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Alpha Academy talks sexuality

Courtesy Photo/Alpha
Project Alpha hosted 28 young men, ages 12 to 14, on Nov. 15 to talk about sexuality, manhood and relationship issues.
Alpha Academy hosted the Project Alpha Conference on Nov. 15 at Potomac Middle School in Woodbridge.

The conference was put on in conjunction with Planned Parenthood of Washington DC (PPMW) and provided an environment where young men could learn about sexuality, manhood and relationship issues.

A total of 28 young men between the ages of 12 and 14 attended the Project Alpha conference.

Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington DC facilitated the event with four community education specialists with the support of members of Xi Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

The conference began with Planned Parenthood dducators Lena Thompson and Blanca Torres discussing HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

The educators discussed how people catch and transfer the infections, the symptoms and whether the infection was curable.

The young men were later separated into three groups to attend three 45-minute round-robin sessions to discuss “Anatomy 101 and Protecting Yourself and Your Partner/Contraceptives,” “Intimate Violence in Relationships” and “Adolescent Pregnancy and Fatherhood.”

The small group sessions gave the youths the opportunity for an intimate setting to ask questions and dispel myths and gave the educators more time to elaborate on concepts.

During the “Anatomy 101 and Protecting Yourself and Your Partner/Contraceptives” session, educator Sheila Suarez discussed the male and female reproductive systems and how they operate.

She also discussed various types of contraceptives and how to properly put on a condom, take it off and how to properly dispose of it.

During the “Intimate Violence in Relationships” session, Torres discussed healthy, unhealthy and warning signs of abuse in relationships.

She also discussed how to help a friend and effective communication tips.

She provided contact information for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, 1-866-331-9474 and loveisrespect.org.

During the “Adolescent Pregnancy and Fatherhood” session educator Gabbi Martinez had the group members list their short and long term goals. She then challenged them to determine how they would accomplish their goals if they were to become teenage fathers.

She also discussed the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 which totaled over $240,000.

"Even though it's kinda gross to talk about, at the same time it is informative because it might happen and we have to be ready and have a back up plan" said Andre Johnson, a freshman at Potomac High School who has attended the program for the last two years.

Throughout the day, Alpha Academy gave away almost $400 worth of gift cards from AMC Theaters, Dominoes, McDonalds and Walmart.

In the later part of the afternoon, the Planned Parenthood educators led a session with parents.

The educators discussed strategies on how to manage discussions with teenagers about HIV/AIDS and STDs, adolescent pregnancy and other issues.

For more information on Alpha Academy, visit apaxal.com/alphaacademy.
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