tics, sur­vey results, and emo­tions. Board mem­bers were deeply impressed by the kids’ work and their desire for infor­ma­tion and guid­ance rel­e­vant to their lives. The Board has estab­lished a com­mit­tee to look into the problem—the “prob­lem” that stu­dents want bet­ter edu­ca­tion. We hope they’ll under­stand their kids’ needs as well as the kids do. 

Hon­or­able men­tion goes to Camp­fire USA, which encour­aged the stu­dents’ civic involve­ment, and secured fund­ing for it. We also salute the Cal­i­for­nia Well­ness Foun­da­tion for fund­ing the project. The 15 teens them­selves are here­by rec­og­nized for spread­ing sex­u­al intelligence–among their peers and among the adults in charge of their well-being.

Cur­rent Mood: 🙂impressed
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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