Outreach & Education
WISE (Working to Institutionalize Sex Education)
WV FREE believes that youth deserve to be taught age-appropriate, medically accurate, reproductive health education so they can be equipped to make important decisions for their lives.
Working to Institutionalize Sex Education (WISE) is a national initiative working to support educators to offer comprehensive sex education (CSE). CSE is developmentally appropriate and provides students with information on relationships, decision‐making, assertiveness, and skill-building to resist social and peer pressure. CSE addresses both abstinence and medically accurate information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive health.
In 2012, West Virginia was selected to become a WISE state due to a favorable policy climate for CSE implementation. WISE in WV works to implement school-based sex ed in grades 4-12 and build the capacity within schools to sustain programming over time.
The West Virginia Board of Education requires Next Generation Health Education Standards to be taught to students including:
- Functions of the reproductive system
- Physiological and emotional changes due to puberty
- Influence of media on a student’s future sexual activity
- Refusal skills to avoid risky behavior or situations
- Predicting positive and negative potential outcomes when making health-related decisions
- Identifying and applying skills to prevent communicable (e.g. STIs, HIV/AIDS) diseases
- Decision making and goal setting skills
Options and Referrals Training
Health care and social service providers—nurses, physicians, counselors, social workers, case managers, and ministers—often serve as a critical link to getting women quality, compassionate care for a range of health care needs, including reproductive health care. Our experience working in health and social service systems has shown us that these same individuals are both willing and able to play an essential role around pregnancy options counseling and access to prenatal care, abortion, or adoption resources. These professionals often do not have the tools or support to assist women facing unintended pregnancy. This is particularly true of situations where a woman does not want to continue her pregnancy. Our training teams provide on-going follow-up support to integrate this training into work with clients and patients. We offer regularly updated resource lists so that health and social service providers always have the information needed to make effective referrals.
To learn more about this effective training and to bring it free to your professional site, please contact Anduwyn.
Sky's the Limit
“If the ‘Sky is the Limit’ how would you improve health for your peers and community?” – This is the question WV FREE asks a group of young people in McDowell county at the start of each summer’s “Sky’s the Limit” program at Keystone City Hall. Each participant has a different goal or project in mind, but everyone wants the same thing by the end of the summer: a stronger, healthier, improved community.
With the help of stellar parents, grandparents, and community members, as well as the support of an array of coalition partners, WV FREE and youth from McDowell County have completed two years of “Sky’s the Limit.” Each session works on developing leadership and decision-making skills, healthy relationships and lifestyles, and youth who are dedicated to civic engagement. The program is open to all youth in the area who want to participate.
The “Sky’s the Limit” program has the long-term goal of creating an environment that fosters healthy lifestyles and relationships and sustainable opportunities for youth. The program grows out of WV FREE’s reproductive justice framework, which is based in the idea that we should actively work toward a world in which all people have the education, opportunities, economic and political power, and self-determination to make healthy decisions for themselves and their future.