During my years at Illinois State, I have been building my knowledge on various topics related to health, wellness, and sex education. My passion for these topics drew me into joining ISU’s Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT), which is comprised of student volunteers (from diverse backgrounds/majors) who receive continual training from Health Promotion and Wellness staff on different topics related to one’s well-being.
Our training prepares us to act as credible resources for faculty and fellow students as we aim to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles through assisting with campus and community outreach projects, staffing the ” G Spot ” – a portable wellness gazebo that provides information related to sexual health, and facilitating interactive educational workshops.
I have noticed the sexual health programs presented by Candor Health Education are very similar to sexual health workshops presented by SWAT, in terms of catering the curriculum to be age appropriate and also in the overall goals.
Here are some of the goals we hope to accomplish with one of our SWAT workshops.
- “Under the Covers” aims to have students be able to:
- Understand the definition of consent (and how the state of Illinois interprets this law).
- Learn about available resources on campus to assist with health and wellness needs.
- Distinguish between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
I believe that in order to keep children, teens, and young adults prepared, educated, and safe they need comprehensive, straightforward, honest, and up to date information.
Ongoing comprehensive sex education can cover various topics from puberty, diet, exercise, and mental health to unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sexual violence, and sexual assault/harassment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the time young people graduate from high school, 38% have had sex, 46% percent of sexually active students did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and 21% drank alcohol or took drugs before their last sexual intercourse.
According to the CDC, the benefits of starting sexual health education earlier rather than later will cause children to:
- Delay initiation of sexual intercourse
- Have fewer sex partners
- Have fewer experiences of unprotected sex
- Increase their use of protection, specifically condoms
- Improve their academic performance.
Aside from needing up to date scientific information, children also need peer/adult support. Establishing a safe and supportive environment for sexual education with students requires three main factors:
- School connectedness
- Parental monitoring
- Good parent-adolescent communication
Unfortunately, I have encountered many college aged students who experienced negative health outcomes because they never received sexual health education growing up. At the end of the day, kids/teens/young adults are ultimately going to be making these decisions for themselves, which is why it is important we give them ongoing education for the sake of their health, longevity, and wellbeing.
Written by: Maggie Lane-Health Education Intern, Candor Health Education