Believe in Youth!-NOLA (BY!-NOLA!) staff recently traveled to the Healthy Teen Network's 33rd Annual National Conference in Minneapolis to present on the successes of implementing the program in the Greater New Orleans area.


The theme of this year's conference was "The Power of Youth: Joining Forces to Achieve Positive Outcomes." Speakers discussed integrating youth development approaches into current teen pregnancy prevention efforts.  

BY!-NOLA! was one of three grantees funded by the Office of Adolescent Health selected to present at the conference on successfully replicating an evidence-based program while making the necessary adaptations for a priority population.      

Dr. Denese Shervington, BY!-NOLA! Program Director, presented at a session entitled "Assessing, Adapting, and Implementing: Lessons Learned in Replicating Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs." Dr. Shervington, who developed two additional modules to the program's curriculum addressing mental health, discussed the challenges youth participating in the program currently face. "There is a severe mental health crisis in our community and while it's important to address teen pregnancy, it's imperative that we have open communication surrounding how the child is feeling. The BY!-NOLA! program explores traumatic events which may have occurred during a young person's life and we strive to teach students how to think positively about themselves as well as their future," said Dr. Shervington.  



Sharon Cihlar (YMCA of Cumberland), Tish Hall (Office of Adolescent Health), Dr. Denese Shervington, and Katie Plax (The SPOT).     

Like us on Facebook
Follow the links above and below to "like" IWES on Facebook and "follow" IWES on Twitter for daily announcements featuring interesting articles, events, and opportunities that relate to the health and well-being of women of color and their families. 
Follow us on Twitter

Featured IWES Film

A Scary Thought
A Scary Thought

Media Advocates for Prevention's Role Model Story (based on a real story from a youth in New Orleans) about 17 year-old Lindsey who gets caught up and risks putting her track dreams on hold. Starring Iman Barr�, Jeremy Tauriac, and Briell Spruille, watch the short film to find out what decisions she makes.

Follow the link below to check out our Iwesnola YouTube Channel to see more IWES films.
 View our videos on YouTube 

IWES Hosts

"Gentilly Terrace Day My Favorite Things"

As part of BY!-NOLA!'s continuing work within the New Beginnings Charter School Network, IWES recently hosted an event for children and parents at Gentilly Terrace Charter School. IWES partnered with the District 2 Community Enhancement Corporation (D2CEC) to produce the event. D2CEC implements youth programming for students interested in music and fashion.   


The "My Favorite Things" themed event was designed as an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes to demonstrate the lessons they learned by participating in BY!-NOLA!. Utilizing the BY!-NOLA! modules focusing on emotional health as inspiration, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders created performance pieces which incorporated the 5C's (competence, confidence, connection, character and caring/compassion).   


7th grade students participating in their 5C's skit.  


Students were also given the opportunity to display their diversity in the arts by participating in a talent show. 


Performers "The Ocean Girls" getting ready to go on stage. 


"The BY!-NOLA! program offers learning opportunities for our students that we normally could not provide," Gentilly Terrace Principal, T.M. Guillory, said. "The talent show and skits were simply amazing and it was great to have an event where students had a space to display to their parents and our staff what they learned in the BY!-NOLA! program."


Many youth in the Greater New Orleans community face emotional and financial challenges inside and outside of the classroom. BY!-NOLA!, the local community, and New Beginnings Charter School Network collaborated to deliver resources to students, parents, and Gentilly Terrace teachers. IWES provided paper, pencils, clear backpacks, school uniforms, pencil sharpeners, and other supplies to over 100 students. IWES also donated reams of paper to teachers.   

"As an organization we thought that it was very important to allow students to display their talents outside of the classroom," Stepfionne Williams, BY!-NOLA! Program Manager, explained. "We also wanted to provide students and teachers with necessary supplies and resources to help enhance students' educational experience. We wanted parents to actively participate in the event, as well, so they were showered with door prizes and educational supplies."  


  The Gentilly Terrace Funk Drum Line closed out the event in style! In total, more than 300 people attended this inter-generational event that brought together students, parents, and Gentilly Terrace staff to enjoy themselves and support their youth.  


"My Favorite Things" Winners List


  1st Place Class Skit:

7th Grade Class


2nd Place Class Skit:

8th Grade Class 



3rd Place Class Skit:

Kaci Penn represented the 6th grade class with a poem entitled "It's All about Character"


1st Place Winner:

Chyna Bolden - contemporary dance piece, "Breath of Life"


2nd Place Winner:

Delea Shearod - vocal rendition of "I Will Always Love You"


3rd Place Winner:

Devantay "Ace" Jenkins - vocal rendition of "That's What Makes You Beautiful"


Winners Devantay "Ace" Jenkins and Chyna Bolden with District 2 CEC's Shawn Verrette


Meet the newest IWES staff members

Talana L. Anderson,
Administrative Coordinator

Talana joined IWES in August of 2012. Prior to IWES, Talana served as the Office Manager for a local elementary school. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans in 1999. She is a lifelong resident of New Orleans, a wife, and a mother of two.

Raegan Carter, MPH, MSW
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) Program Manager


Raegan joined IWES in March of 2012. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Southern University, a Master of Social Work degree from Tulane University and a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University.   


Prior to joining IWES, Raegan worked at the Louisiana Department of Education, managing the federally funded CDC Division of Adolescent School Health (CDC-DASH), HIV/STD and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. She was also the State Coordinator for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and provided technical assistance and policy guidance to school nurses and other school health programs. She has also worked as a Clinical Social Worker and Health Education and Health Promotion Manager with School Based Health Centers.  


Raegan has a wealth of experience working with adolescent programs, adolescent and health risk behavior data, curriculum training and with comprehensive sexual health policy and school health policy on the State and local level. Raegan also has experience in crisis management and emergency preparedness. She has served on numerous state level coalitions and committees to address adolescent health, including the Louisiana Children's Health Report Card Committee which annually publishes the "Louisiana Children's Health Report Card." Raegan has a passion for children and adolescent programs and education and health policy. She also enjoys utilizing her skills to collect, analyze and evaluate data to improve health policy and programs.


Callie Kaplan, MPH   

SBHC Youth Engagement Coordinator 


Callie joined IWES in June of 2012.  Prior to her position with IWES, Callie has worked on both programming and research in New Orleans including designing and hosting wellness seminars with Sistahs Making a Change at Ashe Cultural Arts Center, qualitative research around stress and emotional resiliency among adolescent mothers in New Orleans, as well as various research projects with the Mary Amelia Women's Center. She was part of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Leadership Training Program at Tulane and a 2011-2012 MCH section fellow with the American Public Health Association.  


Callie was born and raised in Chicago, received her BA from Colgate University and moved to New Orleans in 2010 to pursue her Masters in Public Health at Tulane concentrating in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health. Her areas of interest include adolescent and female health and reproductive rights, social determinants of health and translating research to advocacy to promote systematic changes to healthcare and health policy.  



Timothy Maple

TOP� Program Coordinator 


Timothy joined the IWES team in October of 2012. With a Master of Science degree in criminal justice administration, Timothy has devoted his life to advocating for at risk youth. Most recently, he worked in Diversion Services for the Montgomery County of Maryland Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. As a grant reviewer with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, he worked with initiatives designed to prevent youth violence and foster positive youth development. Earlier in his career, Timothy was a Project Coordinator for the University of Maryland at Baltimore's Teen Tot Dads Program and for Steppin' Up, Movin' On, Inc. (SUMO), a non-profit 501(c) (3) community-based organization in Lorton, Virginia and Washington, D.C. He has developed and facilitated group sessions to committed and detained youth from the Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services around STI & HIV/AIDS education, substance abuse education, and life skills building.     



Issa Moquete

BY!-NOLA! Program Coordinator


Issa joined IWES in August 2012 and is originally from Washington, DC. She obtained her Bachelor's in Social Work from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. While earning her Bachelor's she worked for Planned Parenthood in the Community Education department. She developed a passion for sexual and reproductive health advocacy for youth during her time at Planned Parenthood. After undergraduate school she lived in Spain for a year as an English Language Assistant. She was able to immerse herself in the Spanish Language and culture. She is now excited to be in New Orleans to deliver skills on how to make safe, responsible choices to New Orleans youth.  



Aurora Tom-Quinn

BY!-NOLA! Program Assistant


Aurora joined IWES in September of 2012 and is originally from Chicago, IL. She received her Bachelor's of Art in Political Science from Chicago State University in 2009. Prior to working with IWES, Aurora was introduced to the New Orleans public health sector in 2010 as an AmeriCorps volunteer. She worked as an outreach health care worker, HIV counselor and tester, and urban garden developer. Aurora currently assists BY!-NOLA! coordinators with curriculum implementation, event coordination, and administrative support.    

Danielle Wright, MPH, MSW, LMSW 
CHC Program Coordinator

Danielle joined IWES in March 2012. She has a Master's degrees in both Social Work and Public Health from Tulane University, and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Spelman College. Danielle is certified both in Infant Mental Health (IMH) and Disaster Mental Health (DMH).

Danielle has performed clinical social work duties across various mental health settings, namely, LSUHSC's Department of Child Psychiatry, The Child Adolescent Response Team (Family Service of Greater New Orleans), and Jefferson Parish Human Service Authority. Her experience in mental health is comprised of trauma in young children, child-parent psychotherapy, adolescent group therapy, individual and family therapy, and crisis counseling and intervention.

Prior to her mental health and social service experience, Danielle spent two years working for the City of New Orleans Health Department. During her first year, she served as a mayoral fellow under the direction of the City of New Orleans Health Department Director. After completing her fellowship, she was offered and accepted a position as a Program Manager for a substance abuse prevention program. She worked in that capacity for one year, before deciding to enhance her educational and career trajectory through the pursuit of an MSW. 

Welcome to the Institute Of Women And Ethnic Studies' Quarterly E-Blast. Every November, February, May, and August, look out for this E-Blast to update you on our programs and events.  


Thanks for continuing to be a part of the IWES family!

Media Advocates for Prevention

MAP is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program adapted from the evidence-based Community PROMISE model. MAP works with a core group of Peer Advocates (PAs) ages 15-18 to develop HIV prevention messages for youth in New Orleans.  


MAP is thrilled to welcome eleven new Peer Advocates to the program! These PAs were selected from a competitive pool of over 75 applicants and 30 interviews; they come from three parishes and nine high schools across the city. The program year began on October 2nd and PAs are currently being trained in the MAP curriculum.


Welcome the 2012-2013 MAP Cohort:

Cadaija Austin, 15
Adjonea Dudley, 15
Twanna Every, 15
Kenneth Johnson, 17
Shayla Langston, 17
Brianne Lewis, 17
Azia Mitchell, 18
Jai Mose, 15
Darren Scioneaux, 17
DeVante Turner, 15
Daniel Wright , 15  


MAP staff had a busy fall attending citywide events. MAP offered sexual health presentations to youth at the following locations:

MAP also participated in the Stomp the Violence Back II School Bash.


IWES Staff member, Iman Shervington, speaking about HIV and pregnancy prevention at the Stomp The Violence Back II School Bash.   


Check out MAP's NEWEST film, the Role Model Story Countdown, which is about a young woman's decision to protect herself after considering the possible consequences of unprotected sex.   


MAP is currently developing a social marketing campaign, PAUSE, to promote HIV testing amongst bi-sexual youth of color in New Orleans. This campaign was informed by over 170 local youth who participated in MAP's formative research through focus groups, interviews, and the IWES Youth Sexual Health Survey. Look out for PAUSE's launch on December 1st, World AIDS Day, with an Instagram photo campaign

Follow us on Twitter


Follow @map_nola on Twitter for daily sexual health tips.


Like us on Facebook


Like MAP on Facebook to keep up with MAP videos and events and to receive sexual health information and ask any sexual health questions you may have!


 If you or someone you know is a youth aged 12-18, e-mail MAP to receive a FREE MAP kit, or ASK A PA!

School-Based Health Center Engagement Project
The SBHC Engagement Project, a youth health advocacy and leadership development program to increase awareness and utilization of participating SBHCs, is implemented in partnership with the Louisiana Public Health Institute's (LPHI) School Health Connection Program. 


During the fall the SBHC staff has had the opportunity to complete an extensive annual report which provided several highlights of the successful 2011-2012 IWES SBHC Community Engagement program.  The report provided the opportunity to reflect on both the successes and challenges of the year. Following the first year of implementation of the comprehensive Youth Advocacy Leadership (YAL) curriculum, based on recommendations of the former YAL participants, the staff spent the summer assessing the current curriculum and enhancing both the evaluation component as well as the curriculum activities. In addition, the YAL will be introduced in two new schools this year, and SBHC Youth Advisory Committees (YACs) will be established in other SBHC schools.

Focus on Youth with Informed Parents and Children Together

FOY + ImPACT is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded 8-session evidence-based small group education program that works with youth aged 12-15 to help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).   


     For fall implementation, the FOY staff is excited to return to the Youth Empowerment Project to facilitate with a new cohort of young women. In preparation for the new group, FOY staff has begun conducting individual sessions with each program participant and a parent or guardian. These sessions are a unique opportunity to meet the parents and have open discussions about HIV, abstinence, and safer sex! YEP has recently opened a state-of-the-art Youth Center in Central City, where FOY + ImPACT will be held.   


Recruitment for the spring cohort of 10-12 youth between the ages of 12-15 is ongoing. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the FOY program, please contact Melanie Powers or Katherine Eyster for more details.


Believe in Youth! - NOLA!* 

*(formerly MPC!-NOLA!)      


 IWES was one of six entities in Louisiana awarded monies to fund teen responsibility and pregnancy prevention programs through the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Through this initiative, IWES has created BY!-NOLA!, which serves youth aged 11-13 through the utilization of the 8-module evidence-based Making Proud Choices curriculum along with two additional modules developed by Dr. Denese Shervington which focus on emotional health and resiliency.  


     *After receiving feedback from youth about the name of the Making Proud Choices!-NOLA! program, IWES staff changed the name to Believe in Youth!-NOLA! (BY!-NOLA!). This new name was chosen to signify IWES' mission and remind youth that BY!-NOLA! staff truly believe in them and have confidence in their ability to make healthy and responsible choices.


The BY!-NOLA! program recently started it's third year of implementation with student recruitment throughout the summer and early fall. Recruitment efforts were done at welcome back to school events, parent-teacher organization meetings, and school open houses. The BY!-NOLA! staff had the opportunity to make presentations about the program to the parents, students, and school administration at all of the events, which received tremendous support for the program.


IWES is pleased to continue its partnership with the Capital One-New Beginnings Charter School Network for the second consecutive year. To date, approximately 200 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade girls and boys from Gentilly Terrace Charter School have participated in the program. More than 40 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from Pierre A. Capdau Charter School are scheduled to graduate from the program on Monday November 5th, 2012. BY!-NOLA! is also in the process of recruiting sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Medard H. Nelson Charter School to participate in the program this year. As the year continues BY!-NOLA! looks forward to partnering with several other schools and community based organizations in Orleans and Jefferson Parish. 


Like us on Facebook

Like BY!-NOLA! on Facebook for more information and regular updates about the program.

Teen Outreach Program (TOP)
Through the Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health Family Planning Program was awarded a grant to implement the evidence-based Teen Outreach Program (TOP�) throughout the entire state of Louisiana. IWES was selected as one of the agencies qualified to implement TOP�, making it the newest youth program at IWES.


TOP� serves youth aged 12-18 through a 9-month program that focuses on teen pregnancy prevention and academic outcomes, including drop-out and course failure rates. The curriculum includes lessons on sexual health, values, goal-setting, relationships with friends and family, and other topics relevant to youth. TOP� also includes a community service-learning component in which participants plan their own service projects, carry them out, and strategize sustainability.


TOP� is successfully in its second year of full implementation. IWES has established three TOP� clubs that are meeting weekly at the following local libraries, with 125 current participants:

TOP facilitators are in the process of planning lessons and community service learning opportunities for TOP� club members, and the clubs are just getting to know one another and developing strong, supportive groups.


Recruitment is still in full swing, and several TOP� clubs in the planning stages will begin in the next several weeks. TOP� is excited to be working with some new partners, and will keep providing updates over the course of the next nine months. This year, TOP� will be implemented with:

IWES is currently recruiting participants for new TOP� clubs. If you know any youth between the ages of 12-17 or youth-serving organizations who might be interested in being a part of TOP�, call IWES at (504) 599-7712 or contact Ragan Collins or Della Wright.
4 Real Health

In addition to implementing youth programs around the city, IWES also serves in a training, fidelity monitoring, and quality assurance role for the Health Education Program (HEP) component of the 4 Real Health program. 4 Real Health is one component of the Louisiana Public Health Institute's Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project.    


The Health Education Program encompasses sexual health, nutrition, and physical activity utilizing the evidence-based Becoming A Responsible Teen (BART) curriculum and the "Live It!" Healthy Living curriculum. These curricula include information on communication skills, problem solving, and negotiation, as well as exercise, healthy eating, and nutrition. 4 Real Health serves youth aged 15-18 during summer implementation at community sites throughout New Orleans.


The summer 2012 cohort ended in August with over 300 youth served. IWES, in collaboration with the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) held an end of summer retreat with Health Educators to evaluate the success and areas of improvement needed for future planning and programming.


In September, IWES became the training, fidelity monitoring and quality assurance experts for the "Staying Mature and Responsible Towards Sex" (SMARTS) component of the Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. The SMARTS program utilizes the Safer Sex Intervention, which is a one-on-one curriculum implemented with sexually active teen girls in a clinical setting. The SMARTS curriculum includes information on HIV and STIs, pregnancy prevention, negotiation and communication skills.


IWES staff recently conducted a Safer Sex Intervention training for newly hired health educators that will be working with the SMARTS program. Additionally, IWES is working with LPHI on a recruitment and training plan for the 2013 summer implementation of the 4 Real Health Program. During the Fall and early Spring, IWES will conduct several supplemental trainings as well as continuous fidelity monitoring and quality assurance.

Youth Programs Advisory Board   

IWES staff convenes quarterly Youth Programs Advisory Board (YPAB) meetings with local youth, community stakeholders, and partners. These meetings have not only helped inform IWES youth programming, but they also serve as a place for youth advocates and supporters to come together and talk about local youth issues like juvenile justice and school food reform.  


In addition to facilitation, the FOY team is also revamping the YPAB to include a Youth Think Tank. This Think Tank will give teenagers a forum to discuss community issues in greater depth, while also giving them the advocacy tools needed to present their concerns and recommendations to local leaders. The next meeting will take place in November. If you are interested in participating as the YPAB takes new shape, please email Melanie Powers!

Collective for Healthy Community
CHC, a W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded program, was created in response to the disproportionate negative mental health impact on poor people and people of color in the aftermath of Katrina. IWES developed a division of post-disaster mental health recovery and emotional resiliency to respond to the needs of the community. In an attempt to address the aforementioned concerns, IWES has developed several projects; namely, the HIM/Fatherhood Consortium and Community Based Listening Circles. The cultivation of this division has required a concerted effort among multi-disciplinary professionals (psychiatry, social work, public health, anthropology, and political science).

CHC most recently entered into an exciting partnership with Dr. Melissa Harris Perry's Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South. Through this partnership CHC is working with her students at Tulane University to conduct Community Based Wisdom Circles. CHC is utilizing Dr. Harris Perry's theories about shame in the African-American community as a framework for discussions with the following groups: 1.) African-American female community leaders, 2.) African-American female faculty members at local universities, 3.) African-American high-school students, 4.) African-American male leaders, and 5.) African-American teachers in the greater New Orleans area.


Of the five aforementioned cohorts of Community Based Wisdom Circles, three have already been conducted. Through these circles CHC is investigating protective factors and other assets that promote emotional resiliency. As CHC embarks upon conducting Community Based Wisdom Circles with the remaining cohorts, CHC will continue to gather and analyze information received from these circles to inform both policy and practice.


CHC is excited to announce that it will be partnering with BY!-NOLA! to host a conference entitled "The Root of it All: The State of Mental Health in New Orleans." The conference will feature keynote speaker and world-renowned social psychiatrist, Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove. In addition to Dr. Fullilove, the conference will feature other local experts in the field of mental health. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at Dillard University's Professional Schools and Sciences Building from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The goal of the conference is to present the community-at-large with mental health data gathered from IWES program participants, and to provide a platform for lay community members, community leaders, multi-disciplinary professionals, and policy-makers to come together to address the unique needs of the New Orleans youth population.




As CHC enthusiastically enters its second program year, it continues to work towards promoting community healing among the citizenry of New Orleans.

Partner Spotlight

As this month brings about the anniversary of one year of IWES Quarterly E-blasts, we have decided to create a new section! Due to our recognition of the necessity of collaboration and coalition-building to better serve the New Orleans community, IWES has created this section, Partner Spotlight, to provide updates, highlight achievements, and give basic information about some of the wonderful entities we work with.

Our inaugural Partner Spotlight is on The NET Charter High School, an ungraded high school program serving students aged 16 - 21 through a year-round curriculum. The mission of The NET is to provide high school students with the skills, confidence, and experiences necessary to succeed in the education and career paths of their choice. They achieve this mission by incorporating the following components from nationally successful models in their design:
  • Small school and small classes
  • Strong relationships with caring adults
  • Individual learning plans that address skill gaps
  • High expectations for academic, behavior, and future success
  • Authentically engaging, hands-on curricula
  • Multiple layers of social-emotional, behavioral, and academic support
  • Direct connection to students' real-world futures

In order to foster strong inter-generational relationships with caring adults, The NET has a Career Mentoring program that is in the process of recruiting new mentors. Please see below for their recruitment call for new mentors.     


 NET Charter High School needs people like you!


In order to help our students succeed, we are reaching out to professionals working in different fields throughout the greater New Orleans area to be Career Mentors.


Career mentoring benefits young people in a variety of ways:

  • Youth develop the necessary skills to enter or continue on a career path
  • Students become engaged in their work and take ownership of their learning
  • Students develop new interests from professionals in the field
  • Students begin the next stage of their life with sense of purpose

Mentors commit to offering short-term job shadow experiences or semester-long, non-paid internships where students report to their job site for anywhere up to two days per week.


Must be willing to submit to a background check.


For more information, please contact Monique Labat, Career & Internship Coordinator (504 579-3369). 

The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies (IWES) is a national non-profit organization founded in 1993 in response to the overwhelming health disparities among women of color.
IWES is dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health and quality of life of women of color and their families, especially those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Thanks for taking a moment to read our Quarterly E-Blast. If you ever have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to email us.