Thursday, February 14, 2013

Aspen-Sharing Knowledge and Saving Lives

   Aspen visits the U. Photo by M Barrett Miller

On Friday 8 February, Barbara Velatequi, Health Teacher at Newport HS, Bellevue, Washington (on left in group photo) brought herAspen students to visit Stella Gran-O' Donnell, MPH, MSW, Ph.D.c, School of Social Work, University of Washington, graduate level class, in order to demonstrate peer education.
The UW students were dazzled by the variety of teaching tools the kids use to teach about Diversity, HIV/AIDS/STI's. They were further impressed by the poise, confidence, knowledge and commitment that these high school students are making to a program that is educating, and saving lives, in their greater community.
Erick Seelbach (center of photo) U.S. Dept of Health, stated that these high school students have the best program in the country.
I agree!!
See my previous articles written after my first, and second, visits with these students. 
 135 students applied for one of the 26 positions on the Aspen team for 2013-2014. After a long review process that number dropped to 105. After more review there were 52 students left in the competition. These remaining students would share their desire to be part of the team in a fifteen minute interview conducted by Ms. Velatequi. (Present team members also go through this process if they want to continue with Aspen from year to year.)
26 sterling students have recently been chosen to represent the school and Aspen
Of concern to this wonderful program is present consideration by the state to drop Health Education, as a requirement, in 2017. Hopefully there will be enough outcry in our communities to continue educating our children in ways that honor their need to be truly educated.
* My articles, referenced above, have generated responses from all over the world. Many who write me are health care workers in the third world trying their best to help so many who are sick, or at risk.
They share their wish for any education in their communities.
When they read about young people teaching other young people they are overwhelmingly envious.
Saddly, I inform many who write me that this Aspen program is not the norm and that peer education, or any education, on topics that touch on sexual matters, gender acceptance, needle exchanges, birth control etc. are not allowed in many districts, or in many religious schools, throughout the country.
Until we collectively grow up, and demand better for our kids, we will hear statements similar to the following when one realizes they are infected.
"It just wasn't going to be me!"   
M. Barrett Miller
Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. 

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