Before we get to the course, here’s a little FYI:
At Risk Youth can be defined as youth who are exposed to an environment of the five following categories: heightened violence, drugs/alcohol, high unemployment rates, leaving school without learning, early and risky sexual behaviors.
Youth at risk can then be organized into three different levels.
- Level 1: Youth who are exposed but do not actively participate in the one of the five categories that define being at risk.
- Level 2: Youth who are exposed and actively participate (by choice or not) in the five categories that define being at risk.
- Level 3: Youth who are exposed and actively participate and are living with consequences of the five categories that define being at risk (using drugs/alcohol, teen pregnancy, HIV/STI infection, dropping out of school for one of the following reasons: to seek employment to help the family/lack of learning/lack of resources to attend, etc…)
Still with me????
The majority of the youth that WYM focuses on and works with can be found in Levels 2 and 3.
Quantitative data conducted by the World Bank on the LAC (Latin American Caribbean) region shows that of the 34% of young people who reported being sexually active; 82% of males and 52% of females reported having initiated sexual activity on or before the age of 13.
Early sexual initiation is also reported to be involuntary for most young people. In a recent population based survey in the Caribbean, nearly 50% of sexually active young women (ages 10-17) reported that their first sexual experience was “forced” or “somewhat forced”. (UN Millennium Project 2005).
Of those youth reported to be sexually active, only 23% admitted to using a condom.
According to UNAIDS, Honduras currently holds the highest HIV rate in the LAC region, where the HIV rate is the second highest in the world (next to Sub-Saharan Africa).
With the current HIV rate at 1:9, and predicted to increase to 1:4 in the next decade, the need for proper sexual health education is not only needed but necessary for the population to continue.
Taking the above statistics into consideration, WYM shaped a program offering education in Sexual and Reproductive Health to help the youth make healthy decisions regarding personal relationships and sex.
The program works like this: WYM chooses a maximum of 20 co-ed youth to participate in the weekly 2 hour sessions for a total of 15 weeks. The youth are chosen based on need and risk.
Each week has a different theme. Some include: healthy communication, decision making skills, understanding values, risky behaviors, cultural expectations, gender roles and stereotypes, male/female anatomy, menstruation, healthy relationships, dating, love, condom use, rape/incest, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and testing, STI’s, resources for help, short term goals for the future, and long term goals for the future.
At the end of the 15 weeks, the students that graduate the Life Planning Skills Course are assessed, and then offered an opportunity to continue on to the Leadership Course if deemed to have leadership potential. These students will be trained to someday lead LPS Courses in their own communities, as well as offered additional opportunities to actively participate in the positive empowerment of youth in their communities through volunteering, coaching, board contributions, and other projects that directly give back to the future generation youth.