Friday, May 29, 2009

Sex Education Disguised as F U N! By: Julie, PPWNM Communications Director

A huge thank you to Julie in the West and Northern Michigan Affiliate for letting me share this article she wrote with you all. Enjoy!!!!!

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan held its 2nd annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Carnival on May 27, 2009. The event was held at the lovely Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, MI, with about 50 people attending.

Members of PPWNM’s Something to Say teen advocacy program were responsible for planning and implementing the carnival, along with PPWNM education staff members Carly A., Poppy H., Julie M., Staci R., and Sara W. Something to Say teens recruited friends and classmates to attend. Invitations signed by parents/guardians were required for entry.

The two-hour carnival titled “Real Talk from the ‘Hood” featured games, prizes, raffles, a picnic dinner, freshly made popcorn and cotton candy, henna tattoos, music, and most importantly — education disguised as fun!

Teens reflected on the importance of comprehensive sex education, both in writing and on videotape: “Sex education is important to me because I’ve seen many of my peers make life-altering decisions without proper knowledge of the consequences,” said a young Kentwood man. A teen girl from Grand Rapids told us, “It’s important to me because sex can cause so many harms, and younger and younger teens are starting to do it. They really need to be educated about it.”

Carnival games included STI Duck Pond, Four Cornerstones Darts, Body Parts Match Game, Comprehensive Sex Ed Match Game, and Dizzy Bat Condom Wrap. The last game required teens to hold a baseball bat top-side-to-ground, place their foreheads on the bottom end of the bat, spin around 10 times, run across the grass and properly dress a penis model with a condom — it’s much harder than it may sound! The activity is meant to simulate what it might feel like to attempt to practice safe sex, even under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Teens could also visit the advocacy table staffed by our Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan field organizer Megan Z.; and the Ask Me Anything booth, staffed by Cherry St. Health Center NPs Karen G. and Amy K. Amy and Karen said teens were most interested in learning about annual exams, various methods of birth control on display, and proper condom usage.

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