Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
What You Need to Know This Election Season
Monday, 22 October 2012 10:48

strong-families-AFY-flash

Your vote will have a real impact on young people and their families. That's why Advocates for Youth has partnered with the Strong Families Initiative to help create the Strong Families Guide to Civic Participation.

Every family is different. But we all need and deserve government that will protect the rights, recognition, and resources we need to thrive. Use this guide to help you make informed decisions about candidates, ballot measures, and any other public policy proposals. Share it with your friends, family, coworkers, community organizations, and religious groups to start conversations about what the elections mean for our families. Together we can ensure that decision makers hear that all families matter!

Get the Strong Families Guide today!

And remember to vote on November 6!

 

 
Let’s Talk Month: A Teen Mom’s Perspective
Thursday, 18 October 2012 08:26

by Natasha Vianna

There is no such thing as an unneeded conversation between parents and their children. Some discussions may seem tough to initiate and some may seem unnecessary. Yet, we find that these very discussions can actually educate our children and empower them to make great decisions in life. Talking can seem like a simple concept but certain topics may feel really intimidating. Luckily, October is “Let’s Talk Month”, a month of exploring discussion methods and highlighting the importance of sexual education.

A parent may not always know when a child needs a talk. No one thought I needed to learn anything about sexual relationships when I was younger. No one assumed “it” was an issue in my life. Yet at the age of seventeen, I became a mother. My family did not think this would happen to me and there were no “signs” of the life I was going to live. While I have embraced and adored my role as a young parent, I know that there were many times when I needed more information, guidance, and open discussions with my parents about sexuality.

Becoming a teen parent has been a challenging new role but the more interesting task of educating my daughter now arises. As a mother, I know I am here to communicate with her in an open honest manner about every aspect of sexuality. As a parent, I know I play a pivotal role in helping my daughter make healthy decisions about her body and sex. And because I am still so young and vividly remember my younger years, I know that parents are perfectly capable of being the best sex educators. I wish mine were.

Read more...
 
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
Monday, 15 October 2012 06:44

Each year on October 15 we observe National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), a day to raise awareness of HIV among Latinos and promote HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.  

Latinos experience 20% of HIV infections even though they represent only 16% of the population.  They face barriers to education, testing, and treatment, including poverty, homophobia, stigma, and for undocumented immigrants, fear of disclosure should they seek care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a study of the epidemic among Latinos and has found that the rate of new infections is highest among Latinos who live in the Northeast; while the largest population with HIV resides in the South.  Men who have sex with men face particular risk of HIV.  

Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic not only requires that all people have access to the prevention and health care they need, but that structural barriers like poverty and lack of education be removed.

Resources for NLAAD:

www.NLAAD.org

AIDS.gov blogs in observance of NLAAD

 
Celebrate International Day of the Girl by Ending Child Marriage
Thursday, 11 October 2012 06:52

Janine Kossen, Director, Public Policy 

October 11 marks the first-ever International Day of the Girl, recognized by the United Nations, governments, communities, and girls around the world! The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing young women's and girls' lives and opportunities across the globe. This year, the international community is coming together to commit to ending child marriage.

While young women and girls are change-agents in their local, national, and global communities, they also face unique challenges to fulfilling their leadership potentialchallenges such as early and forced marriage. Every three seconds, a girl under the age of 18 becomes a child bride. One in seven girls will be forced to marry by the age of 15. And, if child marriage continues at its current rate, 100 million more girls will be married in the next decade. 

Ask Secretary Clinton to help stop child marriage! 

 

Read more...
 
Honoring LGBT Youth on National Coming Out Day
Thursday, 11 October 2012 06:46

October 11 is National Coming Out Day – a day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to celebrate who they are.

Advocates for Youth works with many young people who identify as LGBT, and their bravery and leadership inspires us and guides our work. Here’s what they have to say about coming out:

Coming out shows others it is possible to come out, and be proud of who you are. It inspires others to be themselves or even feel a little better even if they aren't ready to come out. – Brentt, 17
Being out gives me a sense of self. Whether or not people agree with my sexual orientation no longer matters to me; I know who I am and who I want to love. – Ellie, 21
There's immense strength in vulnerability, and I honor the legacy of fierce femmes of color before me by living out and proud. - Nefertiti, 21
Everyone should love who they are and be proud of it. Coming out is about accepting who we are, no matter what that means. – Diane, 21
The closet is a lonely place, and outside of it there is a whole world of people ready to love you without apology. – Karlee, 21
By being out, I am voicing my support for myself and other LGTBQIA individuals. Being openly out, even if only a little bit, creates change around me.
-Rikki, 23

On National Coming Out Day, we honor LGBT young people around the United States and the world. Brentt, Ellie, Nefertiti, Diane, Karlee, Rikki, and many other LGBT youth activists are helping to create a society where all people can speak the truth about who they are and be celebrated. We hope you will join them by celebrating the LGBT youth in your life.

 
6 Steps To Grow Your Millennial Generation Donor List
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 07:11

Karlo Barrios Marcelo, a member of Advocates for Youth Board of Directors, wrote this article about his work with Advocates for Social Citizens

When I was growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the eighties, I used to write letters (yes, with paper and pen) to my grandmother who lived in the Philippines; it was the cheapest way to keep in touch across a big ocean. Additionally, I got to practice my cursive writing (curse it!).

Of course, today, I wouldn’t touch pen and paper unless an electrical storm wiped out all my electronic equipment. I am a Millennial to be sure. You already know that Millennials are tech savvy and love their devices. So the solution is simple if you need to ask this generation for a charitable donation, right? Simply email, text, Facebook, or Tweet your way to younger supporters and ask them for cash, and the money will simply roll in via your online donation solution. Ha, if that were only the case.

The truth of the matter is that successful fundraising still very much hinges on personal relationships and impassioned supporters.

Here’s how one organization is thinking creatively to grow a Millennial generation donor list from scratch – and you can, too!

Read the rest of the article

 
Sex-positive person, sex-negative parent?
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 00:00

Airial Clark, M.A. is a San Francisco Bay Area-based parenting expert and the founder of The Sex-Positive Parent.

It’s a funny thing to hear some parents say, “My kid is never having sex. Ever. Lalalalalala,” and then they put their hands over the ears, shut their eyes and shake their head. It’s especially odd when these parents are comfortable with their own sexuality. These are people who have healthy sexual relationships and enjoy sex. But then, when it comes to educating their own kids, they shut down. It is really difficult to be a sex-negative person while being a sex-positive parent. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to be a sex-positive person while still being a sex-negative parent.


A lot of parents get stuck on how to talk positively about sex without endorsing sexual activity. The assumption is that if we, as parents, talk about how wonderful sex can be, our kids will start to experiment too early, or that they’ll become too knowledgeable for their own good. The fear is also that if we bring up sexuality before our kids are having sex, we’re overstepping a boundary; that we are somehow ruining their innocence. I like to point out that there is a big difference between innocent and ignorance.

Read more...
 
Urooj Arshad in The Advocate: Islam and LGBT are Not Mutually Exclusive
Friday, 21 September 2012 10:58

Urooj Arshad, Associate Director of International Youth Health and Rights, wrote this op-ed for The Advocate

"As a community, we have provided countless workshops on the intersection of islamophobia and homophobia/transphobia, marched in pride parades to show our visibility, helped folks get asylum, provided spiritual counseling, and developed and advocated for scholarship that looks at Islam in the context of LGBT issues. We have built retreat spaces that bring together LGBT Muslims to discuss spiritual life, religious texts, anti-oppression; and yes, we even had a speed dating event this year.

Most importantly, we have changed the discourse that looks at LGBT Muslims as if they are non-religious, somehow outside the realm of mainstream Muslim life, somehow not impacted by Islamophobia, somehow not quite able to be both LGBT and Muslim. And as we continue to change the discourse, I am proud of how much the movement has grown and truly reflects the LGBT Muslim community."

Read the rest!

 
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