Healthy Respect employs a youth development and education model that focuses on identifying and building upon individual, family, school and community assets. Youth development is the process through which adolescents acquire the cognitive, social and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate life. Students learn the risks of sexually transmitted infections and medically accurate information about contraception: guiding the students to the understanding risk avoidance is the healthiest choice.
We have three printed copyrighted curricula, two for high school and one for middle school. Additional components of the Healthy Respect program include Parent Workshops, Communication Workshops, a Mentorship Program, and After-School Dance and Drama Workshops.
Healthy Respect Topics
When teens set goals for their future and learn how to take realistic steps to reach those goals, it often infuses a more hopeful outlook. Teens quickly understand that adding sex to a relationship can derail aspirations and add economic and emotional roadblocks to future plans.
Healthy Decision Making
Learning the skills for the decision-making process is especially important as adolescents become more independent and make more autonomous decisions. Learning how to make healthy decisions about sexual activity can have both immediate and long term impact for a person’s overall health outcomes. Research shows that teens that have good decision-making skills are more likely to delay sex, avoid alcohol, drugs and other risk behaviors.
Building Assets & Avoiding Negative Peer Pressure
External assets are used to help the developing adolescent by intentionally involving parents, guardians, community agencies, and other positive influences. The internal assets promote healthy attitudes, positive character development, and self-efficacy. The overall protective factors strengthen the teen’s ability to resist negative peer pressure.
The Healthy Respect Program begins in the earlier grades with a discussion of physical changes that accompany puberty. Other topics that span human development from conception to adulthood are a part of an age appropriate unit on reproduction and reproductive anatomy. Sex is a natural part of human growth and development that needs clear guidance, boundaries, skills and context to achieve the healthiest outcomes. A discussion of responsible parenting with a discussion regarding the optimal environment for children to thrive is often a part of this session.
Teens learn that participating in one unhealthy behavior, such as drinking, greatly increases the likelihood of becoming involved in others, so the skills learned to successfully avoid sexual activity are also important in terms of other risk behaviors. An SRA program teaches teens that media messaging often inaccurately presents teen sex as expected and without consequence. Also, sexual predators and online pornographic sites regularly target teens. All of these influences can negatively impact healthy sexual decision-making. For these reasons the Healthy Respect Program, at each grade level, devotes an entire unit to the impact of media on adolescents.
Resistance Skills & Effective Communication
SRA education empowers youth with effective skills that help them resist pressures to be sexually active. Interactive activities, such as role-playing, help teens develop and apply successful communication strategies that are consistent with their personal boundaries and optimal sexual health.
Self-Efficacy & Self-Regulation
Teens are more effective at resisting the pressure to have sex if they are personally confident of themselves and secure in their self-respect. Self-regulation is a skill that is perfected with practice. Healthy Respect empowers teens to design personal boundaries and protective strategies that they can describe, practice and defend to others. These personal competencies increase their ability to make healthy decisions.
The Risks of STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases are at epidemic rates for teens but many believe they are immune from contracting an STD. Teens can easily spread STDs without even knowing they are infected because many are largely asymptomatic. The Healthy Respect program introduces teens to accurate information about the common STDs, their symptoms, and long-term effects, and the most effective way to avoid them.
Condoms & Contraception
Healthy Respect educates teens about contraception and condoms, explaining that while their use may reduce the risk of the physical consequences of sex, their use cannot eliminate the risks. Information provided is medically accurate and gives teens the real life typical use effects of condoms in reducing the risk of pregnancy and the transmission of STDs. This information is shared within the context of a risk avoidance message that does not normalize or promote teen sexual behavior.
Adopting a Risk Avoidance Lifestyle
Teens who have had sex can choose to refrain from sexual activity again. It is the healthier option and sexually active teens are open to change. Two thirds of sexually experienced teens think they had sex too soon. This knowledge provides us with the ability to give sexually experienced youth the skills and encouragement to make healthier sexual decisions in the future by refraining from sexual activities. Past behavior does not necessarily predict future decisions and SRA is committed to inspiring a “second chance” in all teens desiring such a change. SRA education believes sexually active teens deserve more health protection than is provided with a latex condom.
Relationships & Healthy Family Formation
Adolescents discover the components of a healthy relationship in an SRA program. They learn how they should treat others and how they should expect to be treated, as casual friends and as dating partners. Teens are often introduced to marriage preparation assessment and compatibility tools. They also learn to identify and escape the dangers of an unhealthy relationship, including inappropriate sexual advances, coercion, dating violence and other kinds of sexual exploitation.
224 West 35th Street
New York, N.Y. 10001