Blog

The Journey from the Inside Looking Out

The Journey from the Inside Looking Out

This blog was written by our intern, William Burse about his experience working with Colorado Youth Matter this year. 

I chose to join forces with Colorado Youth Matter (CYM) because being actively involved in the sexual health field is important for me to help others reach their full potential in whatever they desire to achieve, by following the pathway CYM has established around culturally inclusive and accurate sexual health education. The youth that come into contact with CYM have the opportunity to reevaluate, connect and push forward the movement so that other young people can speak up and break down walls and barriers for the present and future generations of youth to come. The educational resources and knowledge CYM provides for communities shows the importance of understanding why youth need to have a voice in their sexual health development.

National Spotlight on our Work with TOP®

National Spotlight on our Work with TOP®

Colorado Youth Matter’s work with the Teen Outreach Program® was recently highlighted by national partner Wyman. Read on to learn more about our work with TOP® and how you can get involved.

Colorado Youth Matter (CYM) initiated the Colorado Network for Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® in 2011 to make TOP® more accessible for organizations throughout Colorado. A state-wide organization committed to youth sexual health and access to opportunity for all young people, the organization now supports 23 TOP® clubs serving 350 youth in total. CYM plans to see TOP® continue to grow and reach more youth in need this year.

“TOP® helps our teens make better choices because it gives them two things: the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and the confidence in their own critical thinking to make decisions in their own best interest,” said a CYM partner facilitator.

Spotlight on... Rachael Brink Akay, Colorado Youth Matter Board Member

Spotlight on... Rachael Brink Akay, Colorado Youth Matter Board Member

What inspired you to join the board of Colorado Youth Matter?

I have always been an advocate for women’s rights, especially when it comes to reproductive justice. I was inspired to join the board of Colorado Youth Matter because it is the most influential organization in educating our youth about their sexual health so they are empowered to make the best decisions for themselves and grow into strong, confident adults who will continue the fight for reproductive freedom.

How do you spend your time?

I work part-time as a physical therapist in an occupational medicine clinic and spend the rest of my time caring for my 9 month old, hanging with family, and playing soccer with my long ago college teammates.

Guest Blog: STD Awareness Month, Get Yourself Tested!

Guest Blog: STD Awareness Month, Get Yourself Tested!

Guest blog post from Cori DePue 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have sat perched on the back burner of the American health care system for far too long. Sex education in American schools- at least those that offer it- are far from perfect. Even in relatively progressive towns and cities, students may not receive the knowledge and tools they need to lead healthy, sex-positive lives. Some sex education programs in the U.S. may focus solely on abstinence and fail to include important details on healthy sexual activity, fostering an environment that is not conducive to thorough discussion and inquiry by youth, especially when it comes to complex topics, such as STIs.

The terms STD vs STI are often used interchaneably, which is why you may come across both when reading about this issue. STD is used most commonly to refer to the collection of medical infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. However, people who become infected don’t always experience symptoms or have their infection develop into a disease, and that’s where the modern term “STI” comes from. Despite the fact that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention continues to use the term STD, at Colorado Youth Matter, we prefer to use the term STI for a few reasons. It is a good reminder that even if an STI isn’t showing any symptoms, you still may be at risk of infecting someone else. We also prefer the term STI because the word “disease” can be stigmatizing and can have negative connotations.

Comprehensive Sex Education is Saving You Money

Comprehensive Sex Education is Saving You Money

By Becca Bolden, April 4, 2014

We were excited to see a recent article in the Huffington Post stating not only that sex education programs are effective, but that they are also saving taxpayers money. The article cited a study that conducted cost/benefit analysis of the comprehensive sex education program Safer Choices. The study found that implementing the curriculum and having sex education in schools saved $2.65 in medical expenses and future economic activity for every dollar invested.

While this particular study only focused on one particular curriculum, comprehensive sex education programs have similar returns-on-investments because evidence-based comprehensive sex education programs all must meet the following criteria:

  • Delay the initiation of sexual behavior
  • Reduce the number of sexual partners
  • Increase use of condoms and contraception when young people do have sex

Guest Blog: Examine My Depth

Guest Blog: Examine My Depth

This week we are sharing a powerful blog post written by Colorado Youth CREATE member, Adrian Nava. Enjoy!

Examine My Depth:

Examine this depth because it hasn’t sprung from nowhere – my rage is not a fire hydrant that opens with a tap and strikes everyone close by.

My ache has been rooted and carefully harvested for centuries.


My rage is Mandela, King, Malcolm X, Corky Gonzales, Susan B. Anthony, and Dennis Goldberg.


Please tell me why my presence seems to be scrutinized by the public eye.


My misery lies within the hard cold walls of the daunting penitentiaries in which my people lie.

Spotlight on... Andie Lyons, Community Programs Manager

Spotlight on... Andie Lyons, Community Programs Manager

First off tell me about how you got involved in the sexual health field and what brought you to Colorado Youth Matter…

I guess I’d say I’ve been ‘peripherally’ involved with sexual health for quite some time, but few of my past professional experiences were explicitly within the field until now. In almost all of my roles, I have worked with young people to support them building strong and vibrant communities – and that has necessarily included talking about sexual health and sexual education, because its such a crucial part of who we are as people.
I was attracted to the Community Programs Manager position at CYM because of its emphasis on systems level change and focus on providing technical assistance to schools. I love the strategic work involved in rethinking systems, and building relationships through a technical assistance relationship is one of my favorite ways to rebuild those systems!

What 3-5 words would you use to describe your personality?

Determined, hopeful, strategic, funny!

Federal Funding Update from the President's Budget

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget was recently released and has some great news! The budget includes the reauthorization of PREP and funds for DASH evaluations. And for the first time ever, the budget does not include abstinence-only-until-marriage funds and does not reauthorize Title V funds going to abstinence-only funded programs. Creating the official federal budget is Congress’s job, so the President’s budget is largely symbolic; however it sets an important tone and commitment about where our nation may be headed regarding funding for sex education.

Join Colorado Youth Matter for the Colfax Marathon on May 17-18, 2014

Join Colorado Youth Matter for the Colfax Marathon on May 17-18, 2014

We are so excited to be participating as an official charity partner in the Colfax Marathon and there are lots of different ways you can come out and show your support for Colorado Youth Matter during the Colfax Marathon weekend!

Saturday May 17th: Start the weekend off with the Colfax 5k in City Park - easy and low-key, walker-friendly, stroller-friendly and dog-friendly!

Sunday May 18th: So many events to choose from! The full marathon (26.2 miles), the half-marathon (13.1 miles), the 5-person team marathon relay, and the Urban 10-miler. We still have spots open for a CYM marathon relay team, contact Becca if you’d like to join that group.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness

This month we are joining the movement to raise awareness about teen dating violence, an important issue for young people. At times it can feel like teen pregnancy prevention and dating violence are separate issues, without much in common. However, once we start talking to one another to form partnerships, we begin to see the connection. It all fits under the umbrella of sexual health and well-being – having safe, healthy relationships with communication and trust is a key component to sexual health.

A lot of our data and research is focused on teen birth rates and sexaully transmitted infection rates, though rates of sexual assualt and dating violence add an important layer in understanding sexual health as a whole. As many as one in three teens reported experiencing some kind of dating violence in current and/or past relationships in a national survey. Dating violence can consist of physical abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, sexual abuse and digital abuse. Digital abuse is a fairly new kind of abuse that is only beginning to be understood, especially by adults and prevention specialists. It means using technologies and/or social media to intimidate, harass, or threaten a partner.

Guest Blog: Rape Culture, an Everyday Challenge

Enjoy this guest blog post from Colorado Youth CREATE member Bre Whitaker!

What is rape culture? Is it a new dialect that researchers alike have studied and tested through social-interactions? Is it just another, “uptight” feminist perspective digging up new short-comings of men? These are the many questions people might ask as it is addressed more frequently today.

Rape culture is simple. It stems from language and actions that without conscious thought, maintain insensitivity toward sexual assault in our society. Rape culture is attitudes that normalize, excuse and even tolerate rape. Some examples of how it is manifested into our everyday behaviors and interactions are: blaming the victim, making light of sexual assault with jokes, and denial of rape accusations. Unfortunately, the list could go on. Here are some examples of what I have heard from: “Man, we are about to get raped!” He (friend of a friend) said, while playing Black Ops 2. And, “Now I know what it feels like to be raped. My bio test killed me.”

Access and Opportunity Go Hand in Hand

Access and Opportunity Go Hand in Hand

As the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy points out in their recent blog post, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson declaring a War on Poverty, and we’ve seen lots of interesting analyses over the last month summarizing what has changed in the last 50 years, and what work we still need to do. We felt inspired by the National Campaign’s blog, and we too wanted to weigh in on this conversation, as access to opportunity is a critical aspect of our mission. Child poverty rates are still nearly as high today (22%) as they were 50 years ago (23%) and the response to this has often been emphasizing marriage and stronger partnerships, while placing blame on individuals who aren’t in a stable relationship and thus not ready to parent. However, that approach hasn’t had the desired effect, and nonmarital childbearing rates are rising rather than falling.  So amidst the disheartening statistic about child poverty rates, we are very excited to now see an emphasis on preventing unintended pregnancies, especially through the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC).

Guest Blog: Education in the USA

Guest Blog: Education in the USA

Check out this guest blog post from Best Education Degrees about where states rank in different educational areas, including teen pregnancy rates. See how Colorado compares in different areas - is it what you expected, or are some of the rankings surprising?

Education is different in every state. From local factors to state requirements, every state has different results when it comes to educating our kids. Best Education Degrees has created an infographic entitled, “Education in the USA” detailing just how efficient our education systems are. Where does your state rank? Take a look!

Guest Blog: Latinas Increasing Political Strength

Guest Blog: Latinas Increasing Political Strength

Check out our guest blog post from our friends at COLOR about their LIPS program....

Do you know a young woman passionate about her community between 16 and 21 years old? Are you interested in learning how to be an effective advocate for the issues that matter to you and your community? Or, maybe you would be interested in being a mentor for young girls learning how to be an effective advocate for the issues that matter to them and their community?

LIPS (Latinas Increasing Political Strength) is a leadership institute open to young women between 16-21 years old in the Denver metro area. The institute has been designed for young woman to explore their voice and build power to transform their future. LIPS offers participants tools that are culturally relevant and community-centered, as well as an opportunity to engage with and learn from local advocates, activists and leaders. Through LIPS and the mentorship program, COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights) strives to create stronger and more intentional leadership development pipelines through the concepts of mentorship, education, organizing and advocacy.

Spotlight on...Shannon Sainer, Senior Consultant

Spotlight on...Shannon Sainer, Senior Consultant

Many of our friends and colleagues have worked with Shannon over the 7 years that she has been with Colorado Youth Matter. She has recently made a transition to working part-time as our Senior Consultant, and we thought we’d give her the opportunity to share with you what that means for her, personally and professionally.

First off tell me about how you got involved in the sexual health field and what brought you to Colorado Youth Matter…

I first started working in sexual health in the Peace Corps in 2001. I was a health volunteer working with teens and they weren’t too interested in malaria and dengue prevention. Not surprisingly, I found teens were much more interested in learning about and discussing sexual health, relationships, etc. I fell in love with this field then, and haven’t stopped loving it. I came to Colorado Youth Matter from Indiana, where I had been working on a grant that Colorado Youth Matter (at that time, COAPPP) had also received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With this grant in common, I was able to meet and work with CYM’s former ED, Lori Casillas. My partner and I wanted to move back to Colorado, so I pursued the opportunity to work with CYM. At that time Colorado Youth Matter was a fledgling organization. It has been an incredible experience to be part of an organization that has grown and strengthened – and I have grown with it. It’s been the most amazing professional development I could have ever asked for. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work and grow with Colorado Youth Matter and all of our colleagues and partners.

<<  1 2 3 4 [56 7 8 9  >>