Alliance staff presented the workshop, “Families Respond to Youth Sexual Health in Colorado: A Call to Action” at the 2012 Colorado Coalition for Girls Conference at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The conference was a great opportunity to debut our Family Engagement initiative and get some feedback from numerous family and youth advocates, some of whom were also parents and teachers.
All participants spoke of the clear need for sex ed among middle and high school youth but many also expressed a pervasive fear – of reprimand, of job loss, of the ‘angry parent’ – which keeps them from talking with youth about sexual health topics, even if they are personally willing and equipped to do so. This raised significant questions – do schools have specific policies censuring teachers for providing medically accurate information? How can adults overcome their fear to provide young people with essential, life-saving information? What can we do to challenge the controversy that surrounds comprehensive sex ed and reframe it as a core health issue? We will be exploring this further – as well as what we can do to transform fear into action.
We pretested questions for our upcoming statewide survey on family support for sex ed, and will be using this process to explore motivations and barriers to engagement in youth sexual health. Watch for the survey in early 2013.
If you are interested in getting involved or would like to learn more about our work, please contact Cammie Edson, Family Engagement Director, at 303-316-0200 or
, or visit our website at healthycoloradoyouth.org