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VIRGINIA: “Youth Workshops Tackle Tough Topics”

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Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)     (05.09.10):: Cherise M. Newsome

The youth advocacy group Teens With a Purpose will host a series of peer-led workshops in the coming weeks titled “I Am Hear.” The sessions employ entertainment, games, and music to explore the dangers of unsafe sex, dating violence, and unhealthy relationships. The program uses a CDC-designed curriculum, “Choose Respect.”

Deirdre Love, the group’s founder and director, said the goal is to reach out to adolescents as young as 11 to steer them away from dangerous behaviors. For older teens, the sessions include tips on making positive choices.

More than 100 people attended the recent “I Am Hear” program at Norview Community Center. A game similar to musical chairs, with the chairs representing sexual partners and diseases like herpes and HIV, helped teach about the risk of STDs. Teen facilitators explained the symptoms and how abstinence and healthy sexual behaviors can help prevent infection.

To teach about respect, a mock “American Idol” skit included judges who were overly cruel, and audience members laughed hysterically. “Let’s have a moment of truth,” said teen facilitator Rechea Wainfield. “Do you insult people purposefully?” The audience fell silent. “If you say yes, then you have been abusive,” he said. That message hit home with sixth-grader Tyrique Jenkins: “I learned that you have to give respect to get it.”

The next “I Am Hear” program will be held May 13 at the Huntersville Community Center, 830 Goff St. For more information, visit, or telephone 757-503-1608.


Written by pkids

May 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

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