The Teen Leaders 4 Repro Health will enlist female-identifying high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to serve as positive role models in the area of reproductive health.
By Sasha Heller | Atlanta Jewish Times
The National Council of Jewish Women-Atlanta has launched an initiative targeting female teens that focuses on contraception, health, and wellness.
The new initiative, Teen Leaders 4 Repro Health, runs the length of the school year and empowers female-identifying high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to be “positive change agents in the area of reproductive health,” and help mentor their peers and community.
“After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last summer, our section’s chair of the Reproductive Health and Justice Committee, Dr. Mimi Zieman, wanted to inform people that now with abortion access restrictions, the stakes for understanding contraceptive use would increase dramatically,” said Stacey Hader Epstein, co-president of NCJW-Atlanta Section. “She wanted to find a way to teach more young people about the increased need for contraceptive education.”
Epstein added that NCJW-Atlanta applied for a grant from JumpSpark Atlanta, the teen initiative at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, to develop the program.
Program manager Catherine Goodman also shared about where the inspiration for the program came from.
“I was approached by NCJW-Atlanta Section after the idea for the program was created,” Goodman said. She added that since the initiative was targeting teens, NCJW officials wanted a younger voice to serve as the program’s mediator.
“My role so far has been to create a curriculum that will make teenagers feel excited, comfortable, and empowered,” Goodman said. “Since the initiative is modeled on a ‘by teens, for teens’ approach, we are also going to be discussing mature topics such as healthy sexuality and contraception.”
Goodman explained that topics such as these can be awkward for teens to discuss with their parents or other adults in their lives and that participation in this program could make it easier for the teens to express their feelings.
“NCJW-Atlanta Section wanted a young voice that would help the teen participants feel comfortable and be able to ask questions without shame or embarrassment,” Goodman said.
According to a news release, participants will learn verified information regarding reproductive health and contraception from medical professionals. The teens will then utilize the information they have learned to revise the booklet, “Choices,” which is an educational resource for teens that covers the effectiveness of various birth control options.
“The ‘Choices’ booklet is an educational pamphlet for teenagers that takes a deep dive into the multitude of contraceptive options,” Goodman said. “The booklet covers everything from abstinence to birth control pills, to copper IUD’s. The current booklet is 35 pages long, so the students will be revising and streaming it as part of the program.”
Goodman added that the program organizers want the revised booklet to be “easily digestible, honest, and essentially the go-to for teenagers who are ready to be sexually active and are looking for the best contraceptive choice for them.”
Goodman added, “We hope our teenagers will absorb this information to use in their own lives as well as to educate their friends and family on reproductive health and contraceptive choices.”
As part of the program, teens will gain experience and skills in team collaboration, editing, event planning, presentation, and marketing. Program materials suggest the teens will complete the program with the “knowledge and confidence to talk to their peers as an advocate for reproductive rights and contraception choices.”
Applications are due by Aug. 15, 2023. There is no cost to participate. To apply, visit www.ncjwatlanta.org/Advocacy. For more information, contact program manager Catherine Goodman at email@example.com.