Teen Promise Project 4/19/17

Second year is coming to a close (Thank God!), so the next couple of posts will be dedicated to some of the opportunities I was blessed enough to experience over the past school year.

First we’ll start with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Teen Promise Project which is an initiative to combat rising teen pregnancy rates through sexual education. My fellow classmates and I were tasked with teaching the ACOG’s curriculum to 2 different groups of girls at a nearby middle school for about 8 sessions every Monday.

Now I’m sure I’’m not the only one who sat through a sex ed class in middle school thinking, “This is a waste of time!” Quite frankly, sex ed class in middle school was complete trash.  It seemed like the goal wasto scare or intimidate us out of having sex by showing us pictures of STDs and telling us we either needed to be abstinent or suffer the consequences.

While I’m still a proponent of abstinence, I understand now that that approach back in the day was way off. It was too black and white: have sex and die or be abstinent and live happily ever after. These sex ed classes didn’t educate us at all! They didn’t inform us enough to make wise decisions.

That’s why I was so impressed with ACOG’s curriculum and how it chose to approach teaching sex ed. It was so thorough and informative, and didn't shy away from anything.  The topics we covered included reproductive anatomy, safe spaces, healthy relationships, body image, puberty, birth control, the process of fertilization and pregnancy, safe sex, STDs, and sexual identity just to name a few!

Each session opened up with a reminder of the rules of our “safe space” (i.e. the classroom where the sessions took place) which encouraged the girls to be mature and respectful of their classmates. This really helped facilitate a healthy environment to have our discussions.

I learned so much from being involved with this project. The curriculum was so thorough that I found myself having to look things up before the sessions because as a 22 year old med student, I wasn’t 100% educated on all of the topics. (Like guys there are legit 20 different types of birth control!!!!)

It was an amazing experience watching this brilliant group of middle school girls blossom into a group of well informed, and powerful young ladies. I didn’t  even learn a lot of the things we taught them until college and even med school, so to hear them explain and review the things we had taught them over the weeks was super inspiring.

I’m convinced that these girls are about to take the world by storm. Knowledge is power.

Me and my fellow student instructors.

Me and my fellow student instructors.

Judy Oranika