When and Where

July 24-27, 2016 in Washington D.C.

Who

Organized by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands’ Peer Education Institute and Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the conference was attended by 31 Teen Councils in 13 states.

What

The summit included interactive sessions led by Teen Council facilitators and fellow Teen Council members, as well as lobbying and team building exercises.

Goals

  • To establish and use the collective power of Teen Council as a national Planned Parenthood peer education program
  • To build and share peer education skills that will benefit your peers across the country and throughout your lives
  • To build advocacy, organizing and civic engagement skills to further the mission of Planned Parenthood
  • To provide a clear path of continuing work and support for Planned Parenthood and the issues we care about
  • To cultivate diversity in the reproductive justice movement

Background

In 1988, a community educator at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands created a regular gathering of local teens for the purpose of gaining insight into the issues impacting youth most. The idea caught on, and other educators started creating similar groups. Eventually, teens began co-presenting with educators and shaping how sexual health information was delivered to their peers. This educational model of “peer-led sex ed” continued to grow, with Planned Parenthood affiliates implementing the program across the country, known today as Teen Council.

Each year, Teen Council peer educators collectively reach thousands of youth and adults in their communities, conducting educational presentations in schools, community gathering spaces, and health centers. Teens present on a range of topics essential to a person’s overall health and well-being, including consent, dating violence awareness, birth control methods, reproductive anatomy and physiology, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and healthy relationships. Research has shown that peer educators make a lasting impact on their communities, and are trusted sources of information for their friends, family, and peers.

This July, more than 150 youth representing 31 Teen Councils from 13 states came together in Washington D.C. for the first-ever Teen Council Summit, called Lift As We Climb. Presented by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands’ Peer Education Institute — an organization dedicated to assisting groups replicate and implement the Teen Council program — and Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the long-anticipated gathering allowed teens to build and share peer education skills and to advance their roles as community leaders and advocates with Planned Parenthood and the reproductive justice movement.