Youth Sexual Health Program
Working together as your organization’s vested strategic partner, Trailhead Institute’s goal is to become a trusted, centralized, multi-sector, go-to resource for youth sexual health, education and resources across Colorado as a way to connect initiatives, dismantle silos, and build seamless synergy across health topics. We operate and implement programming based on the belief that every young person has the right to receive medically accurate information so that they are empowered to make informed decisions about their own sexual health.
In 2018, Trailhead integrated the Youth Sexual Health Program formerly housed at Colorado Youth Matter (CYM) into its larger scope of work after CYM announced it would be closing its doors in December of 2017. Trailhead began this integration process by initiating a comprehensive, multi-sector environmental scan in January of 2018 that engaged stakeholders, organizations and young people most connected to and impacted by the youth sexual health field. This scan determined how to move the work forward in Colorado, identifying numerous priorities for Trailhead. These priorities included:
- Advancing statewide access to comprehensive sex education program implementation
- Ensuring statewide coordination and partnership building among clinical and community providers engaged in youth sexual health education and care provision
- Developing a centralized repository of youth sexual health resources and clinical and community services available across the state
- Advancing integrated and authentic youth engagement
- Advocating for and securing long-term, multi-year funding
Through our Youth Sexual Health Program, we support organizations, collaboratives, communities and school districts in increasing access to comprehensive sexual health education for young people using an approach that is collaborative and community-driven. This white paper details that approach and provides information on how your community can become engaged in our work.
Youth Sexual Health Program Board
Beginning in 2021, Trailhead embarked on a process to reimagine the next iteration of the State of Adolescent Sexual Health Report (SASH) in partnership with Tomei Kuehl (Consulting Within Your Context), Talia Cardin, and a Youth Sexual Health Program Board comprised of young people and adults who together have intentionally developed anti-oppressive recommendations to inform youth sexual health work across Colorado. The next iteration of the SASH report is slated for release in fall 2022.
Our partnership with Talia, Consulting Within Your Context and the Youth Sexual Health Program Board has brought us incredible joy and we are grateful for the knowledge and lived experience that the Board has brought to this work. This incredibly smart group of people may be available for consultation and we encourage folx to reach out and connect with members of the Board directly. Please keep in mind that their time and expertise would need to be paid.
Youth Sexual Health Program Board Members
América is a first generation college graduate who works for COLOR and supports Immigrants and Latinos to organize and help understand how the systems work because systems were not created for them. América is interested in bringing their experience as a first generation immigrant and sexual/reproductive advocate to this space.
Public policy, social justice and advocacy are important to Apryl’s work. Apryl teaches forensic psychology at DU, a historically white university, and holds expertise in trauma-informed and culturally-informed practice. As a Black woman, she works for survivors of sexual abuse and trauma and with youth who cause harm, with the goal of making safer climates for all.
Arianna works at Voces Unidas for Justice and values youth having access to resources that are inclusive and equitable. She believes in a two-generation approach to build community. Arianna identifies as a healer and brings lived experience and connection to community to the Board.
Carlee is a science teacher at AUL Denver and enjoys teaching sex education from a science perspective. Carlee is a proud member of the AAPI community who believes in trauma informed teaching and elevating youth voice.
Darolyn is a Black cis woman, queer pansexual, human being, advocate, spiritually motivated person who believes in centering youth voice. She values sex education that centers all bodies and the many ways people identify.
Em is a Queer, disabled, neurodivergent, polyam, MA in counseling student at UCCS. They are currently working as a graduate research assistant on projects focused on culturally affirming mental health care for members of the LGBTQ+ and disability communities. Additionally, Em provides workshops/training on accessible sex ed, sex and disability, and LGBTQ+ competency both in sexual education and more generally, and polyamory/ethical non-monogamy.
Goddess Tyescha works at Inside Out Youth Services and has done high levels of research on the causes of sexual violence. Sex education is a good tool to limit sexual violence, but the real violence comes from societal norms and beliefs like toxic masculinity and heteronormativity. They desire to create a better space for queer folx within the work.
Isa believes in using art, dance, and movement to ground oneself in the body. Isa is a college student who never received any sex education and notes that many people in college have never received any sex education though it is implied that you have this information by this time.
Jace is a member of the queer and trans community. There was a lack of resources available to him and that is a big part of the reason he joined the board. Jace serves as a group facilitator for trans masculine identities and wants to create more resources and services for trans people in the community.
Jourdan holds a two-spirt Native identity with connection to their ancestors’ stories. There is a lack of sex education in their community, and everyone needs this information. Jourdan brings understanding of the connection between colonialism and binary thinking – understanding that there is not right or wrong.
Julissa is a Mexican/Native American who is exploring her Chicana identity. She is a high school student who feels self-conscious at school because of rape culture and wants to advocate for those who have been silenced.
Marcus is a man of color who has experience working on a project that looked at repeat victimization within communities of color. Marcus is a college student and brings that perspective to the Board.
Naliyah is a high school student and young mother who never had sex education. She is interested in sex education and believes that if she had access to this information, she would have been more prepared.
Shanae is a sexuality professional who values sex positive experiences and believes that comprehensive sex education must be pleasure based and pleasure focused. They are focused on QTBIPOC workshops, using inclusive language and an intersectional lens to make visible identities that are often invisible.
Starr is a trusted community advocate who is on the streets, listens to people, hears their experiences and provides HIV/STI counseling. Starr identifies as a trans woman and there is a lot of sexual abuse within the trans community. They bring lived experience and a focus on belonging to the Board.
Theo identifies as queer and that identity has often been locked out of sexual health education. Theo is a high school student who wants to see more representation in sex education and increased knowledge of queer people, including improved sexual health resources.
Trailhead and the Youth Sexual Health Program Board center pleasure and joy in youth sexual health and sex education. These values are guiding our work to redesign Colorado’s State of Adolescent Sexual Health Report. Explore how art, pleasure, and joy, are emerging in Colorado’s latest examination of the state of adolescent sexual health.
The Youth Sexual Health Alliance
Trailhead Institute has built a statewide Alliance of community-led organizations including educators, district administrators, health care providers, local public health departments, advocacy groups and other key stakeholders, in order to better coordinate our efforts across the state and increase referral linkages between schools, clinics, and communities. These coordinated efforts around youth sexual health include but are not limited to sex education and community engagement best practices. Join us! Contact Adrienne Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding membership criteria.
Explore the Resources Guiding Our Work
Through the Youth Sexual Health Program, Trailhead aims to serve as a trusted go-to resource for youth sexual health education and resources across Colorado. Included through the button below are a growing collection of resources that have been developed through or in collaboration with Trailhead’s Youth Sexual Health Program and inform our work across the state.
Contribute to the Youth Sexual Health Mapping Resource
Trailhead Institute hosts an online Youth Sexual Health resource map that features youth-positive comprehensive sex education, training and resources as well as youth sexual health services across the state. This resource aims to strengthen coordination between schools, clinics, and communities. If you are interested in adding your organization to this resource map, please fill out this form or contact Adrienne Gomez at email@example.com for information regarding criteria.
As Featured in Trailhead’s Newsletter
Learn more about the Youth Sexual Health Program through past newsletters.