YA Olivet Mulberry St. Program

8.3.17 1:00PM-2:30PM

722 Mulberry St.

Reading, PA

Berks Teens Matter educates and trains high school students to be part of our mission to reduce teen pregnancy. These students become part of our Youth Ambassador program. One aspect of being a YA is to provide peer education to Olivet Boys and Girls club youth.

With the help of our YA coordinator, the high school students help run a weekly program at the boys and girls club that takes place throughout the year.

Working with kids ranging in ages 8-17, the YAs work one-on-one and in groups, discussing issues like healthy relationships, conflict resolution, anatomy, sexual health and reproduction. Through games, activities and tailored curriculum, OBGC students are given the opportunity to participate. They are also encouraged to submit a question via an anonymous question box at the end of each session.

The following notes are a summary of these weekly sessions.

  • Attendees
    • Alexandra Pratz – Youth Ambassador Coordinator Intern
    • Kristen Orgera – Social Media and Marketing
    • Angela Cremer – Social Media and Marketing
    • Lisbeth Orihuela Flores – Student – returner
    • Yesley Licette Rodriguez – Student – returner
    • Meralis Castillo – Student – returner
    • Jesus – Student – returner
    • Noriana Cooley – Student – returner
    • Wesley Butler – Student – returner
  • Room set up with no chairs so students sit on the floor. BTM posters and group guidelines around the room.
  • Before youth arrive, discuss change in lesson plan with YAs and review lesson as well as questions from “golden question box” last week
  • When youth have been seated, Alex introduced herself and BTM and asked if youth remember them or their names.
    • Introduce Alex and YAs to remind youth of names.
    • Tell youth that we are going to play a game called “This or That”
      • Sit everyone in large circle (including Alex and YAs).
      • Have “This or That” bucket and explain that to start, someone will pick a stick out of the bucket and pick one of the things on the stick that they like more than the other thing on the stick.
        • Example: Morning or Night
      • Have a ball of yarn and have first person hold the yarn or tie it around his/her own wrist. Pick a stick and once read aloud, everyone who agrees with that person’s choice will raise their hand.
      • Throw yarn to someone who raised their hand and continue to do so until there are no hands left
      • The last person with their hand up picks a new stick.
      • At the end, with the web created, explain that even though we all like different things and none of us are alike, we are all connected in some way just like the web we created shows. Relate this to the past 4 week’s lessons and explain that it is important to be kind to others even if we are different and disagree because we all deserve respect.


  • Group Guidelines
    • Remind the youth of the group guidelines they came up with last week and refer to the newsprint on the wall.
    • Ask them if they can think of some rules we can follow better this week.
  • Questions from previous week’s question box – give youth a chance to answer their peer’s questions before answering the group as a whole. This allows them to think and practice respect with one another while promoting group discussion.
    • What if you feel like a boy and a girl?
      • It is okay to feel like a boy and a girl, especially because not everything is just for boys or just for girls..that is called gender stereotypes, remember? Feeling like a boy and a girl is different than having romantic feelings for boys and girls which is called bisexual.
    • What is transsexual?
      • A person who feels in their heart that they are a different sex than how they were born.
    • Why if you feel like you’re uncomfortable with a different sex?
      • It is important to ask questions, be kind, and have respect for others even if they feel different ways than you or if you don’t agree with them. If you are uncomfortable, you should talk to an adult about the reasons why.
    • What age do you think people should have sex or get physical with each other?
      • This is different for every person. It is important that you feel ready. Some people don’t have sex until they are older like in high school or college and some people wait until marriage.
    • What is gender?
      • Feeling that you are a boy or a girl. Sex is what your body parts show you are. Sexual orientation is the sex that you are attracted to romantically.
    • Can a teacher be gay or lesbian?
      • A teacher is a person just like everybody else and can be gay, lesbian, or identify as anything else just like other people can.
    • When you’re still a kid, do you know what sex you like or are you not sure yet?
      • Some kids know what sex they like but as we go through puberty, we might feel different ways and have different feelings than we do when we are still kids. It is important to know that as we get older, we will feel a lot of different emotions for boys AND girls but one day you will know what sex you like. It may be the same sex you like now or it may not be.
    • Did everything we talk about start with being a tom boy/ tom girl?
      • Being a tom boy/tom girl does not mean you are gay or lesbian. Being a tom boy/tom girl just means that you don’t follow the gender stereotypes we talked about!
    • Education
      • Use small groups with 1-2 students in each group facilitated by a YA. Allow the YA’s to pick their group members so friends do not end up in the same group.
      • Lesson “Creating A Safe School: Celebrating All”
        • Go through lesson plan in the order the curriculum recommends (lesson plan attached to curriculum used)
        • Tailor this lesson to focus on the safe environment of OBGC Mulberry Street. Integrate the ideas into the student’s school environment as they will be returning to school in a couple of weeks.
        • Replace lesson plan handout with OBGC handout (attached to curriculum used)
        • Use newsprint to get general group thoughts (see results attached)
      • Summary Poster Board
        • Explain to the youth that BTM made something to give to OBGC to remember them, show Francis and their leaders, and to remind themselves of what they learned the past 4 weeks.
        • Put poster board in middle of the room and have YA’s hand out markers and shapes for students.
        • Ask students to write their favorite thing they learned from BTM the past 4 weeks on their chosen shape and to tape it anywhere they want to on the poster board. (see results attached)
        • Explain that this poster will be hung up so to write something that makes them and their leaders proud.
        • At this time, assist with spelling and ideas for youth.
        • Once completed, have everybody hold the poster up and Kristen and Angela take a group picture for BTM and OBGC.
      • Thank you
        • Tell the youth that they have done a great job listening and participating the past 4 weeks.
        • Explain that BTM will be back!
        • Tell the youth to get in a straight line and that we have thank you gifts for them.
        • At this time, also hand out Parent Packets (English and Spanish versions) and ask preferred language of their parents/guardians.
        • Have youth promise to give the packet to their guardians and when they do so, hand them the BTM water bottle with candy inside.
      • Tools used
        • Have youth raise hand to speak in order to discourage distraction and side conversations
        • Emphasis on allowing the youth to come up with their own answers and giving everybody a chance to speak
        • In order to get the youth to focus in times of distraction throughout the program, we introduced a concept before beginning and added one more element. Each week, 1 element will be added.
          • Alex snaps her fingers, YAs snap their fingers, and youth snap their fingers until everybody is snapping
          • Alex stomps her feet, YAs stomp their feet, and youth stomp their feet until everybody is stomping
          • Alex claps her hands on her legs, YAs clap their hands on their legs, and youth clap their hands on their legs
          • Alex rubs here hands together, YAs rub their hands together, and youth rub their hands together
          • Alex claps 1 time, YAs clap 1 time, and youth clap 1 time. Do this 3x and their attention will be back to you and the lesson through a fun process
        • Barriers
          • Having bilingual leaders and YAs was very helpful with the language barrier. This last week, a CCWS employee was able to translate the English letter for the parents into Spanish. Because of this, Alex made 2 separate parent packets and the youth at OBGC were able to decide which would be best for their parents/guardians to have.
          • Having all homework and handouts available in Spanish beforehand would be convenient and allow BTM to better communicate with the youth our next time at OBGC.
          • One youth who was present each of the 4 weeks was unable to return her homework since it was never in Spanish. Due to this, we gave her all the homework prizes at the conclusion of the last session because she did show commitment and this barrier was not resolved before the end of the 4 weeks.


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