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Empowering Youth: Celebrating Sexual Health Awareness

By YWCA Minneapolis
September 27, 2023
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In honor of Sexual Health Awareness Month, we’re thrilled to spotlight an inspiring collaboration between two of our YWCA Minneapolis Girls and Youth programs: Contact Plus and Girls Inc. Eureka! and Eureka! alumni, Louise Ba. These initiatives empowered youth with workshops that fostered a deeper understanding of sexual health, identity, consent and boundaries.

Summer Workshop Collaboration

Contact Plus facilitated workshops on identity, consent and boundaries for girls and gender-expansive youth during the Eureka! summer camp. During their summer collaboration, Contact Plus worked closely with Louise Ba, the recipient of the Philips Scholarship. Her project aimed to reshape the Healthy Sexuality curriculum around consent. Louise is a 2020 Eureka! graduate and former Contact Plus team member.

Watch Louise talk about her experience with YWCA Minneapolis.

As a former participant in the Eureka! program, Louise saw a gap in what was included in the curriculum and wanted to give back to a program she valued and loved. The workshops created a safe environment for students to ask questions and used a variety of art activities to explore identity, consent and boundaries.

Eureka! Alum, Louise Ba

Creating a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment

Using an identity wheel, the youth better understand their identities’ various intersecting parts. They created buttons with their names and creatively demonstrated an aspect of their identities that’s important to them. The youth brainstormed how power and privilege play a role in their intersecting identities, and they made collages representing their values and what they care about.

Then they dove deeper into gender expression, sex and gender assigned at birth, and sexual orientation. The youth made zines (mini magazines) to capture their understanding and express what gender and sexuality mean to them.

Louise worked with the Contact Plus team to develop and facilitate the last four workshops on consent and boundaries. The youth came up with a working definition of consent and how it shows up in our everyday lives and different social systems and relationships. They created consent stickers using an image, a drawing or a few words to communicate and share their thoughts about consent and why it’s important.

Identifying Personal Boundaries

The youth brainstormed the importance of boundaries, what they are, how to set them and who we can set them with. The youth created “consent cups” in a paired activity that helped them practice getting and giving consent by using verbal and nonverbal communication, asking questions, and paying attention. They ended the workshop series by creating and identifying their own list of boundaries. Throughout the sessions, students were able to receive resources and ask questions!

The cross-department collaboration was a good experience for both the Contact Plus team as well as the Girls Inc. team. We look forward to having more cross-departmental collaborations and supporting alumni who want to come back to enhance the program.

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