TMH Living Well: Healthy You class for preteens and teens provides helpful view on sexuality | CraigDailyPress.com
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TMH Living Well: Healthy You class for preteens and teens provides helpful view on sexuality

The Memorial Hospital

Building a Healthy You series

A community-led presentation providing education on puberty, anatomy, pregnancy, abstinence, birth control and sexually transmitted illnesses. Classes are at Colorado Northwestern Community College, Room 175 and include free pizza and door prizes.

• 6 p.m. Sept. 20 — High school students presentation. Students only.

• 6 p.m. Sept. 27 — Middle school students presentation. Parents welcome.

While it’s normal to feel funny about your preteens and teens turning into sexual beings, it’s best to acknowledge it is happening and expose them to factual information, rather than letting them rely on rumors and hearsay from their peers.

Building a Healthy You series

A community-led presentation providing education on puberty, anatomy, pregnancy, abstinence, birth control and sexually transmitted illnesses. Classes are at Colorado Northwestern Community College, Room 175 and include free pizza and door prizes.

• 6 p.m. Sept. 20 — High school students presentation. Students only.

• 6 p.m. Sept. 27 — Middle school students presentation. Parents welcome.

That’s the thinking behind a current three-part class series called Building a Healthy You. The series started with a parents-only night last week where presenters talked about how to avoid teen pregnancy and gave a preview of upcoming talks aimed at high school and middle school students. The talks are a community solution to provide sex education to students as the Moffat County School District does not cover it in their curriculum. Several local organizations have come together including physicians and providers at TMH, Northwest Colorado Health, Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center and Advocates Crisis Support Services.

“We will be covering a variety of topics in our classes for young people, including normal female and male reproductive anatomy, and facts on puberty. The group is also presenting on tools to wait to have sex, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases,” said TMH’s Dr. Elise Sullivan, who will be presenting to the girls on puberty and anatomy. Ken Davis, physician assistant at TMH Medical Clinic, will lead the discussion on anatomy and puberty with the boys.

The next two classes, scheduled for Sept. 20 and 27, are open to the public. The first is designed for high school students only. The second is slanted for middle school students, and parents are welcome to attend if they so desire.

“Our goal with the Healthy You classes is to give our young people skills and knowledge they will need in their adult lives,” Sullivan said.

In her talk on puberty, Dr. Sullivan will discuss the normal bodily changes both boys and girls can expect to experience. She’ll review how puberty usually starts in girls between the ages of 7 and 13, and in boys between the ages of 9 and 15, taking a few years to complete. Hormones, menstruation, and other results of puberty such as hair growth, acne, body odor, voice changes and emotional swings will also be covered. It’s a reassuring talk explaining what preteens and teens can expect with the hopes of easing any worries they may have about feeling normal. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

In her talk on normal anatomy, Dr. Sullivan will discuss how the male and female sex organs function and review problems that may occur, again arming our young people with the power to notice changes and understand the difference between what’s normal and what’s not. She will also review menstruation and how pregnancy takes place, reviewing ovulation and fertilization—and stressing that it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg.

A variety of local groups will also present on choices around abstinence, birth control and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. The beauty is that you as a parent can follow up the class with a discussion of your own with your pre-teen or teen. Being open and willing to talk — and especially listen — goes a long way to encouraging honesty from your teen.


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