ACT for Women and Girls: Access to
contraception and sex-ed in Visalia, Calif
With prom season in full swing, many teens are worrying about which dress or tuxedo they'll choose.
Not the young women at the Female Leadership Academy (FLA) in Visalia, Calif. They're concerned about what's going to happen after the big dance.
Sex isn't something that teens typically plan for, not the way they make dinner reservations and place corsage orders.
But the pressure to have sex after prom is real, and its impact is undeniable. Just ask FLA alumna Ambar Rodriguez. She personally knows three young women who unintentionally became pregnant on prom night. The implicit "rite of passage" – and the unsafe sexual practices of her peers – inspired Ambar and her fellow leaders to act.
Now in its 4th year, the "Don't let a hot date turn into a due date" campaign" has distributed more than 20,000 condoms, included in safety kits along with information about suicide awareness, domestic violence prevention, reproductive health services and LGBTQ resources.
In much the same way that the Ms. Foundation trusts and supports the women who are most impacted by a problem to develop the solution, FLA, a project of Ms. Foundation grantee ACT for Women and Girls, empowers young leaders to create social change on the issues that are most important to them and their communities – like access to contraception and sex education. By providing leadership opportunities and fostering their growth, FLA is helping young women raise their voices and advance progress.
This work hasn't been easy. FLA continues to face criticism from members of the community opposed to comprehensive sex education. (In fact, California law does not require schools to provide sex education at all.) But they're shrewd in their tactics, understanding their legal rights to distribute safety kits on public property. And they're strong in their convictions, educating teens, high school teachers, school officials, elected officials and community leaders about the importance of preventing unintended pregnancies on prom night.
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ACT for Women and Girls
The Ms. Foundation celebrates FLA and ACT for Women and Girls for making a difference in a community that owes its youth access to birth control and sex ed.
Help empower young women across the U.S. to create social change