From ARC Ohio – Toledo
For the second year in a row, AIDS Resource Center Ohio’s youth programs, “Protecting our Youth” and “GET WITH THE PROGRAM!” have been recognized and rewarded by Youth Leadership Toledo with a grant from the awe-inspiring group at “YIPEE,” Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence!
YIPEE is a collection of Youth Leadership Toledo graduates who come together twice a month to “establish a foundation of lifelong commitments to leadership, volunteerism and philanthropy” by identifying issues affecting local teens, holding fundraisers & collecting donations, and ultimately donating money to non-profit organizations who are actively working towards solutions!
AIDS Resource Center Ohio’s Toledo-area office provides programming for both general youth populations and youth who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Ally. Each component focuses heavily on the essential need for education and acceptance of ALL people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., as a tool for HIV prevention amongst high-risk populations. YIPEE has so generously honored these efforts with grants in the amounts of $800 this year and $1000 last year!
All “Protecting our Youth” programming promotes abstinence as the only 100% effective method to prevent HIV/STDs and teen-pregnancy, but also teaches necessary skills for available methods of protection and community resources for testing and treatment. Within POY is the eight-lesson class “GET WITH THE PROGRAM!” designed to assist GLBTQA youth by building skills to prevent the spread of HIV/STDs, as well as to promote the foundations of healthy relationships. GWP! uses a culturally relevant approach in a highly interactive presentation to identify the lasting risks and consequences of sexual activity and coercion, as well as focuses a large emphasis on self-preservation/self-esteem, social issues and individual-level mentoring to help youth rise above daily harassment and discrimination.
Both ARC Ohio youth programs have received rave reviews in the Toledo area, particularly from the amazing group at Youth Leadership Toledo and YIPEE, but perhaps the greatest triumph of our programming is the many GLBTQA youth who have attended “GET WITH THE PROGRAM!” multiple times to seek the comfort and refuge of the safe-space and affirming GLBTQA community provided. Not only that, but many youth, like Kirsten Lilly who attended the YIPEE Grant Presentation Ceremony both this year and last, attend GWP! to proudly educate other participants on essential skills and tools they become equipped with, making them “Peer Opinion Leaders” and walking illustrations of AIDS Resource Center Ohio’s efforts in the Toledo area to decriminalize and destigmatize comprehensive sexuality education, promote healthy relationships and empowerment and prevent HIV/STDs for all youth!