Description of 2012 Campaign: The pressure for teens to have sex is apparent around prom time. Prom is a special occasion for high school students and studies show there is overwhelming pressure to engage in sexual activity. Teenagers are led to believe it is a rite of passage. The Female Leadership Academy (FLA), a project of ACT for Women and Girls put on an awareness campaign. “Don’t let a Hot Date turn into a Due Date” is an annual campaign to educate teens, high school teachers, school officials, elected officials and community leaders. The FLA participants made “safety kits” for prom and dispersed them after the dance. The “safety kits” included information on smart choices to inform young adults about being safe on prom night including information about suicide awareness, a date rape hotline, LGBT resources, clinic access and condoms.
Production and Education: FLA participants gathered on three occasions to prepare the safety kits. FLA Alumni received large donations of condoms from Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. The safety kits included information about suicide prevention, LGBT resources, clinic access, instructions on how to put on a condom, rape crisis hotline resources and two condoms. Over 600 safe sex kits were made for distribution. FLA members were thoroughly trained about reproductive health and justice issues.
Distribution: On the night of Visalia Unified School District’s prom, seven FLA participants and Alumni gathered in front of the Visalia Convention Center and handed out safety kits after the dance was over. Within 45 minutes, all of the 600 kits were distributed. FLA members were well received by the high school students.ACT has implemented the campaign for three consecutive years and has distributed over 20,000 condoms for this effort.
Aftermath: Each year a press release is distributed to media resources throughout the Central Valley. This year KMPH 26 picked up the story after the prom because a couple of parents were upset about FLA passing out safety kits. ACT received phone calls and facebook posts. Members of the FLA were questioned about their involvement. On a positive note, the community showed a super amount of support for the efforts. KMPH did a fair, well balanced story and portrayed ACT fairly showing both sides. The news coverage can be found: http://www.kmph.com/story/18170428/condoms-passed-out-after-prom
Involving the Community: Each year FLA members write letters to the editor to educate the community about issues they are passionate about. After a great deal of attention was placed on ACT, an FLA member wrote a letter to the editor in response to the campaign.
Don’t Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date by Ambar Rodriguez
When people reminisce about the good old days, they usually think back to their wonderful high school years. The glorious football games, the school chants, and of course the dances. Prom in particular is the dance of all dances. It is what every single teen looks forward to. It is glorified to the point where there are some high expectations for prom to be that moment that defined their high school social life. I attended prom a couple years ago and I know firsthand the standards that are set among teens themselves. From attending all the school dances and especially prom, I was well aware that many of my peers were sexually active. I actually knew 3 girls who became pregnant during the prom night scene. That is why the Female Leadership Academy a project of ACT for Women and Girls takes action through a campaign called Don’t Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date. They say there’s no rush! Make the choice when you’re ready!
Visalia Unified School District’s prom this year landed on May 5th. Safety kits were made and distributed before prom and also the night of prom. The safety kits included information about suicide prevention, LGBT resources, rape crisis information and condoms. For sexually active teens condoms are the best protection against STD’s and they lower the risk of unintended pregnancy. ACT for Women and Girl’s priority, is the health and safety of teens in Tulare County. They also believe that if you aren’t ready to have sex, being abstinent is the surest policy in preventing pregnancy or STD’s.
The controversy surrounding this campaign was a positive experience for many families and teens in Visalia. It opened up the doors of discussion and gave parents an opportunity to talk to their kids about their family’s values as it relates to sex. The campaign was to ensure that prom night was special with the choices that were made. In the end Don’t Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date, helped start conversations among teens, families and communities about how to keep teens safe and armed with the knowledge and tools to make informed choices.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 20:37