Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexia Renaud, Noor Arizaleta Kadhim, Alan Halaly, Isabela Kunigk and Keyuna Julien.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We are a youth activist group focused on providing comprehensive and inclusive safer sex education to all teens. We have all experienced the injustice the education system poses us with in terms of the limited and heterocentric safer sex education. So, when we met at the Barb Schmidt Fellowship at Florida Atlantic University, a program dedicated to fostering activism in high school students, we knew we had to seize the opportunity to take action. This was in December of 2018. Since then, we have held two summits where we invite teens to be educated by community professionals like doctors, psychologists, and educators that can provide upfront and factual information about safer sex to all teens.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Thankfully, it has been a smooth road because we are passionate and dedicated to the work that we do. We are a handful of college and high school students that set aside our leisure time to make this possible. We have hustled to plan events and increase attendance by keeping up with busy social media and contacting everyone we know to attend.
Through this work, we went from a summit of fifteen attendees in one small classroom in April of 2019 to sixty attendees filling five separate classrooms in November of 2019. We are also extremely thankful to Florida Atlantic University, Barb Schmidt, and our professor and mentor, Karen Leader, for helping us make our vision into a reality. In addition, we have teamed up with Kayla Lawson of Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida, and she has also been an incredible help and has provided us with mentorship and networking opportunities that have helped us take our organization to the next level.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
We focus on providing inclusive and comprehensive safer sex education to all teens regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities, or race. We recognize a gap in the education system that is failing students like us and we are working to fill it. We do this through two channels. The first is social media campaigns that focus on destigmatizing sex and increasing awareness of the need for youth sexual education. The second channel is what we are most known for, our Safe Sex Summits.
We hold events where we invite community partners to teach teens about safer sex practices, whether it be the use of contraceptives, coming to terms with gender identity or sexual orientation, or consent and dating violence. We are different than other organizations of our type because we are run fully by youth. Everyone on our board is 19 years old or younger so we are very close to this issue. In addition, we are extremely hands-on and insert ourselves into the community in order to learn its needs and provide them accordingly.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what we’re some of the struggles along the way?
Honestly, there have no been major obstacles that we have faced. We are still young so we haven’t had time to make many mistakes but we learn from those we have made and hope to learn from our mistakes that we may make in the future.
- Website: www.thesafesexproject.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org