Project for Teens (P4T) mission is to encourage healthy and responsible decision making by youth through peer to peer education.
Project for Teens (P4T) mission is to encourage healthy and responsible decision making by youth through peer to peer education. P4T seeks to foster a sense of connection between middle school and high school students and reinforces the notion that it is okay to say no to sexual activity. It provides students with information and skills to prepare them for responding responsibly should they find themselves faced with an at-risk situation. P4T Peer Leaders serve as dynamic and positive role models to over 4,000 middle school students in the Greater Mankato area. The benefits of P4T are two-fold. First, younger students are given the information and skills they need to respond responsibly in situations that if they aren’t already facing, they will be shortly. Second, peer leaders are provided with their own peer network which helps to reinforce healthy decision-making among the older students as well.
P4T is a peer to peer education program that involves approximately 180 10-12th grade students from five Greater Mankato area high schools: East, West, Loyola, St. Peter, and Lake Crystal. They interview with the program director and school advisers to become P4T Peer Leaders, and if selected, attend a one-day training with their fellow peer leaders where they discuss various topics including healthy relationships, consent, sexual education, drugs/alcohol, vaping, bullying, social media, and physical and mental health. Once trained, peer leaders share these messages that promote healthy decision making with fifth–eighth graders through various methods including small group discussions, skits and role-playing. Community discussions and presentations are provided as well.
Project for Teens Guiding Principles
Project for Teens affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. Human sexuality encompasses the sexual knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors of individuals. Sexuality is influenced by ethical, spiritual, cultural, and moral concerns.
Sexuality education is a lifelong process that begins at birth. Parents, family, peers, partners, schools, religion, and the media influence the messages people receive about sexuality at all stages of life. These messages can be conflicting, incomplete, and inaccurate.
Parents are–and ought to be–their children’s primary sexuality educators, but they may need help and encouragement to fulfill this important role. Religious leaders, youth and community group leaders, and health and education professionals can complement and augment the sexuality education that takes place at home.
School-Based Sexuality Education
Comprehensive school-based sexuality education that is appropriate to students’ age, developmental level, and cultural background should be an important part of the education program at every grade. A comprehensive sexuality program will respect the diversity of values and beliefs represented in the community and will complement and augment the sexuality education children receive from their families, religious and community groups, and health care professionals.
Adolescent Sexual Health
Becoming a sexually healthy adult is a key developmental task of adolescence. Sexual health encompasses sexual development and reproductive health and such characteristics as the ability to develop and maintain meaningful interpersonal relationships; appreciate one’s own body; interact with both genders in respectful and appropriate ways; and express love and affection in ways consistent with one’s own values.
Adolescents should be encouraged to delay sexual behaviors until they are physically, cognitively, and emotionally ready for mature sexual relationships and their consequences. They should receive education about intimacy; sexual limit setting; resistance to social, media, peer, and partner pressure; the benefits of abstinence from intercourse; and prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections/diseases. Because research studies indicate that many adolescents are or will become sexually active, they should receive support and assistance in developing the skills to evaluate their readiness for mature sexual relationships as well as prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections/diseases.
Parents/adults can encourage adolescent sexual health by providing accurate information and education about sexuality, fostering responsible decision-making skills, offering support and guidance in exploring and affirming personal values, and modeling healthy sexual attitudes and behaviors. Society can enhance adolescent sexual health by providing access to comprehensive sexuality education; affordable, sensitive, and confidential reproductive health care services; and education, enrichment, and employment opportunities.
Source: Significant portions of this text were borrowed from the Position Statements of the Sexuality Information and Education Center of the United States (SIECUS).
Adopted May 2008