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

Monday, February 24, 2014

SMART Youth Answers: Affordable Care Act 101

Are you one of the millions of people who currently do not have health insurance? We know you have heard many things about the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” There is a lot of information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so we are here to give you the 4-1-1!

Here’s what’s NEW with ACA :
  • Young adults are allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26!
  • Now there is a health insurance Marketplace (or Exchanges) where individuals can purchase their own affordable health insurance. If the options available still seem too expensive, you may be able to receive a federal subsidy if you have an income between 100-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (up to $44,000 for an individual). 

Health insurance in the Exchange is required to cover a variety of preventive services at no cost to you when delivered by a network provider. They include:
  • FDA approved contraceptives (such as birth control)
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention counseling and screening as part of your yearly exam
  • Domestic violence screening and counseling
  • Mental health and substance abuse access are equal to other medical services  
  • Other preventive services: flu shots, cancer screenings, and mammograms
Why is this list such an important improvement in health care? It means that you won't to pay anything out-of-pocket to receive these services --no more copays!

We are excited that every American citizen can obtain health insurance! 

It is required that all eligible Americans have basic health care coverage. This is often referred to as the "individual mandate". Those who are not covered by health insurance before March 31st, 2014 will face a penalty. Do you need health insurance? Then head on over to The New York State Health Plan Marketplace to explore the options available and sign up! 

Valentine's Day Event!

In honor of Valentine's Day, SMART Youth hosted the event 
Offline Relationships: How to Connect IRL! 
We practiced our in-person communication skills, ate great food, and met other youth from NYC.
Thank you to all the youth who came out for a fun night! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to be Safe During an Emergency

Last week we were fortunate enough to have a representative from the Office of Emergency Management present at SMART Youth! We learned about the steps we can take to be prepared for an emergency, and what to do in an emergency. Here are some important things we learned:

  • It is useful to arrange a meeting place with your family and friends in case you cannot get back to your home because of an emergency. This way, you know where to meet up if you can’t communicate with your friends and family.
  • Make sure you have a “Go Bag.” A Go Bag consists of the things you would want if you need to leave in a hurry and should be sturdy and easy to carry. Go Bags should include copies of important documents, flashlights, medications, cash, water bottles, and contact information for family members and friends.
  • The only time you should evacuate is when you are in immediate danger, for example when there is a fire, or if city officials direct you to evacuate. Evacuating when you are not directed to by a city official can put you in more danger than staying in your house!

To be even more prepared, sign up for emergency notifications from NYC via text, twitter, or email. Go to to sign up for free, or follow @NotifyNYC.

Last Friday, SMART Youth hosted the workshop “Trans Health 101” to learn more about what it means to be trans or gender non-conforming in today’s world and how we can become better allies for the trans community. Two amazing friends of SMART facilitated the workshop to teach us about:
  • the history of the trans movement
  • the various ways that individuals within the trans community may identify
  • how individuals may express their gender identity in society 
  • how to respectfully learn more about someone’s gender identity
  • questions or nicknames that may be disrespectful or offensive within the trans community
Overall, it was an incredibly enlightening workshop in which we were able to learn a lot more about a topic that is unfamiliar to many of us and how we as SMART Youth can be leaders in creating a world where everyone feels respected and comfortable being themselves.