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JOIN SMART YOUTH

If you want to make a difference and help others while learning about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, then you need to join SMART Youth! You can come to any of our events around the city or come to one of our movie nights or Open Mic events. Check out our schedule to learn what we are doing or e-mail sync.nyc@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I am Woman

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, please join us THIS FRIDAY for a discussion on sex, gender, orientation, and what being a girl means to you.

Open to youth ages 13-24 who identify as female (cis, trans*, gender fluid are all welcome)

Date: Friday, March 27th
Time: 6:00-8:30pm
Location: MCCNY Charities
(446 West 36th Street- between 9th & 10th Avenues)
Transportation: 
A, C, E, 1, 2, or 3 train to 34th Street - Penn Station

There will be food, fun, and friends (both new and old)!


For more information, please contact Christina or Frances at (212) 289-3900 or email us at sync.nyc@gmail.com
 
 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

[Growing Up, Going Up] Just Take Me! Applications, Resumes, and Interview Tips

Continuing our “Growing Up, Going Up” series, we had the chance to discuss a very important part of growing up: resumes and job interviews. We've talked about the basics and techniques related to both resume building and interviewing previously in SMART Youth, but last Friday was a casual discussion about our personal experiences with creating a resume and getting a job.

To quickly recap, resumes are extremely important because they are often the first impression employers get of you. Employers can receive hundreds of resumes and applications for just one position (and will only look at your resume for up to fifteen seconds), so it’s crucial that your resume is the best it can be! This way, you can make it to the next step, which is the job interview.


Many people find the idea of a job interview daunting. This is because we often feel unprepared for what could come. We touched on the basics for interviewing, such as how to dress the part, but one great takeaway is remembering to relax and be yourself. Another takeaway is remembering that even though you are being interviewed for the job, you are also interviewing the job! If you feel that the job position or the setting is not the right place for you, you do not have to take the job.


Although thinking about resumes and jobs may be scary, it doesn't have to be. With good support (and the help of SMART Youth!), you can conquer both the resume and the interview! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

[Growing Up, Going Up] Help Me, BuzzFeed! The Myers Briggs Personality Test & You!


Last week, we started our new workshop series called “Growing Up, Going Up”, which is designed to prepare our young people for their journey into responsible adulthood. In our first workshop, The Myers Briggs Personality Test & You, we discussed our personality types and how knowing them could help us when we think about interacting with others.
There are many personality tests out there, but one of the most common is the Myers Briggs personality test. This test is a questionnaire based off of four theorized components of our personalities:
  • Extraversion/Introversion: These two indicate where you get your energy from. Extroverts draw energy from action and social interaction, while introverts draw energy from reflection and quiet alone time.
  • Sensing/Intuition (Sensing function): These two indicate how you perceive, gather, and interpret information. Those who are sensing prefer when information is based off of something concrete, detailed, or factual. Those who prefer intuition like when information is abstract and theoretical.
  • Thinking/Feeling (Judging function): These two indicate how you make rational decisions. People who are thinking types decide things using reason, logic, rules, and past experiences. People who are feeling types make decisions based on empathy, balance, and consensus.
  • Judging/Perception: These two indicate how people express either their Sensing function or their Judging function. Someone who is categorized as Judging likes things to be settled and complete, while someone who is categorized as Perceptive likes to leave things open.
All of these combinations create 16 distinct personality types.
Although these are theoretical, knowing your personality type can be helpful in learning about your preferred working style, the career path that would suit your personality best, and how you work with others. These personality types are also not set in stone, meaning that being classified as feeling doesn’t mean you don’t have moments where you are not classified as thinking. Use these as a guide to learning for about yourself.
http://www.businessinsider.com/best-careers-for-every-personality-type-2015-1
 
To learn more about the Myers Brigg test, and about each personality, check out these links:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Where Are We Now? NYC Sexual Health Education Overview

Last week, a facilitator from the Adolescent AIDS Program at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore visited SMART Youth to give a presentation on sex education in NYC. Since 2011, New York City mandates that comprehensive sexual health must be taught in public middle and high schools. This is a big win for those of us who have been advocating for sexual health to be a requirement in schools, especially in middle schools.

The only issue is that not all schools are following through with this mandate. While some schools have started including sexual health in school curricula, many have not. Even if they are providing comprehensive sexual health, there is no standard practice as to who is teaching it and how it’s being taught.



C2P (Connect to Protect) Bronx conducted a survey asking high school teens in the Bronx about their experiences with sexual health education in schools. The results showed that not only were many teens receiving sexual health education after they started having sex, but that the type of information they were receiving was not as comprehensive as we would hope. Most students were taught about HIV/AIDS, condoms, and sexually transmitted illnesses, but only 56% of youth surveyed were taught about teen dating violence, 37% were taught about communication, and 26% were taught about supporting LGBTQ youth. Our young people need more information in order to make healthy decisions about their bodies. Knowledge is power!


We were told of ways to get the NYC government to hold Department of Education accountable for this mandate. Using the hashtags #EnforceTheMandate and #RealSexEd4NYC while tagging your local city councilperson and Mayor Bill DeBlasio is one easy way to show that you’re concerned with the ways sex is taught (and not taught) in NYC schools. 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SMART Youth March & April Calendar

 
Join us this March and April for our upcoming workshops! March will focus on our journey into responsible adulthood, and April will focus on healthy eating and nutrition!
 
We are also having our annual Women & Girls' Day Event, "I am WOMAN" at the end of March!
 
We hope to see you all!

Thank you to everyone who came out to Something for Everybody!

Our Valentine's Day Event "Something for Everybody" was a success! We were able to tie in what we learned throughout the weeks from our Taboo Talks workshops by playing games such as Taboo Taboo, Truth or Dare, and Speed Dating using a Sexual Inventory Stocklist!
 
 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

[Taboo Talk V] Sex-R: Despicable Me – BDSM and Other Fetishes

We held our final Taboo Talk workshop, titled Despicable Me, about the world of BDSM and other fetishes.

We’ve posted about fetishes here on our blog before and explained what fetishes are and if it is healthy to have one or not.
Just to recap, the definition of a fetish “specifically refers to a strong sexual preoccupation with an object, material, or body part.” This object, material, or body part – the specific thing that is fetishized – often needs to be present, incorporated, or at least thought of in order for the person to reach sexual satisfaction. A fetish is a type of paraphilia, which generally “means compulsively responding in a sexual way to an unusual or socially acceptable stimulus."
For this workshop, we focused specifically on BDSM. BDSM stands for a combination of acts and philosophies: Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism.
 
BDSM involves role-playing with the behaviors of dominance/submission and by receiving or inflicting pain, humiliation, restraint, and other un-equal power dynamics. This role-playing can be situational (called a session), or can be long term (sometimes playing a specific role 24/7). There are many roles a person can play, including a dominant/top/master/dominatrix (this person does the controlling) and a submissive/bottom/slave/brat (this person is the one being controlled).
The key to BDSM is that all parties must consent to all activities and rules decided by each person, so much so that the motto of the BDSM community is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.” This means that activities must not cause unwanted or permanent harm, participants must be aware and sane to consent, and that all participants must consent.
Although many sexual acts (such as penetration) are included in BDSM play, not all play has to include them. Many activities like spanking, whipping, bondage, verbal degrading, etc don’t involve sexual activity.
 
We had some safety tips mentioned in our blog post about fetishes, but we’ll list them here again:
  • Do research on your specific fetish/paraphilia. What are the community’s philosophies? Do they provide support or resources on how to begin and how to be safe.
  • Be mindful of which communities (physical or virtual) you’re connecting with. If you feel like you’re in danger, that you cannot trust the people you’re with, or that they’re involved in illegal activities, you do not have to be a part of that group.
  • Establish rules of consent and safety with your sexual partners.  An example of this is using safewords. Safewords are specific words or phrases that are mutually agreed upon and used to let others know that we want to stop sexual activity. This is most commonly used in BDSM, where words like ‘stop’ or ‘no’ are not taken at face-value and are considered part of role-playing.
  • Be safe if you’re meeting someone from the internet. You can find great tips here.
What’s most important is that it be your choice to participate in BDSM activities if you want to, and that you are practicing them safely.

Resources: