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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today is World AIDS Day. It's a time to remember all the people that are no longer with us, and an opportunity to share information with others. Take the time to talk about what this day means with someone in your life!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Open Mic Night - Friday October 28th

Come this Friday to SMART Youth for our Open Mic Night! There will be food, metrocards and fun for all youth, ages 13-22. Details are below:

Date: Friday, October 28, 2011
Time: 6:00pm-7:00pm
Place: SMART's office -- 1751 Park Avenue, 4th Floor
(Between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Transportation: 4/5/6 to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue

SMART Youth's Halloween Party

Great job everyone! Our 7th annual SMART Youth Halloween party was a great success! Thanks to SMART's staff, SMART Youth, our wonderful volunteers and Harlem RBI for being amazing leaders. A special shout out to SLATE, DJ Ski and Nick & Alicia -- our amazing MAC Make-up Artists. Pictures to come... get ready for next year!

SAY Something!

Exciting news! SAY is now a part of SEANYC - Sex Education Alliance of New York City! We are joining a group of amazing organizations working towards our goal of comprehensive sex education for all students in NYC's public schools. Stay tuned for more news about upcoming events and ways to get involved!

Why is Sex So Scary?

If you've been watching the news or reading the newspaper recently, you've read about organizations fighting the new Department of Education mandate. Here's a great article discussing the issues surrounding the controversy: Check it out and get SMART!

SAY Supports the new mandate!

As of August 2011, the NYC Department of Education will have sexuality education as a mandated component of their health education curriculum for middle school and high school students. SAY's (SMART Action Youth) goal is advocate for comprehensive sexual health education for all students in New York City, and this mandate is an excellent start in achieving our goal. We support the Department of Education's policy and hope to work with them in the implementation this year. Read more about the mandate at:

Monday, August 8, 2011

NiteStar Program

Calling all directors, actors, and writers! This is your chance to shine!
Over the next few weeks SMART Youth will be working with NiteStar to develop some short skits that we can perform when we go into the community. This Friday will be our first session.

We hope you will join us for the start of this exciting program!

Date: Friday, August 12th
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: SMART's Office
1751 Park Avenue
(Between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Transportation: 4/5/6 train to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue

Food and Metrocards will be provided.

"SAY" Advocacy Training Review: Examples of Advocacy

Review of Examples of Advocacy

What is Advocacy?

“Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.” (Alliance for Justice)

Activism and Lobbying are types of Advocacy:

· Activism – the action part of advocacy

· Lobbying – attempting to influence the decisions of officials

How to go about Advocating:

· Be gracious – always thank the person you are sharing with for their time

· Be professional – dress and act professionally

· Be focused – talk about one issue

· Do your homework – research the person’s position on the issue you will be speaking to them about

· Make a personal connection – let the person know if you have any friends, relatives, or colleagues in common; it is especially important to tell them if you are a constituent

· Consider yourself an information source – encourage the person’s questions about the issue and offer more information

· Tell the truth – do not provide false or misleading information

· Know who else is on your side – let the person know what other groups, individuals, state agencies, and/or legislators are working on the same issue

· Know the opposition – know the individuals and organizations that may be in opposition and be prepared to provide clarification and rebuttal

· Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something – but if you don’t know something, get the information and provide it promptly

· Be specific in what you ask for – say what you want directly and make sure to get a yes or no response

· Follow up – send a letter that restates your opinion and thanks for their support or asks for an explanation if they did not support

· Stay informed – policy decisions and legislation are constantly changing and it is important to stay up to date

· Don’t burn any bridges – do not get into a heated argument, it is more important to maintain a good relationship

· Remember, you are the boss – do not be intimated, the government works for you


Examples of Effective Advocacy (for Family Planning and Reproductive Health):

· Kenya – Youth Initiatives Project developed a campaign to show leaders that providing youth with health information and services could address many reproductive health concerns.

· Turkey – 17 women’s organizations formed a coalition to promote equality for women. Together they were able to obtain new government funding for contraceptives.

· The Philippines – the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines provided persuasive information about the benefits of family planning to refute the criticisms of religious groups who claimed family planning is “anti-child, anti-family, and anti-life”.

· Bolivia – A coalition of Bolivian family planning organizations developed a campaign to make the topic of family planning less taboo and to promote public discussion.

· Jordan – the Jordan National Population Commission focused on reaching male religious leaders, physicians, social workers, and other community opinion leaders in an effort to increase men’s approval of modern contraceptives.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"SAY" SMART Action Youth Advocacy

SMART Youth Presents SAY! Our SMART Action Youth Advocacy Series.
This Friday will be the final session of our training series. Together we will learn about some examples of advocacy from the past and present.

We hope to see you there!
Date: Friday, August 5th
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: SMART's Office
1751 Park Avenue
(Between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Transportation: 4/5/6 train to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue

Food and Metrocards will be provided.

"SAY" Advocacy Training Review: New York City Department of Education

Review of New York City Department of Education – Sexual Health Education

NYC Department of Education:

· Chancellor

-Appointed by the Mayor of New York City (currently Bloomberg)

-The current Chancellor is Dennis M. Walcott

· Leadership team

-This is composed of officers, deputy chancellors, and executive directors of the different divisions of the Department of Education

-We were unable to find any information about how these individuals are appointed or elected

· Panel for Educational Policy (PEP)

-This panel consists of 13 appointed members and the Chancellor

-Some of the members are appointed by borough presidents and others are appointed by the Mayor

· Community and Citywide Education Councils

-Members are parent volunteers (parents of public school children)

NYC Public School Health Education “Requirements”:

· Elementary School

-Health Education regulations do not require a specific number of lessons or a specific instructional time requirement; It is recommended that teachers incorporate health instruction into weekly classroom instruction

-Regulation mandates HIV/AIDS instruction for “every student, every year” and requires five lessons taught per year in elementary school

· Middle School

-Health Education regulations require one semester of daily health education in middle school; It is recommended that this take place during 6th or 7th grade

-Regulation mandates five lessons of HIV/AIDS instruction be taught in 6th grade and six lessons be taught each year for the 7th and 8th grades

· High School

-Health Education regulations require one semester of daily health education in high school (this must be a 1 credit graduation requirement)

-Regulation mandates that six lessons of HIV/AIDS instruction be taught during each year of high school

· These health education requirements are based on three very broad learning standards set by New York State:

1) Personal Health and Fitness

2) A Safe and Healthy Environment

3) Resource Management

The Recommended Comprehensive Health Education Curriculum:

· For grades K-5 HealthTeacher is the recommended curriculum

· HealthTeacher focuses on the following units of study: 1) alcohol & other drugs 2) anatomy 3) community & environmental health 4) family health & sexuality 5) injury prevention 6) mental & emotional health 7) nutrition 8) personal & consumer health 9) physical activity 10) tobacco

· HealthTeacher focuses on the development of specific skills: 1) advocacy 2) communication 3) decision making 4) planning and goal setting 5) relationship management 6) self management 7) stress management

· For grades 6-8 HealthSmart is the recommended curriculum

· For grades 9-12 HealthSmart and Reducing the Risk is the recommended curriculum

· Reducing the Risk includes the following session topics: 1) pregnancy prevention 2) HIV prevention 3) abstinence: not having sex 4) using refusal skills 5) delaying tactics 6) avoiding high-risk situations 7) getting and using protection 8) skills integration 9) preventing HIV and other STIs 10) HIV risk behaviors 11) implementing protection from STIs and pregnancy 12) sticking with abstinence and protection 13) skills integration

Monday, July 25, 2011

"SAY" SMART Action Youth Advocacy

SMART Youth presents SAY! Our SMART Action Youth Advocacy Series.
This Friday will be the fifth session of the training series. Together we will learn about some examples of advocacy that has been done in the past.

We hope to see you there!Date: Friday, July 29th
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: SMART's Office (at Bailey House in East Harlem)
1751 Park Avenue
(Between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Transportation: 4/5/6 train to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue

Food and Metrocards will be provided.

"SAY" Advocacy Training Review: Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Birth Control Policy:

· Birth control is defined as any method that is used to protect a woman from getting pregnant.

· In the 1800s birth control was illegal in the United States.

· The Comstock Law was passed by Congress, making distribution of birth control devices and sending information about birth control through the mail illegal.

· Margaret Sanger was a strong advocate of birth control.

-She opened the country’s first birth control clinic in New York City in 1916.

-She established the National Committee for Federal Legislation of Birth Control.

-She proposed a bill to reverse the prohibition of birth control.

-She founded the American Birth Control League which today is known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

· Planned Parenthood funded Dr. Gregory Pincus in support of his research to develop a birth control pill.

· In 1965 the Supreme Court got involved with the birth control controversy.

· In 1966, the federal government began public funding of contraceptive services for low-income families.

Plan B:

· Plan B is not an abortion pill; it is a form of contraception.

· Plan B works by stopping ovulation so that a pregnancy cannot occur.

· If a woman has unprotected sex and a fertilized egg does form, Plan B may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus and therefore prevent a pregnancy.

· United States law says that you cannot purchase Plan B if you are under the age of 17, unless you have a prescription.

Roe v. Wade (Abortion Policy):

· Jane Roe (actually Norma McCorvey) was an unmarried pregnant woman from Texas who tried to get an abortion, but was denied under Texas law.

· Roe argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated her right to privacy.

· The Court agreed with Roe, but also held that states have a right to protect potential human life.

· Because of the conflicting rights, the Court divided the pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters.

· In the first trimester, a state cannot regulate abortion besides requiring that the procedure me done by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions.

· In the second trimester, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the pregnant woman’s health.

· In the third trimester, s state may prohibit abortion unless it is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Policy:

· Abstinence-only programs are programs that do not teach about safe sex, contraceptives, etc.; these programs only teach abstinence (abstinence-only-until-marriage).

· Over $1 billion in government funding has been spent to teach these abstinence-only programs in public schools.

· Government research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not changed the statistics of initiation of sex (at what age young people begin having sex).

· Sexual health education policy has changed since President Obama has been in office.

· There is a push for more comprehensive sexual health education in schools.