Remember your high school sex ed class? (If you even had one!) More often than not, when UCLA Art & Global Heath Center staff poses this question to UCLA students, their responses can often be summed up as “meh…” or “horrid!” or “I can’t remember.” Gulp.
Did you know that young people ages 15 – 24 bear a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, in the US, accounting for half of all new infections (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013).
To improve sexual health education we need to create ways to make the experience memorable, relevant, inclusive, and FUN! That’s why the UCLA Sex Squad and AMP! program is flourishing.
AMP! is an Arts-based, Multiple-component, Peer-education HIV and STI prevention intervention that explores urgent sexual health and allied topics as well as ways to navigate self-advocacy in real life situations. In partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, AMP! merges honest storytelling with humor, simultaneously educating and inspiring students to engage in interactive dialogue. AMP! has been successfully implemented in other LAUSD high schools for the past six years and is supported by evaluation data demonstrating intervention efficacy for behavioral change, stigma reduction, HIV knowledge and attitudes towards safe(r) sex and PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS).
Over the last few years AMP! has sparked an exciting new movement—the creation of High School Sex-Ed Squads. Inspired by the UCLA Sex Squad school tour, High School Sex Squads are forming to further empower youth to combat stigma surrounding, STI's/HIV, engage in dialogue, practice communication strategies, and think critically about sexual health decision-making. These youth squads also explore additional topics such as self-esteem, bullying, pregnancy prevention, and intimate partner and domestic violence.
At this moment there are four High School Sex Squads: Taft, San Fernando, Hollywood, Fremont and Wilson High School. Participants participate in bi-weekly workshops where they receive sexual health education, reproductive justice, gender and sexuality training and respond with art/theater making.
Help Us Educate LA Youth
By supporting this SPARK campaign you will help us create a new High School Sex Squad that includes members from 10 Los Angeles high schools.
This new group will meet weekly February-June to receive sexual health training, mentorship, and create new performances to be premiered at the May 21, 2016 High School Sex Squad Festival. This multi-site group will help AMP! staff build relationships and a strong foundation for launching more High School Sex Squads in Fall 2016.
SPARK funds will directly support training and mentorships for High School Squads, as well as transportation, supplies, and food to nourish the hard-working arts-activist youth. SPARK will also help produce the 2nd Annual 2016 High School Sex Squad Festival!
Please donate today and help strengthen the AMP! program by providing a solid foundation at five new schools to engage 1,500-2,000 more high school students in impactful and empowering sexual health education through AMP! in 2016-17.