Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sex Ed for Young Adults, Take Two: It’s Time for Outreach!

A summary of Sex Ed, Take One:
The Sex Ed class for young adults that I was teaching ended in May. I loved and learned from each one of our 14 sessions, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to facilitate these sessions and for the time and energy of each one of the participants. We achieved a lot: 14 evenings together reveling in the Our Whole Lives curriculum; 4 community members trained in facilitating both the Adult and Young Adult versions of this curriculum; and 1 community-wide Sex Ed Shabbat, including prayer services themed on the four Our Whole Lives values and four break-out sessions on various sex ed topics. To wrap up our semester, we joined Keshet in a celebration of Boston Queer Pride. Special shout-outs go to our community leaders at the Moishe/ Kavod House for supporting and participating in this project, to the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ for their fabulous sex ed curricula and trainings, and to the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) grant program for a grant that provided the funds for our work.

An introduction to Sex Ed, Take Two:
Literally the day after our closing session for the class, I started writing a second grant to fund the next stage of our project. And I’m happy to announce that we got the grant! The BYFI Alumni Venture Fund has provided us with a grant to do local outreach around issues of human sexuality. As we continue to provide sex education and community-building programming at the Moishe/ Kavod House, we will also reach out to leaders at local synagogues, university Hillels, and other Jewish community organizations. We will engage them in conversation about the needs of their own communities and the interest in their in experiencing and supporting comprehensive sex education. We will develop materials to serve as the foundation for building these relationships, particularly in the form of workshops we can offer in these other communities. The materials will cover topics such as consent, relationships and communication, gender identity, sexual orientation, family, sexual violence, body image, sexual health, and advocacy. We will explore these topics both on their own terms and as Jews, in conversation with our own Jewish experiences and with Jewish texts.

How you can get involved in this next stage:
We need leaders, and we need doers! Whether you were a participant in the first sex ed class or not, I encourage you to find a way to get involved with our Outreach project. Since this rendition of Sex Ed will combine community education with organizing and outreach, we will need many people to bring a wide variety of skills to the table. Do you want to be involved? What might you be interested in doing? Please be in touch with me to let me know if you’re interested in:
• Joining us over dinner (ie, meetings) to deepen our vision of this work and start planning
• Connecting us with people you know in other local Jewish communities
• Contacting and meeting with leaders in other local Jewish communities
• Finding an analyzing Jewish sources, commentary, and other writings on sexuality
• Helping us develop various workshops that can meet the different needs of our partner communities, including college students, adults and parents
• Researching and producing fact sheets with up-to-date information about local and national sexuality education policies and other policies related to sexual health and justice
• Attending an Our Whole Lives facilitation training (one weekend)
• Bringing any of your favorite skills to the table! Think: cooking, making posters, event planning, writing articles, event turnout, you name it...

I’m really thrilled and excited about moving on to this next stage alongside three other trained facilitators, talented community organizers, and passionate sex education participants. I welcome and encourage any and all feedback, questions or other thoughts and feelings that you may have as you read this news.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Personal Goals for Summer 2010

At my new job, I’ve been doing a lot of lesson planning about how to guide adolescents through the process of setting and achieving personal goals. When I write activities, I always like to try them myself. So, please enjoy this initial brainstorm of my summer goals:

• Write more (and post it online; hence this post)

• Demonstrate engagement and success at work

• Achieve and maintain physical health in body-positive ways

• Plan a wedding (the wedding of myself and my partner, to be exact)

• Review the statistics that I learned in college

• Launch a Sex Ed Team at the center where I’ve been teaching

• Strengthen my relationships with my partner, friends and family

All right! That’s a nice list. I’m pretty sure I have a to-do list somewhere, but that’s quite different from a set of overarching goals. Remember that this list is just a brainstorm, and I haven’t prioritized or expanded upon any of these goals. But I’m glad to share them.

I’ll elaborate on the first goal right now. I want to write more. I haven’t posted on this blog in month! I apologize profusely. At the same time, I want to validate that not every time of life is a time for writing. Some times are times for doing and speaking and listening and sleeping. The last few months of this spring, I was reading a lot and feeling a lot and thinking a lot, but I wasn’t pulling it together in writing. Over the course of this summer, I hope to express some of what I’ve been thinking about. But what do you want to hear? This blog is, in a large part, of course, for myself—but I’m also at the point at which I encounter about 5 topics each week about which I would love to write, and clearly they’re not all getting on here.

Do you want to hear my responses to other blog posts about sex ed and related issues? Do you want me to comment on the news? Do you want my reflections on my personal processes? More thoughts about education and how to teach this stuff to teenagers? More about politics, or about personal lives? I’d love some input and guidance.

In addition, I’d love to do some writing about the personal goals I listed above. Are there any of those that you’d like to hear more about? Do you have any suggestions or feedback for me as I explore these goals? Is there anything that I should be working on at this time that I blatantly missed? It’s just a brainstorm, so please forgive me if I did!

Well, I’m glad I started writing again, and I look forward to writing my second summer post next week.