I am a little more than half way through my internship at Children’s National Medical Center with the Adolescent Prevention Education Programs and I was asked to present the program that I have been facilitating to some of the doctors in hospital. This was big opportunity for me but it also gave me a time to reflect on everything we have done thus far. The program is called Teen Life Club (TLC). It is a youth development program that focuses on improving decision-making silks, and with the ultimate goal to reduce sexual risk. The weekly lessons provide an opportunity to discuss the skills the youth need to make safe responsible choices for goal setting, sexual activity, responding to violence, maintaining healthy relationships, making money and securing jobs/careers. It is a very comprehensive life skill curriculum for local middle school students.
While I have not taught all of the lessons, I have been able to see the growth in knowledge the students have obtained in the last few weeks. We covered lessons on sexual orientation, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Birth Control, to name a few. Of course classroom management has been a huge necessity especially with these topics and this agree group. Kids say the cleverest things at the most inappropriate times. It has been an interesting dance discussing their media influences and explaining the facts in a method they would understand. It is a very necessary and important aspect of my responsibilities as a facilitator. Debunking myths and expelling false information is important for having a comprehensive health education. You have to know what the youth already know and are influence by in order to meet them where they are and bring them to a better-informed place about their health and their ability to make decisions.
This program has been able to compliment the health education that the youth already receive in school. However, it is unfortunate to announce that the program will not be continuing beyond this summer, due to lack of funding. It was heartbreaking to hear that. I have been working with APEP since I was in 10th grade. Each time I went back it was always in different capacity. I have seen APEP from a fully thriving program with three different components until know where there is only one active component, TLC, still making a huge impact on the DC youth. APEP will always have a special place in my heart, knowing all of the positive and influential work it has done for the DC community.