On Monday night, our youth facilitators had their first training session for Prevent & Prevail. For the next three Mondays, they’ll be meeting to talk, train and prepare for this fall’s Prevent & Prevail sessions. At Prevent & Prevail, they’ll be hosting discussions for other youth about HIV prevention and related topics, providing a safe and informed space for young people to get the resources they need to help curb the spread of HIV among adolescents and young adults.

The first training was full of laughs, good questions and moving testimony. Jorge Guzman began the training with a history lesson on the beginnings of HIV and the AIDS crisis, through the lens of his own work in the 1980s and 1990s with AIDS activist organizations in San Francisco. He spoke of the grassroots effort it took to support the first generation affected by the disease, of the difficulty of finding any support or help at all and the ways the community rallied when government and the medical establishment left sufferers behind. The work he and his friends and colleagues did in those days is nothing short of extraordinary, and it provided both context and inspiration to the work we hope to accomplish at Prevent & Prevail.

Next, Fiona Chamness and Jennifer Pan gave a short presentation on the idea of the spectrum as it relates to sexuality and gender identity, and all the different ways we have of conceptualizing orientation, gender and attraction. The more you think about it, the more complicated it becomes, and the youth facilitators asked smart, challenging questions that helped further understanding and push the conversation forward. These are some of the hardest questions for youth to find informed, compassionate spaces to bring up, and we look forward to the discussions the facilitators will be able to host about them during Prevent & Prevail.

Next week, we’ll be hearing from Jim Toy, one of the foremost TGLB activists in the Ann Arbor area, and talking about relationships and communication. We can’t wait to let you know what happens, and we can’t wait to see how Prevent & Prevail grows and expands this year. Talk to you soon!

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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