This week was the last day of the Leadership Training Institute for the TORCH teens this summer. The kids are going on a break, the interns are leaving, and the directors are going on vacation right before the fall starts and the pandemonium of the peer education programs start for the coming semester. I seem to have been writing most of blog posts about the teens, but I have really enjoyed their company and learning from them has also been very valuable to me. Not only have I added this experience to my resume, but I have continued to learn more about other pregnancy prevention and youth development programs and how they work.
The TORCH program is very similar to the program I am currently working with. The Urban Health Plan, Inc. pregnancy prevention program is also a dual program for teens where youth development and education is incorporated into a clinical component of adolescent care. Unlike the TORCH program, the Urban Health Plan, Inc offers comprehensive and specialty adolescent care. That truly is the only difference between programs, however, the TORCH program is more peer lead and the teens have more control of what they teach. The Urban Health Plan, Inc. program is run by educators and mostly trained staff. We do have a peer education program, but they are not as widely used as the TORCH peer education program. But both programs have seemingly integral components that work well together when implemented.
For the last training session, the teens were able to actively engage in a jeopardy game about the recent health care reform changes made by President Obama. We focused on primary issues surrounding the debate – we focused on the changes surrounding women, children, and the elderly, Medicaid and Medicare, preventative measures, and other random facts about the “Obama Care” laws. What was interesting to note is that during the initial stages of research when we were preparing the questions for the game, many of the interns didn’t know about many of the changes that had recently taken effect. We received the same reaction from the teens as well- many of them didn’t even know what “Obama Care” was.
The teens seemed to enjoy the activity and had taken home with them some knowledge of the new health care reform act. Hopefully, we will continue to work with the teens later on.
Want to learn more about TORCH? Watch the YouTube video below!
NARAL Pro-Choice New York has various set of projects that they are currently working on and TORCH has been of the more active projects that have continued to make a great impact. NARAL continues to produce projects and activities surrounding reproductive health rights. The Book of Choices is an initiative that provides accurate information for teens that are facing unplanned pregnancies. The book provides information on:
Where to get an abortion
what you need to know before getting an abortion
resources for women choosing to continue their pregnancy.
provides information on preventing pregnancy, including different contraceptive methods.
This book serves as a resource and an outlet to accessing correct information that easy to read and understand. Teens can access this book online or they can make their way up to 33rd street and park ave and ask for an actual book. All the information is updated frequently and is reviewed to assure that the information is accurate. The Book of Choices is a great resource and many community-based organizations use this as means of referring their patients or teens to needed services that are not offered through their own programs. I believe this is a great tool that can be empowering, informative, and inspiring.
Interning at NARAL has been quite an experience and having the opportunity to continue to work with teens is even better. The TORCH Peer Educators are a wonderful and versatile group on young individuals. Aside from the daily work at NARAL, they are a unique group of teens that love life, teaching, and being young. I have extensive background in youth development and youth education, but working with the TORCH teens have allowed me to acquire a new, and useful set of professional skills.
Learning to be open-minded and honest are skills that not every employer looks for in a resume or an interview. However, these are skills that are required when working with youth and this is what I learned from working with TORCH for the last 4 weeks. When topics about sexual and reproductive health and medical care come up, teens have a lot to say. It can be easily interpreted that teens are rambunctious and blurt certain things out that are either confusing or just plain crazy. However, teens do have the right to speak their minds nevertheless, tell you how they want they want to be treated by their doctors. Being open-minded and allowing new ideas to circulate in your understanding of the teens nature is critical in working with them. Unknowingly, we judge and criticize teens for being this aggressive, but it is who they are. What we can do as adults, is simply be aware and have open-minds when working with teens. Without passing judgment, we as adults, should always support the ideas and thoughts of teens. Now, these thoughts must be positive thoughts and ideas that foster positive youth development – not ideas or thought that promote the opposite. This is away that teens can relate to you – even as an adult- you have the ability to become one with them, while still allowing mutual respect between the teacher and the student.
Learning to be honest and open with teens, is a very useful tool. It can allow you to be honest and open with other individuals you might be working with. When teens are given the chance to change, and by that I mean their behavior and decisions, teens are self-promoting and creating a brighter future for themselves. However, this can not be possible, if youth providers do not have open-minds and open-hearts to also learn from teens, but teach them as well.
This summer, my intern duties have also asked that I put my “youth-loving” skills to good use. The Teens Outreach Reproductive CHallenge (TORCH) program is composed of strong, young, peer educators, that are trained in everything that has to do with sexual and … Continue reading →