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.
To improve sexual health education we need to create ways to make the experience memorable, engaging, inclusive, and FUN! That’s why High School Sex Squads under the AMP! program are flourishing. High School Sex Squads are groups of students at LAUSD high schools that use comedy, theater, and personal story telling to educate their peers on urgent sexual health topics.
High School Sex Squads 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.
Participants engage in weekly workshops where they receive sexual health education, reproductive justice information, and gender and sexuality training, and respond with art/theater making. Throughout the year these High School Squads educate their peers on campus through public assemblies, shows, and installations during lunch periods, reaching over 8,000 students per year with important sexual health information. At this moment there are four High School Sex Squads: Taft, Monroe, Fremont and Wilson High School--but the movement is growing fast...
AMP! is an Arts-based, Multiple-component, Peer-education HIV and STI prevention intervention that explores urgent sexual health topics and empowers students 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 LAUSD high schools for the past nine years and is supported by evaluation data demonstrating intervention efficacy for behavioral change, stigma reduction, and HIV knowledge and attitudes towards safe(r) sex and PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS).
Over the last few years AMP! has sparked the ultimate realization of this movement—the creation of High School Sex Squads.
Supported by the mentorship of the UCLA Sex Squad and Art & Global Health Center staff, these High School Squads are working throughout the year to educate their peers and change campus climate around sexual health topics, all while using the transformative power of art and honest storytelling. However, more high schools are asking for the program than we are currently able to support! Please consider donating today, so that we can implement the AMP! High School Sex Squad program at two new LAUSD high school sites in the 2018-19 school year.
We need your support to establish funds for three essential components of the High School Sex Squad program:
- Resources and training for teaching artists that will mentor the high school students throughout the year to help them develop school-specific interventions and theater
- Resources and training for the health teachers (adult allies) who support AMP! development throughout the year, provide invaluable mentorship and information to the students, and make the High School students’ work possible
- The High School Sex Squad Festival, a day of arts activism and performance where students perform the work they've created throughout the year for each other, meet their High School Sex Squad peers from other schools, celebrate what they’ve accomplished, and plan for new art-activist interventions next year
Help Us Support LA Youth-Led Arts Activism
Your 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. $5000 will provide resources for two new teaching artists while they mentor and facilitate the development of two new High School Sex Squads at our LAUSD partner schools. $3600 will support resources for our existing adult allies, as well as two more at new schools. $1400 of your funds will help produce the 4th Annual High School Sex Squad Festival, a day full of arts activism where students create arts advocacy campaigns and celebrate their achievements throughout the year!