FIRST MONDAY MEMO - August 7, 2017
EyesOn... Vanessa McNeal
We are so excited to announce that Vanessa Mcneal will be a speaker at our Respond. Relate. Resonate. conference this year! Additionally, Vanessa is a member of our Student Advisory Board for the Peer Advocates for Safer Sex (PASS) Program.
Vanessa is from Davenport, Iowa. She was raised by her grandparents and has two younger sisters. She graduated with a Bachelors in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2015 and is currently working on obtaining a Master of Social Work with the specialization Trauma Informed Practice from University of Northern Iowa. Vanessa is an intern at Together for Youth in Waterloo. During Vanessa's spare time she enjoys producing films, traveling, and spending time outside.
When asked as to why she was interested in being involved with EyesOpenIowa through the PASS Program, Vanessa answered that she was interested in the PASS program because she knew it would be a great opportunity to get involved in progressing the future of sexual health education on college campuses.
Vanessa is a survivor of child abuse and sexual violence, but she uses her past as a vehicle to empower, educate, and inspire others. She is the producer of a documentary titled The Voiceless, which features the stories of male survivors of sexual violence. The documentary explores taboos, stereotypes, intersectionality, and the impact sexual violence has on male survivors. Vanessa also produced a short about raising awareness to sexual violence and a documentary about her experiences overcoming trauma.Her two other films are titled We Are Survivors and I Am.*
Thank you, Vanessa, for all that you do to advocate for the sexual health field! We cannot wait to hear from her at our annual conference! Don't miss your chance to join us, register now.
*for more information about Vanessa's films, please visit her website: 

Early bird Registration is now open!

Register during early-bird registration, and receive a discount! Early bird registration closes on September 1st, so don't miss out on this great opportunity!

The Importance of Talking to Teens About Sexual Health
As a parent, I understand the "uncomfortable factor" many mothers and fathers face when broaching the topic of sexual health with their teenagers.  Few parents look forward to the discussion.  But I would venture to say talking to your teen about a recent STD diagnosis or an unplanned pregnancy tops the list in conversations we would like to avoid.  Your teen, whether he or she chooses to abstain, will one day become sexually active.  It is a fact of life. Why not give your teen the tools necessary to navigate the healthiest life possible?
Your teen wants to communicate.   Many parents would be surprised to learn their child wants to have a conversation.  They don't want to learn about pregnancy, sex and STDs from MTV.  They want mom and dad.  Research suggests that youth who report feeling familial connection are more likely to delay sexual intercourse.  Studies go on to point out exciting news: parents who initiate dialogue about sexual health that is inclusive of birth control, pregnancy and STDs have boys and girls, who are:
  • more likely to have sex at a later age
  • less likely to be sexually active as a teen
  • more likely to utilize protection when sexually active
  • more likely to have healthier relationships with their partners
Conversational neglect is dangerous.   The American Sexual Health Association reports 1 in 2 sexually active persons will contract a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25.  The "uncomfortable" conversation you have with your child when he or she is 15 years old may just be what saves them at 25 years old.  Sexual development is a healthy and normal part of living and we must work with our children to normalize the dialogue.  Ignoring an uncomfortable topic does not mean the uncomfortable topic does not exist.  Ignoring sexual health discussions in our home can lead to unsafe practices on the part of our teens that are not always equipped to think long-term when engaged in impulsive behaviors.
Be proactive and prepared to prevent teen pregnancy and ill health.   You do not have to conduct these conversations alone.  Think of yourself as one parent in a community of millions of parents who are working hard to get their children through life functioning at their best.  If you are struggling to find the words, let EyesOpenIowa help you.  We have a bevy of support.  Start the conversation today!
For additional support, please consult:
  • Advocates For Youth
  • Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
  • Planned Parenthood
  • SEICUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States)
  • Answer

- Kristin Fairholm, Executive Director

Upcoming Trainings and Webinars!
August 8th - 9th, 2017
This is the newest curriculum available to educators and administrators. Join us for this training and learn all about what makes 3Rs different, what makes it feel familiar, and how to best use it in your setting. Participants will have the opportunity to dig into the curriculum and practice facilitating.

Webinar: Birth Control and Methods of Protection Overview
Webinar recording will be will be available on the EOI website on  August 23rd
Webinar: Debrief with Intent: Incorporating the Experiential Learning Cycle
Webinar recording will be will be available on the EOI website on September 21st

Webinar:  December TBD  
Stay tuned for the webinar recording to be available on December 7th !

EOI's Annual Conference- Respond. Relate. Resonate.
November 1st-2nd, 2017 
Join us for a one-of-a-kind conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Urbandale. With nationally recognized keynote speakers, engaging workshops, an extensive exhibitor hall full of resources, and countless networking opportunities, you are sure to have a fun and enlightening couple of days full of learning!

Be Proud! Be Responsible! Be Protective! Curriculum Training
January 23-24, 2018
Awkward to Awesome: Sex Ed Boot Camp
February 12-13, 2018
Register Here!
Puberty/Reproductive Anatomy/Contraception
February 21, 2018
February 22, 2018

All in person trainings are held at EyesOpenIowa in West Des Moines, IA
Scholarships are available for most classes - click here to inquire
Please click the button below to contact Emily Miller with any training questions. 
Upcoming Conferences Worth Noting

SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Annual Eyes Open Iowa Conference
Johnston, IA
November 1st - 2nd, 2017
Registration opens in July 
Articles Worth Reading
The huge factor making comprehensive school sex education more important than ever is the rise of porn and how kids are becoming sexually aware far sooner. Some advocate that parents and schools be teaching "critical porn analysis", which teaches online protective behaviors; the impact of pornography on the brain; the addictive nature of pornography; high rates of arousal disorders experienced by long-term users; body image issues.
"13 Reasons Why", the incredibly popular Netflix show, has been renewed for a second season. Even though it has faced a large amount of controversy, no one can doubt the fact that it has certainly brought to light some of the very real struggles that today's teens are facing.

Kids aren't aware of how powerful their messages are and how their messages might impact others. As parents and educators, it's important to teach out kids about healthy relationships, bullying, and how our words can influence others. 

A new study has found that a females' odds of becoming a teen parent increases if their sexual debut occurred between the ages of 15 to 17 and involved a partner with an age gap of 3-4 years. 

Teen births are continuing to decline in the US, with a reported 9% drop from 2013 to 2014.

Summer is traditionally a time when young people have a bit more independence. The resources discussed here are designed to tackle topics that students don't cover in school, so they can be informed and safe.

The thought of talking to your child about sexting might seem impossible and uncomfortable to most parents - But children and technology expert Andy Phippen says it's one of the keys to helping young children stay safe. This article details his advice to parents on the issue of sexting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent survey has revealed that adolescents are making more responsible decisions for their reproductive health. As Nicole Cushman, executive director of Answer, said, this "really shows that when we equip young people with the knowledge and the skills to protect their sexual health, they're capable of making decisions best for them." 

The CDC has released a new report showing that fewer teens are reporting sexual activity. And, encouragingly, when they do have sexual relationships, the majority of these young people are using protection.

The Iowa Department of Public Health recently released numbers that show in 2016, there were more new HIV cases than any other year on record. It's important to remember to use protection and get tested.

Are you looking for ways to teach youth about healthy relationships using examples from pop culture? We have been working hard to create a list of songs and movies that can be used as examples or openers to start a meaningful conversation. This list will be updated and improved every month as new songs and movies are released. Let us know if you would be interested in subscribing to receive this information by clicking on the button below and selecting "the talk help", as well as any other newsletters you are interested in receiving, on the option list! 
EyesOpenIowa Merchandise

Assorted Sexuality Educator T-Shirts .
Sex Ed Advocate large tote
Certified Sexual Health Educator messenger bag
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