AUTHOR: CATHY TORRES
So long, 2017! Moments later and here we are, thriving in 2018. To many this comes as a relief, and to others it’s just switching out calendars. In spite of the curveballs and so many different shifts in SO many different climates, family planning agencies like Access Esperanza Clinics have blossomed like never before – serving the community and helping people access reproductive healthcare. Let’s take a look at some of the great things we accomplished together with our volunteers in 2017 and get fueled for an even better 2018!
Members of Access for Sex-Education, a student group at UTRGV, took their advocacy work to a new level and spent a weekend in Austin during the 85th Texas Legislature. These fierce students organized educational sessions at the capitol with six members of our local delegation to the Texas House and Senate. To help teens prevent unplanned pregnancies, students laid out a plan that would allow access to contraceptive services for minors under CHIP. As session came to a close, the bills the students promoted didn’t make it to a hearing, but Access for Sex-Ed will definitely continue their fight in 2019! Following lobby day, the students participated in the Women’s March in Austin to voice their concern for reproductive freedom. What an ambitious group of students!
Consent is HOT, assault is NOT! Thanks to our passionate student volunteers, we were able to spread the word about the importance of affirmative and enthusiastic consent! Members of Access for Sex-Ed at UTRGV organized a “Consent Awareness Fair” at the UTRGV Edinburg campus to prepare students for a safe spring break. Several partner organizations and campus departments joined in solidarity and student took away very useful information and resources to prevent sexual assault.
Our work never stops! Over the summer, Access Esperanza Clinics hosted a summer volunteer program called “Become a Sex-Ed Advocate”. From June to August, volunteers trained on the basics of medically-accurate sex-education while simultaneously giving back and volunteering at our clinic. They were provided with information to share, tools to enhance their advocacy work, and accumulated a whopping 200+ volunteer hours by the end of the summer! Kudos to our volunteers!
Access for Sex-Ed volunteers are truly amazing. Our volunteers wanted to make sure their peers were aware of how spooky (damaging) STDs can be. Students and members of Access for Sex-Education at UTRGV and other progressive student organizations’ participated in a “Spooky Policy” event. Students trick-or-treated for condoms and candy and took away resources on STD prevention and where to get tested. Spooktacular!
Self-care is KEY especially during finals week! On campus, our volunteers hosted a finals week tabling event, providing fellow students with snacks, condoms, and even free scantrons. They felt it was important to help make students’ lives easier during the hardest time of the semester. Gotta love our volunteers!
From the bottom of our hearts, Access Esperanza Clinics would like to wish you a Happy New Year and we look forward to a spectacular 2018! Here’s to all of you!