Last night, DTMAC hosted the first official session of Prevent & Prevail, our comprehensive, peer-facilitated HIV/AIDS prevention program. After weeks of preparation and practice, and an introductory meeting for participants, we were finally ready to begin. Our teen facilitators came in with a lot of energy and excitement, a little bit of nerves, and the support of the chaperones and of Gail and Jorge.

After introducing everyone, we divided our group of participants by age and hosted discussion sessions to go over our grounding vocabulary – the words and terms we use to talk about HIV and other STIs along with gender, sex, sexuality and identity. The facilitators also worked with participants to develop their own set of ground rules and create a group agreement to maintain a conversational space that feels safe, open and healthy. Having the freedom to develop and contribute to that agreement helps participants to own their own space and encourages them to hold themselves and their peers accountable for sustaining a respectful and compassionate environment.

The session went really well! The participants were all able to articulate the new knowledge they were walking away with, and a lot of healthy first steps were taken towards creating the kind of rapport between facilitators and participants that is going to make Prevent & Prevail successful. Facilitators and chaperones met after the session with Gail and Jorge to reflect and plan for next week. We’re excited to dive deeper into all our topics, and we look forward to keeping you updated.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

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