(15-21 years of age)
Young Adult & Teen Programs
RSP makes a commitment to reach out and incorporate the voices of young black female adults (15-21 years old) into the discourse of reproductive health. In the US, young black females between the ages of 15 to 21 are more affected by many diseases of the reproductive system than any other ethnic group in this age bracket. These diseases are often under-diagnosed and under- treated which can lead to significant health problems.
While our target populations are adult women and young adults, another concern for us at RSP is around the issue of early onset of puberty in young black girls. While puberty is not considered a disease — early onset of puberty in young black girls is another challenge faced by many black families. A recent study states that 23 to 40% of black girls between the ages of seven and eight years old are already experiencing early onset of puberty—through breast development and early menstrual periods.
Zines are self-published magazines that we use as a creative medium to engage young black females to address complex and difficult issues concerning reproductive health and diseases of the reproductive system. This girl-centered zine project works with young adults to help them prioritize their reproductive health and overall health at an earlier age—and to recognize that proper health care is a basic human right. They also learn leadership skills to become community leaders, activists, and organizers with the goals of promoting open dialogue, making demands of the health care system, and raising awareness around the lack of attention paid to diseases of the reproductive system that affect young black women. The peer educators provide workshops to their peers throughout Greater Boston.
The blog initiative is a peer-led social media project that prioritizes the voices of young black females to use social media as an on-going tool to foster dialogue between the peer educators and their peers on reproductive health/diseases and social determinants of health that make them more vulnerable to these diseases.