At the start of every new school year, our Teen Council members attend a weekend retreat and participate in team building activities with peers from Indianapolis and Louisville. New and returning members learn about reproductive anatomy, discuss values, communication and more while having fun away from the busy city life most are used to. Here are thoughts from two of our Louisville Teen Council members, Madison and Meghan.
Hi! My name is Meghan Sharma, I am 16, and I am currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. I was drawn to Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council due to the fact that I’m quite passionate about women receiving adequate reproductive health care, as well as students receiving a complete, accurate and inclusive health
education. I find a comprehensive sex education crucial to prevent the contraction of STIs and to maintain sexual health.
As someone who aspires to work in the medical field as an adult, working with these issues now is important to me. Teen Council has provided an incredible way for me to have a voice in my community regarding issues that I am passionate about, as well as giving me an opportunity to share comprehensive sex ed with my peers. I was able to work on my skills as a peer educator at the retreat, where I bonded with other educators from my state and Indiana. I learned critical information about reproductive justice, anatomical facts surrounding vaginal and phallic health, and birth control methods. Overall, Teen Council is an incredible opportunity that I truly hope to continue to learn and grow from, and the retreat reaffirmed that for me.
No one at school taught me how to use a condom. No one at school taught me the history behind the reproductive rights I have (and don’t have) today. No one at school taught me that it is okay to talk about sex. It is okay to say no and it is equally okay to say yes — with protection. I learned so much on our Planned Parenthood Teen Council retreat, and that was just the beginning.
I joined PPINK’s Teen Council at the urging of a good friend, and I immediately fell in love. Even at our interview day in the application process, everyone involved wa
s so welcoming and so passionate about such important topics. I heard talks about consent, inclusive sexuality education, and healthy relationships—all concepts that need increased exposure in schools.
Since joining Teen Council, I have learned important, if not vital, information about sex ed. Comprehensive Sex Ed includes everything from healthy relationships to birth control to preventing HIV and STIs. Planned Parenthood seems to stop at nothing to educate our youth, and I am thrilled to be a part of that. As sex ed in schools continues to decline, I am proud to be on the Teen Council, fighting to keep it and improve it.
Teen Voices serves as a space for our peer educators to speak on topics important to them in the scope of sexuality education.