Let’s Talk About Sex

Let’s Talk About Sex

The Response for Teens outreach team took their talents to the Knapp School and Yeshiva recently to lead several workshops on Sexuality Education.

“We had the greatest time,” said Alyssa Robbins, Manager of Outreach and Community Education at Response. “The students were really responsive.”

Students at Knapp have emotional and/or behavioral challenges, so the team from Response worked closely with Knapp educators and staff to make sure their power points, videos and language were accessible, Alyssa said. All three of Response’s educators participated in the three-week program, rotating between middle school students and high schoolers. They used a format where the students could ask questions anonymously – which they did in droves – and the Response educators answered them for the class.

“It was fantastic,” said Lisa Haber, Clinical Department Supervisor at Knapp School. “It was really well-received by the students.”

The students would agree.

"It was very informative and welcoming to questions without shame or embarrassment,” said Sarai, a high school student.

Lou, another high schooler, added, "The sexual education class was not awkward whatsoever, very educational and interesting. The people were very nice and answered many questions I had about this topic." 

Lisa said the educators were enthusiastic and upbeat.

“For a topic that’s kind of uncomfortable and that people have a lot of feelings about, they were very matter of fact, but positive,” Lisa said. “It usually takes a trained educator to be able to work with our kids. They did such a great job.”

All the students learned about anatomy, while the middle school kids also learned about puberty and the high school students learned more about STIs, Alyssa said. Each session was a half hour, so the educators divided up the topics to keep everyone’s attention, she added.

“They’re also really careful about being inclusive to everybody,” Lisa said. “They used gender-neutral language and definitely made it feel like a really safe environment.”

Alyssa and Lisa both said they hope there will be more opportunities for Response to visit Knapp and educate the students on other important teen topics, such as substance abuse.

“It went so well and it’s so nice to work within JCFS and learn about other aspects of the agency,” Alyssa said.