The YEAH! Network uses research, advocacy, and community education and collaboration to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health. By articulating a common agenda among diverse local, state, and national stakeholders, we are working to create an informed, empowered, and engaged response to teen pregnancy and sexual health disparities in Hampden County.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Advocacy Alert! Holyoke Residents call your School Committee Representative!

At the last meeting of the curriculum sub-committee, which addressed the need for a comprehensive science based sex education curriculum in Holyoke High School, school committee members expressed concern that comprehensive sex education was not something that voters wanted.  This is your chance to tell them different!

The next curriculum sub-committee meeting is this coming Monday, 5 April 2010 at Dean Technical High School (1045 Main Street, Holyoke, MA 01040).  The sub-committee meeting begins at 6pm.  We need your support to get the school committee to approve adoption of a comprehensive science based sexual health curriculum.

What you can do: 
  • Today:  Call your school committee member! 
    1. School committee members are elected by ward.  First determine which ward you live in.  Go to the Elections Division Website for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
    2. On this website, you will enter your street number, street name, city and zip code. 
    3. Click on "Find my election information"
    4. On the next screen, in the gray box under the red words "Where do I vote," your ward number will be listed. 
    5. Now that you know your ward number, you can find your school committee member's name and phone number by visiting the Holyoke Public Schools Website  
    6. School committee members that are undecided on the issue of comprehensive science based sex education include: Yvonne Garcia (ward 2), * and William Collamore (ward 6).  They NEED to hear your voice!  If you live in Ward 2, 5, or 6 we especially encourage you to call your school committee representative to express your views!
    7. Please, ALL HOLYOKE RESIDENTS, call your school committee representative and tell them that they should vote to support comprehensive science based sex education in the Holyoke schools.
      • Sample script:  Hello, I am a Holyoke Resident of Ward X.  I am calling to express my support for a comprehensive science based sex education curriculum in the Holyoke Schools.   Holyoke has the highest teen birth rate in Massachusetts and very high rates of sexually transmitted infections: something needs to be done to educate our children so that we can combat these issues.  The science based curriculum will give our children the tools they need to protect themselves, to live a healthy life, and to make smart decisions regarding sex.
  • Monday, April 5th 2010: Come to the school committee meeting!
    1. The curriculum sub-committee meeting starts at 6pm.  Come at 6pm! If the sub-committee votes to approve sex education, they will pass it on to the full school committee meeting, which begins at 7pm. 
    2. Let the committee members know that you, as a voter, support comprehensive science based sex education  Speak out: for the health of Holyoke, for the economic prosperity of Holyoke, and for a brighter future for Holyoke's children! 
    3. All are welcome - parents, teens, young adults: the voices of ALL Holyoke residents count!
We need YOUR help to ensure passage of the sex education curriculum.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to help you find your school committee representative, or to talk to you more about this issue.  

Thank you!  

*CORRECTION (April 9, 2010) We mistakenly included school committee member Davin Sheehan's name as undecided on the issue of implementing comprehensive science based sex ed.  Mr. Sheehan had decided to support CSE before the school committee meeting, indeed helped to educate other school committee members about the issue,  and was one of the members who helped to pass this effort.  Our apologies to Mr. Sheehan and to any reader's for this misinformation. 

WFCR: Holyoke Teens Want Sex Education (2010-03-24)

WFCR: Holyoke Teens Want Sex Education (2010-03-24)

On March 23, 2010, Karen Brown from WFCR aired a program discussing the issues of teen pregnancy and the lack of comprehensive sex education in Holyoke. Various teens, a school committee member, Holyoke Mayor Elaine Pluta and Dr. Sara Perez McAdoo are all interviewed. Please listen and let us know what you think!