Helping Peers Through Sexual Health Education
Alana is a member of the Gaston Youth Connected Teen Action Council in Gaston County, North Carolina. She enjoys educating her peers and community members about abstinence, contraceptives, STDs, HIV, and a minor’s rights to access reproductive health services. Alana also helps her peers access comprehensive sex education programs and teen-friendly health care services in Gaston County.
What motivated you to join the Gaston Youth Connected Teen Action Council (TAC)?
I live in Gaston County, North Carolina, an area with a high rate of teen pregnancy. In school, I see so many young females who are pregnant and who seem to be challenged with balancing school and their personal lives. I decided to join the Gaston Youth Connected Teen Action Council (TAC) to raise awareness about and advocate for comprehensive, evidence-based sex education and teen-friendly health services in my school and my community.
Describe your work with TAC.
The TAC is the youth leadership team of the Gaston Youth Connected Project (GYC). GYC’s goal is to reduce the teen pregnancy rate in Gaston County by 10% by 2015. As a member of the TAC, I am trained and educated to promote safer sex and abstinence to the youth of my community. I help teens access sexual health education and health care services by passing out flyers, brochures, and business cards from our local Teen Wellness Center in the Gaston County Health Department to teens. I also plan events that educate teens on their rights as minors in North Carolina to access reproductive health care services and that encourage teens to talk to a trusted adult about their plans to be sexually active or remain abstinent.
What do you like about advocating for youth?
When I realized how much of a difference I was making by raising awareness and advocating about health care services and comprehensive sex-based education, it made me want to continue. I just absolutely love being a part of something that helps others. Making a difference keeps me motivated to continue preventing teen pregnancy in my community.