I. Coming into Existence
2004: Founded by 9 physicians and 3 health care professionals; incorporated as a research and education non-profit
2004 – 2007: Subcontracted on the first federal grant, program YES You Can!, through Columbus Hospital, Newark, NJ. This grant enabled:
- 3 levels of lessons focused on teen sexual health
- Oversight of educator training and classroom instruction
- School staff education and consultation
- Community parent education
- Project YES You Can! into Essex County schools and community with evaluation
2007 – 2010: Awarded a second subcontract to a federal grant through Saint Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, NJ which expanded our education and health programs throughout Essex County
2008 – 2019: Awarded status of lessons provider for three NJ Department of Health Title V grant awardees providing lessons for Essex, Middlesex, Union, Atlantic, Cape May, Ocean and Cumberland Counties.
Present: Recipient of federal Sexual Risk Avoidance grants working in Essex and Union Counties.
II. YES You Can! Highlights
- Currently in over 325 public and private schools in 9 states providing:
- factual Information on teen sexual activity, pregnancy and STDs/STIs
- a focused Risk Avoidance Message
- interactive approach using manipulatives and activities
- emphasis on both emotional and physical aspects
- empowerment to delay onset of sexual activity in order to pursue goals
- fulfillment of the NJ Department of Education Core Curriculum Content
- school compliance with the Stress Abstinence Law
- Evaluation Results
Institute for Research and Evaluation (2011):
Of the 2,417 students studied:
- 82% of students taught by YES You Can! lessons stated that the instruction impacted them positively
- 64% say it strengthened their commitment or moved them in that direction
- 18% say it convinced them to wait
YES You Can! lessons played a significant role in the 1,221 students studied by the NJ Department of Education under a Federal Title V grant.
- In comparing differences across the three test times, the following results were identified. Data demonstrated statistical significance (p<.01) within 21 items which represent the following categories: Child/Parent Communication, Future Orientation/Goal Setting, Knowledge, Attitudes towards Abstinence, and Behavioral Intentions.
Center For Evidence Based Research & Montclair University (2016):
Of the 1,179 students studied:
- “The YES You Can! suite of lessons has produced statistically significant immediate and long-term effects for those students from 14 New Jersey urban schools participating in the program compared to those who did not. This reflects significance within student knowledge and behavioral intentions immediately following the YYC! intervention, and in a six month follow-up.”
- The study results were presented at the fall 2015 American School Health Association Conference.
- In 2015, the release of a 4th lesson level for 5th/6th grade completed the YES You Can! health and character suite offering from 5th to 12th grade.
III. Unique Aspects of NJPAG
- Funding focused on mission (President takes no salary)
- Over forty corporations have provided financial support
- A positive evaluation of the program, authored by researchers from Montclair State University and the Center for Evidence-Based Programming has been accepted for publication in the Journal of School Health regarding 1,200 program students compared to 1,100 control students showing statistically significant knowledge and intent to avoid sexual involvement.
- Working relationships with other statewide organizations: FREE Teens, From The Start, LIEFGUARD, Peer Challenge, Saint Peter’s Hospital Fertility Awareness Program.
- Annually holds 7 state-wide conferences hosted in hospitals, schools and universities for nurses, school health educators, counselors, social workers and administrators.
- Significant additional speaking engagements throughout the state and Northeast include: NJ State School Counselors Association (annual conference keynote), NJ State PTA, NJ Association of School Assistance Professionals, NJ Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD), Eastern District Association, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland professional school health associations (AHPERD), NJ Association for Special Education, Newark, School Nurses Associations and County School Nursing Association Presenters (Sussex, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Middlesex, Essex).
- Educator training provided to federally funded abstinence programs providing program in NJ.
- International outreach to Jamaica, W.I., since 2005
IV. Current Goals
- Increase the number of students to be influenced through product dissemination and topic awareness
- Broaden national reach through regional saturation
- Inculcate a risk avoidance adolescent sexual health message within college level health teacher and nursing education programs.