Although teens are on the path to adulthood, they’re still at an age where decisions are often made for them. They’re told where to go, who or who not to hang out with, and what to learn at school. After 25 years of serving youth, North Star Youth Partnership, a program of Catholic Charities, understands the value of making students active participants in their own education.
North Star Helps Youth Create a Brighter Future
The North Star legacy began in the late 90s when Senior Program Manager Diane DeLong was hired to implement a teen pregnancy prevention program. What started as a program to bring attention to teen pregnancy soon transformed into a mission to help youth be healthy and self-assured in all areas of life.
Today, North Star has expanded to include 15 different programs in Coconino, Maricopa, and Yavapai counties. These educational, recreational, leadership, and service-learning opportunities nurture youth and encourage confidence and positive choices.
Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Teaches the Facts
North Star’s Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) isn’t a typical sex education program. SRAE teaches middle and high school students to approach their questions about sex with curiosity rather than embarrassment.
SRAE provides teens with medically accurate information that’s inclusive and non-stigmatizing. Students learn the risks of non-marital sexual activity, including sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and emotional impacts. But SRAE also involves students in discussions about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, setting boundaries, self-esteem, goal setting, decision making, and avoidance of risk-taking behaviors.
Students Show Their Gratitude
There's something about SRAE and North Star’s other programs that touches youth and truly speaks to them. It’s not uncommon for North Star educators to hear positive feedback from their students. One eighth grader said, “Thank you so much. I did not know it is okay to say no.”
SRAE is just as informative and engaging for high schoolers as it is for middle schoolers. “Thank you for helping me discover a path to reach my goals. I never really thought about them like this before this class,” said a 10th grade student.