PERREAULT Magazine MARCH | APRIL 2016 - Page 53

Continued on page 54

Sex is on television, in film, in the media, discussed among peers, and even discussed with teachers at school [in health class]. This year in the health education classrooms at Monroe, Manual Arts, Jefferson, Crenshaw, Wilson and Fremont High Schools, in historically low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles, students are not only learning and talking about sex, they are creating role-playing experiences to prepare for safe sex and meeting first-hand young adults who are HIV positive.


Recognizing adolescents’ need for hands-on experiences and visual learning approaches, the UCLA Art and Global Health Center (the Center) launched a truly unorthodox sexual education intervention program called AMP!, an Arts-based, Multiple-intervention, Peer-education HIV and STI prevention program for high school youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

The program was conceptualized in 2006 after the Center conducted a student workshop with the infamous Pieter-Dirk Uys, a South African performer and social activist. Since its inception, AMP! has filled a considerable void in youth sexual education within LAUSD.

“In providing this education for them in a way that they will receive it instead of someone just standing in front of a classroom lecturing, it’s my hope that they will be safe, that they will have a different path in life. Life has enough obstacles – we can remove the ones we can remove.” – Kim, GSA Coordinator, San Fernando High School

The framework for AMP! involves a four-component approach: (1) UCLA Sex Squad performance, (2) Rehearsal for Real Life workshops, (3) Positively Speaking, and (4) continuation of any of the first three components and/or creation of a high school Sex Squad. AMP! works to address many of the issues surrounding sexual health and sexuality for teens, including gender identity, sexual assault, sexual consent, stigma, and several other topics. The UCLA Sex Squad, made up of a group of UCLA undergraduate students from a multitude of disciplines, is a performance troop that uses real life experiences and creativity to open up dialogue about safe sex and sexuality and is one of the major contributors to AMP!’s success.

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