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Youth. Sex. Relationships.  
Leading the National Conversation 

The Update: October 12, 2017 

Meet the Newest Member of the Ascend Team….

Melissa Walther, BA, SRAS
National Project Director 

We are excited to announce, Melissa Walther as the new National Project Director for Ascend.
Melissa brings considerable experience in the Sexual Risk Avoidance field.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Logistics from The Ohio State University, and  was quickly drawn to the non-profit sector. Melissa began her career as a sex education health facilitator working directly with hundreds of youth. Empowering youth to achieve their dreams became a passion. Walther then dedicated her time to helping the community equip youth for success where she began identifying, building, and strengthening support networks to help youth to succeed.  Walther continued her impact by managing a statewide collaborative of over 20 SRA and Healthy Relationship organizations serving over 100,000 youth each year. Walther hopes to bring this innovative model to the national level to strengthen the SRA field and leverage the expertise of individuals and organizations across the nation for the benefit of our youth.
Welcome, Melissa!


Were you certified in 2015 or before?  If so, your SRA certification has already/or will expire this year.  Contact us for more information.  If you are unsure when your certification expires, contact us and we can check for you.

Registration Now Open!
Platteville, Wisconsin - December 6-7 
(This training will be open to all Care Net and Heartbeat affiliated PRCs)

We're starting to plan our 2018 schedule!  More dates and locations to be added soon! For more information on all upcoming SRAS trainings, Click here. 

Day on the Hill 2018

Where Can I Get More Information About DOTH?

Answer: We will be having an informational call at 3:00 ET, on Tuesday 10/24. Make plans to join us now, and RSVP here so we can send you the call in information.

Save the Date:  March 1, 2018  
      Day On The Hill (DOTH)

For more information contact:

Christine Eckley: - 202.248.5420

Parent Corner

Parents are the most influential voice on students view of sex. In the coming weeks, our new "Parent Corner" section will be included when we come across articles and ideas that will best equip parents to have open and honest conversations with their kids.  We hope you use the information in this section to encourage parents to talk to their kids about healthy relationships and sex. Feel free to copy, repost, and distribute this information to the parents you encounter!

For our first installment, we want to remind you of some very basic, but essential things for parents to consider ...Your kids want to hear about relationships and sex from you. Even if it seems daunting, begin with small steps to get the conversation going. When talking to your kids about sex:

1. Answer honestly and concisely. Simplicity is key.
2. Be open to questions and don’t overreact to their questions or comments.

3. Be willing to admit if you don’t know the answer. Research to find out the correct answer together. 

National News

College Sexual Harassment Instructions to Be Revised

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos recently announced that revisions will be made in the current instructions to colleges and universities regarding their internal disciplinary procedures in sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints. Secretary DeVos has not described her proposed modifications in detail, but according to this article, the public will have the opportunity to comment before a final decision is made.

State News

Florida:  SRA Group to Provide Sex Ed
The Pregnancy Resource Center in Milton, FL, was just approved to provide sex ed to high school students in the Santa Rosa County School District.  Unfortunately this Washington Post article mischaracterizes SRA education, but it does highlight the topics that The Pregnancy Resource Center will be covering in their 12 lesson program.

New York:  Troubling Substance Abuse Problem Among Teens
While teen binge drinking is down, there is an increase in the non-medical use of prescription drugs. 14% of the city's high school students are abusing prescription drugs, leading to our current opioid epidemic.  Health officials believe that there needs to be a "full court press" on prevention starting as early as kindergarten.  Watch this video to find out more.


Not So Hidden Epidemic
According to this Live Science article, "Sexually transmitted diseases are one major group of diseases that make for ongoing hidden epidemics."  The CDC reports that in the United States alone, there are nearly 20 million cases of new sexually transmitted infections yearly, from just eight viruses and bacteria, with 50% of them being in individuals 15-24 years old.

CDC Releases STD Report
The Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report was recently released by the CDC.  The report shows the highest number of STDs ever reported, leading the director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention to issue the following statement:  “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”  Read more here.

Teens Doing Good!

Teens Who Are Making a Difference!
From starting a community garden to raising money for tools for local artists in India, these young people are learning skills that extend beyond the scope of the classroom.  One 17-year-old says,  "I've developed management skills, worked through language barriers and realized the importance of teamwork," he says. "I've learned things from volunteering that I will never forget."  Read more here.

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