“It is wonderful to see this text messaging service come to fruition,” says Connie Jessen of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), “When we first began working on sexual health programs for Alaska Native youth, we heard from both parents and community members who requested more resources to support and encourage better communication between youth and adults. This campaign reflects the importance of listening to our communities and what resources they want and need.” 

“Parents are important influencers when it comes to teens making decisions about sex, healthy relationships, and effective communication,” shares Michelle Singer of Healthy Native Youth, “Parents and caring adults want to be a part of their child’s sexual health education journey, but don’t know how to start a conversation often out of fear and embarrassment. This campaign offers resources and tips to get a conversation started by texting EMPOWER to 97779.”

In part, Talking Is Power is designed to spark intergenerational conversations about identity, healthy relationships, protection, and consent. “Our ancestors taught us to consider future generations in all that we do,” offers Alida Montiel, Director of Health & Human Services at the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona. “Our youth must be given the tools they’ll need to be prepared for life’s journey.”

Caring adults can text the word “EMPOWER” to 97779 to receive weekly text messages that include culturally appropriate tips and resources, covering sexual health, pregnancy, HIV/STDs, condoms, and consent.  So far, nearly 200 parents have signed up for the service. Among those who’ve completed the series, 84% reported that the messages helped spark sensitive conversations with their child. All of the campaign tips and tools are available online at https://www.healthynativeyouth.org/resources/talking-is-power-tools-for-parents/

SOURCE Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

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