Blog

Reflections

Reflections

By Executive Director Lisa Olcese
June 30, 2016

In light of recent events, I feel it necessary to offer a blog that is more reflective in nature and hopefully will spark some conversation and thought. On June 12th, 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 injured when fired upon by a lone gunman at a nightclub in Orlando targeting the LGBTQ community. On June 23rd SCOTUS declared a tie on President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive orders, not only sending thousands of immigrant families into an unknown flurry of vulnerability and confusion, but challenging the President's authority to execute executive orders. On June 24th, President Obama declared Stonewall Inn as a National Monument, the first national monument dedicated to the struggle for LGBT rights. On June 27th, the US Supreme Court struck down an extremely harmful law in Texas that aimed to restrict and ultimately close all abortion care clinics in Texas that would have caused women to travel hundreds of miles to receive this service.

PleasurABLE

PleasurABLE

By Ruthie Kolb, Training Manager
June 23, 2016

Students with disabilities are people.

While this is theoretically stating the obvious, often educators and caregivers shy away from acknowledging the sexuality of people with disabilities. This omission undermines the foundational tenant of their personhood. To educate the full health of people with disabilities, we must include and acknowledge them in our sexuality education.

Summer Luvin' Part 2: What About Health Services?

Summer Luvin' Part 2: What About Health Services?

By Stefanie Winfield, Senior Capacity Building Manager
June 16th, 2016

So your kids are done with school, and are fully embracing summer life - spending time with friends or love interests, staying up a little later and sleeping in a little more. You’ve already addressed sex ed outside of the classroom, and provided your kids with valuable resources for where to go for medically accurate answers to their sensitive questions. They are informed and prepared to make healthy decisions about their bodies.

While education is a big part of sexual health, it is not the whole picture - what about accessing health services?

Remarkably Normal

Remarkably Normal

By Lisa Olcese and Holly Ponton
June 8, 2016

On June 2, Holly Ponton, Capacity Building Manager, and Lisa Olcese, Executive Director, went to a performance of Remarkably Normal, a powerful documentary play about real people and abortion. “Soulful, funny and at times challenging,” the play featured interviews and stories submitted to the 1 in 3 Campaign, and put the human experience back into abortion – which is the first thing that gets – and stays – lost in the political clamor. Here’s their discussion about the experience.

Summer Luvin'

Summer Luvin'

By Stefanie Winfield, Senior Capacity Building Manager
June 2, 2016

The Summer. For students, this is the time when books get tossed in the closet or the dumpster, notebooks get recycled, backpacks get shoved under the bed and hands recover from typing and writing so much. For teachers and parents however, this is when we cross our fingers that at least some of the information that young people learned in civics class, language arts, biology and math are retained. For Colorado Youth Matter and our sexual health education partners, this is when we hope that, for their health and well-being, what students learned in sex ed sticks. Perhaps they are sharing the information they learned about how to avoid contracting an STI, or what affirmative consent is to their friends - our greatest hope is that they’re talking about their health, with peers and trusted adults, with accuracy and confidence.

Pride Talk!

Pride Talk!

By Executive Director Lisa Olcese
May 26th, 2016

June is just around the corner, which means National Pride Month is almost here too. As this important education and advocacy campaign picks up, there will be Pride parades, fundraising opportunities, and many ways to show your support for the LGBTQ (that’s “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning”) community. If you’re a parent and/or an all-around trusted adult, this and any “awareness month” can also serve as a great reminder to learn something new about the issue, make commitments to act, and have a more direct impact on promoting respect, curiosity and inclusivity among the loved ones in your life.

Yes, I’m saying it’s a great time to talk to your kids or the kids you care about.

Spotlight On: Lindsey Doe

Spotlight On: Lindsey Doe

May 11, 2016

Lindsey Doe, DHS, is a clinical sexologist, doctor of human sexuality, and online sex educator for a community of over 200,000 subscribers. You may have heard of her YouTube channel Sexplanations, designed to sex edutain the universe. Lindsey will be joining Colorado Youth Matter as a special guest speaker this October for our Raising the Bar conference.

"The List" and Its Impact

By Andie Lyons, Community Programs Director and Maximizing Success Project Director
May 4, 2016

Last week, Mathematica Policy Research, in collaboration with the Office of Adolescent Health, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the Family and Youth Services Bureau, released the most recent findings on effectiveness of Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs. In other words – “The List” has officially been updated!

Prevention: A Limited Approach to Sex Ed

Prevention: A Limited Approach to Sex Ed

By Executive Director Lisa Olcese
April 28, 2016

Every May for the last 15 years, communities from across the country have come together in renewing our commitment to unintended teen pregnancy prevention, while also recognizing the progress we’ve made. And there is certainly progress to celebrate! With the national teen birth rate down by more than half since the early ‘90’s, and Colorado’s teen birth rate down by 48% in the past five years alone, it is clear that our efforts are working. Still, disparities persist among young people, and we must continue to work with and talk and listen to youth, so that we can change the conversation around sex ed to one of promoting overall youth sexual health - as opposed to simply preventing negative outcomes.

Spotlight On: Al Vernacchio

Spotlight On: Al Vernacchio

April 21, 2016

Al Vernacchio is a nationally recognized sexuality educator, author, and speaker. Al will be a special guest speaker at Colorado Youth Matter's Raising the Bar Conference, October 14-15th, 2016.


1) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?


I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in first grade. I was fascinated with Sr. Edward Kathleen’s black roll book. Each morning she would open the book and to my amazement all our names were in it! She would call the roll and go down the list marking each student present or absent. Each morning when she called my name and put her mark in the book I felt like my existence has been noticed and validated. There was only a brief period of time when I didn’t want to be a teacher; that was in fourth grade when I wanted to be the Pope, but by fifth grade I was back to wanting to be a teacher.

Youth Action Day: Raising Young People's Voices

Youth Action Day: Raising Young People's Voices

By Adrian Nava, Youth Advocacy Coordinator
April 14, 2016

April 12th marked Colorado Youth Matter’s 8th annual Youth Action Day at the Colorado State Capitol. For years, CYM has been committed to engaging youth by hosting Youth Action Day, where students from across the state gather at the capitol to learn how to lobby, what the legislative process looks like, and how to talk to legislators. This year, CYM was excited to invite a small group of the most committed youth activists to engage with legislators in a productive conversation about policies affecting youth sexual health.

Keep on Asking: The Lifelong Learning of the Askable Adult

Keep on Asking: The Lifelong Learning of the Askable Adult

By Lisa Olcese, Executive Director
March 31, 2016

Studies show that having a trusted, or “askable,” adult is an important protective factor for young people when it comes to sexual health. Youth with an Askable Adult are more likely to delay the onset of sexual activity, have fewer sexual partners, use effective birth control when they do have sex, and avoid drugs or alcohol during sex. These are powerful results that can positively influence young people for the rest of their lives.

So if we know talking to young people about sex is so important, why do we still hear false assumptions like “talking about sex encourages sex” or “girls are more responsible for condom use than boys” or “boys will be boys” yet “girls need to be careful”?

The State of Sex Ed in Colorado and Beyond

The State of Sex Ed in Colorado and Beyond

By Liz McKay, Policy and Education Intern
March 3, 2016

The healthy development of young people is inextricably linked with access to comprehensive sex education. Although negative sexual health outcomes among youth have been declining for decades, controversy still exists over whether young people should be allowed access to comprehensive sex education within their schools. Coloradans overwhelmingly support it: 88% of youth and 85% of parents voiced their support in recent surveys. In response, Colorado lawmakers have supported the sexual health and wellbeing of young people by enacting a policy requiring all schools that choose to teach sex education to utilize programs that are comprehensive and science-based.

The Sexual Health Cliff Effect

The Sexual Health Cliff Effect

By Becca Bolden, Research and Evaluation Manager
February 25th, 2016

The “Cliff Effect”. What does it make you think of? Approaching a wall of rock that can’t be climbed? Being pushed towards the edge of a steep mountain? How about battling a system designed to only allow you so much progress before denying you the support needed to go further?

Sexting: A Scandal?

Sexting: A Scandal?

By Lisa Olcese, Executive Director
January 11, 2016

Sexting has been going on for years. According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, it first appeared as a term in 2007. This is the act of sending explicit messages or images via cell phone. Originally this was via text, but it quickly became an act of sending these messages or images via emails, social media messages and tweets as well. Most recently, there has been a lot of media attention on the topic of sexting among teens both in the US and abroad. These sexting “scandals” are far from scandals. 

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