Peer sex educators serve as valuable resources

Coach Carr from the movie Mean Girls once said, “don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!” Sex has remained a taboo subject for many.

     While students at the school have more sex education than most at most educational institutions, there are still unknowns that many feel uncomfortable asking adults about. Brianna Pomonis ’16, a teen advisor for MyHealth, says “students Google little questions such as ‘Am I going to bleed out the first time I have sex?’”

     These Googled questions aren’t limited to sexual intercourse; they range from maintaining healthy relationships to creating positive self-image. Although there are superb online resources such as KidsHealth or Go Ask Alice, there are also many misleading ones, which can cause concerns and anxiety. So, what are some credible resources that are intimate and confidential? You can ask   sexperts Pomonis or Ruby McCallum ‘17 for guidance.

Ruby McCallum '17, above, is an active member on Planned Parenthood's Teen Council. Read more about the group here.
Ruby McCallum ’17, above, is an active member on Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council. Read more about the group here.

     McCallum has worked for the Planned Parenthood Teen Council since her sophomore year. She improves her knowledge about sex education and presents that information in local classrooms.

     McCallum says conversation with women in her life, who have felt a lot of shame and embarrassment about their sexuality, inspired her to become a member of the Teen Council. McCallum says this shame is “something that I feel too.” However, being a part of the Teen Council makes McCallum happy, because she can educate herself and others about the topic without shame or stigma.

     When asked how students can have constructive conversations about sex, McCallum said, “just be open and understand that what you’re going through, others are too. You’re not alone, and it’s okay.”

     A similar local organization is MyHealth. The clinic provides both sex education and general health care, ranging from mental health services to reproductive care.

Brianna Pomonis '16, above, participates in MyHealth Clinic's Youth Advisory Board. Read more about the organization here.
Brianna Pomonis ’16, above, participates in MyHealth Clinic’s Youth Advisory Board. Read more about the organization here.

     Pomonis attended Catholic school prior to Blake, where, she says, “sex was very hush-hush.” In contrast to this culture of silence, Pomonis works to help the student body learn how to have safe sex; when they need help, Pomonis thinks that it is her responsibility, as a teen advisor, to inform curious and confused students alike.

     Beyond peer educators, there are a multitude of organizations available for support outside of the school. McCallum talked about organizations such as FamilyTree or MN Health Partners that can serve as additional resources. Pomonis mentioned Teens Alone, which provides various services to youth.

     “I think it’s important for people to know the facts and know that they have options,” Pomonis concludes.

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