The Centers for Disease Control tell us that many young persons in the United States engage in risky sexual behavior and experience negative reproductive health outcomes. The story is told not only in the physical life-altering consequences that include teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, but also in emotional harm that can at times manifest itself in depression and suicidal ideation. Finally, the millions of parents and educators who knew that to be true have an official authority backing them up.
Identifying risk is one thing, having a plan to deal with it is another. The key to helping young people avoid risk and make healthy choices is a three-pronged approach: the right information, a realistic application to one’s life, and sincere encouragement and support. In other words, give young people the facts and help them to believe that they can make difficult, yet wise, choices in their own best interest.
Since 2004, we have been working toward those goals. We recognized that schools needed to address their state standards, have medically accurate information in their classrooms, as well as be in compliance with their state health/education laws. To meet those requirements, we developed upbeat, interactive and enjoyable lessons for 5th grade through 12th grade. The resultant curricula titled YES You Can! effectively address the needs of both students and educators.1 To date, these curricula are in over 250 schools throughout New Jersey and in 8 additional states.
A lesson-by-lesson training DVD comes with each level of the curricula for educators. We also provide educator in-service sessions that award continuing education hours. It goes without saying that parents are key to successful teens. We provide them with help, encouragement and skills through the Helping Your Kids Navigate through a Sex-Saturated Culture workshop. Empowered parents and educators help young people maximize their opportunity for a healthy adulthood!
Our teens, more than ever, need us to be honest and straightforward because it is from our guidance that they make health decisions which have life-long consequences. The New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group is poised to educate, inform and empower students by reaching the adults that serve them with cutting edge, current and accurate information.
For the health of our young people,
- 83% of program participants evaluated reported a positive effect on their decision-making to wait for sexual involvement, with fully 18% reporting it convinced them to wait. Institute for Research & Evaluation