Outreach Team Highlights
The Beforeplay.org outreach team has had a busy summer this year! We have been out and about at events across the state talking with Coloradans at health fairs, bars, concerts, festivals and out at other hot spots. You might even of found team members at tattoo parlors, salons, restaurants or lingerie stores.
Here is one team member’s story of how she got involved with Beforeplay.org and a few of her favorite personal interactions she had at events:
I’ve spent much of the past 20 years as a professional sex educator…in the local county jail, in domestic violence shelters for women, in foster homes and transitional living centers for youth; in high schools, university, and community college classrooms, in churches for parent groups, at LGBTQ and Polyamory group meet-ups, and pretty much anywhere else I was asked to speak.
In 2009, I was asked to give input for a new website about sexual health, which would soon become Beforeplay.org. I was thrilled that a hub of information would be available for young adults about their sexual health. So much of what is out there is geared toward teenagers, yet we know that twenty-somethings have high rates of unintended pregnancy, along with typically (and understandably) complicated lives. Beforeplay.org was created specifically with the sexual health and education needs of 18-29 year olds, and I was so excited to be a part of that!
Once Beforeplay.org was ready to launch, we wanted to tell people about it! So, we got together some street teams and outreach workers to hit the streets (literally!) and share the word around Colorado. We flooded bars, campuses, tattoo parlors, dorms, and sports events with our free condoms, stickers, and other swag. People always ask me if I get a negative response when I’m out randomly bringing up the topic of sex with people. My response? Absolutely NOT! People are eager to bring discussions about sex out into the open and have adult conversations about how to stay safe. Young adults, this 18-29 year old crowd, are extremely thoughtful, smart, and eager to make the world a healthier place to be sexually active and safe.
A few of my favorite interactions…
A young woman with really cool fire-engine red hair stopped by a Beforeplay.org hosted booth at a music showcase last summer. She looked at a little model of an IUD (intra-uterine device, that is) and proclaimed, “NO WAY! I would never use that.” I asked her why, and explained that it’s one of the most effective and easy ways to prevent pregnancy. She shared that she had heard it was really painful to get put in and that she was too young to get one. I told her that I hear this ALL the time from young women, and that there wasn’t much truth to what she’d heard. After we’d talked for awhile, she felt armed with new information and actually said she was going to call a clinic the next day and talk with her doctor more about getting an IUD. Just one simple conversation was able to encourage her to think about birth control in a new way, and take action to think about her own sexual health in a new way.
A young mom stopped at a Beforeplay.org table at a health fair in Loveland, Colorado. She had a teeny baby in a Baby Bjorn carrier, one in a stroller, and the oldest (about 6 years old) impatiently tugging at the baby’s foot. She was curious about birth control, stating her doctor hadn’t really mentioned what her options were and that she wasn’t sure what to ask. We talked about whether she wanted to have any more children and when (she said “definitely NO TIME SOON!”) and what kinds of questions she could ask her doctor. We talked about the most effective types of methods and she felt confident that she could make the best choice AND had some tools to talk with her doctor about. I directed her to the Beforeplay.org Birth Control Method Selector tool for more information.
September 15, 2015