The 2015 school year is shaping up to be an exciting year for our education department!
Hennepin County has been awarded a contract from the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) for 2015-2020! The Annex is a key community partner in this work; our education staff will facilitate evidence-based sexuality education programs with middle and high school students in Hennepin County communities with teen birth rates higher than the national average.
The OAH grant also renews the Safer Sex Initiative (SSI) program, a one-to-one, clinic-based educational program that utilizes Motivational Interviewing to increase protective behaviors relating to sexual health among young women. These behaviors include assertive communication, setting boundaries, relationship equity, use of reliable contraception and protection if sexually active, managing stress, and more.
Hennepin County has also received Title V monies, which the Annex will utilize to facilitate two new programs focusing on youth development and parent/caregiver education. The evidence-based youth development curriculum, Project AIM, consists of 12 sessions that encourage youth to imagine a positive future, and discuss how current risk behaviors can be a barrier to a successful adulthood. The Annex is also thrilled to announce that we will hire a Parent/Caregiver Educator! The educator will facilitate workshops with parents and caregivers of adolescents to provide them with resources, support, and opportunities to connect with their fellow caregivers around the issues of family communication and raising sexually healthy young children.
Funding from Youthprise has allowed the Annex to continue offering our Health Mentor program in Brooklyn Center, as well as expand this model in Brooklyn Park this year. The Health Mentor is an Annex educator who provides comprehensive services to young people and their families in a dedicated community, including: one-to-one consultations with adolescents, referrals for clinical services, classroom sexuality education, parent/caregiver education, and facilitates youth development opportunities.
Our sexuality education and youth development work in North Minneapolis is facilitated by education staff in the R.E.A.C.H. Project – Restore and Empower African-American Adolescents to Create Hope, a community approach to preventing teen pregnancy among African American youth in North Minneapolis. We are excited to increase our involvement in the C.R.U.S.H. Program (Community Restoring Urban Youth Sexual Health), a partnership of youth serving organizations and community members working to address the increasing rates of chlamydia infections among teens and young adults.
Finally, the Annex continues our long-standing service of providing one-time sexuality education presentations in school classes and support groups, faith communities, juvenile detention, and various community settings. These presentations provide fact-based sexual health information, connect young people to our clinical services, and model open and honest conversations around sexual health.
Our talented education staff is ready for a wonderful school year!