Shared Resources from the Healthy Relationships Work Group: 4/15/20

Work group meeting recording (4/15/20)
Thanks to all who shared!

Abby Terry: Who Would You Tell?

Mothers and Babies

  • The goal of “Who Would You Tell” is for students to think about boundaries in different relationships, hear examples of non-physical boundaries, recognize the nuances of boundaries as it might be easy to say “I trust all my friends,” but when given specific examples it may become clear that there may be different levels of trust. 
  • The intended audience can be middle or high school students with statements adjusted to fit the audience.
  • This activity may be delivered by a facilitator or teacher, but as written would work best happening live with conversation and interaction to share different responses. It could be modified to be a journal exercise for students to complete individually.

Shaquia Williams: How to Break Up Respectfully

Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, Inc. – La Liga

  • The goal of this workshop is to teach the audience how to identify when a relationship is over, to explain why breaking up with someone is difficult, to provide them with advice about things they can do and say when breaking up with someone, and to provide them with advice about things they should avoid doing and saying when breaking up with someone.
  • The primary intended audience is teens and adolescents in grades 6th through 12th. However, the workshop terminology and examples can be adjusted to better fit an older age group.
  • The intended deliverer of this workshop is a facilitator of sorts, but a parent or teacher could also present the information because the presentation is user friendly.
  • This workshop can be delivered live or virtually. It also does not necessarily need to be delivered by a facilitator. It can easily be uploaded on a website or given to a teacher to distribute. The only thing that would need to be done with a facilitator is the reflection piece of the workshop.

Anne Van Der Veer: Teaching Consent Using Google Classroom

Long Island Jewish Medical Center / Northwell Health

  • The goal of the workshop was two-fold: to present materials related to teaching consent, as well as to explore what asynchronous delivery of student-facing material (information and activities) looks like using the Google Classroom platform with integrated third-party applications.
  • The intended audience of the presentation was educators; the material presented is intended for high school students (with modifications for middle school).
  • The material on consent can be used by students working independently, in small student-led groups, or delivered by a health educator/facilitator/teacher; the activities can be done virtually or in-person, live or asynchronously.
  • The material was presented within the Google Classroom platform and was intended to showcase the flexibility offered within that platform of synchronous (facilitated) or asynchronous (independent) engagement.  The content (activities in particular) could be used by students or educators, and is easily adapted for independent work, facilitated work (virtual) or facilitated work (in-person).

There’s No Place Like Home: How to Make “Working Remotely” Work for You

It’s been between 3-4 weeks since the majority of us have been working remotely.  While this has had an impact on many facets of our lives, let’s focus on our work lives in this post.  How do you navigate the unique dynamics of working from home, especially if you’re not alone?  There are several challenges related to working remotely such as limited access to files or curricular materials, noise and distractions from those within and outside of your home, and having to deal with health concerns—your own and/or those of your loved ones.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Create a calendar/routine: This is especially important if you have multiple people in the home and have to share space and/or technology.  While our current reality is anything but “normal,” try to promote a sense of normalcy by doing what you used to do before while also establishing some new routines (e.g. shower and get dressed as if you were going into the office—YES, I said get dressed, no matter how tempting it may be to stay in your PJs, schedule and enjoy your meals and breaks, check your emails and use a calendar to keep track of all of your work meetings and activities).  If sharing space/technology, you may want to do this for everyone in your home to avoid scheduling conflicts.
  2. Find/create a space at home to work:  Acknowledging that this may be difficult if space is limited and there are multiple people in your home, try to find a neutral space with few distractions (for you and for those that will see you on video).  If you’re on several virtual meetings, you want to find an area that is well-lit and not too far from your router so that you get a strong connection.  Make sure your seating is comfortable, but not too comfortable…I know the recliner is really tempting.
  3. Step up your technology game:  Since more of us are working online, we’re seeing the good side of technology (e.g. being able to connect with friends and family for virtual hang-out sessions) and the not-so-good side of technology (e.g. Zoom Bombing).  Take this time to learn the basics of some commonly used platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as some newer ways that people are connecting like Houseparty.
  4. Establish boundaries:  Working from home means that it’s easier to get your day started, but it might also make it harder for you to end your day.  It’s important to establish boundaries by letting people (including your family, colleagues, etc.) know when you’re working and when you’re off the clock.  Most importantly, when you’re off…you’re off!  Disconnect from work and reconnect with your actual “home life.”
  5. Be gentle with yourself:  As mentioned previously, there is nothing normal about what we are collectively experiencing.  So, don’t expect to fall into “work as usual” mode so quickly.  Allow yourself time to find your groove in our new reality and, don’t just forgive yourself for making mistakes, but expect them.  Lastly, explore new self-care options:  take an online dance, yoga, or fitness class, listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, take on the those long overdue home improvement projects, experiment with some new recipes or reconnect with loved ones that you’ve lost touch with. 
Michele Luc smiling

~ Michele

Farewell and Good Luck, Sara!

The word is out…Sara is leaving us this week and headed to an amazing new job with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

For 11 years, Sara has done incredible work as a researcher and with the ACT for Youth Evaluation Team and beloved mentor for the ACT Youth Network.   Through her skill and humor, Sara has been able to connect with providers by helping them navigate the world of evaluation, tablets, surveys and everyone’s favorite…ORS.  In addition to her own family, Sara has been an integral part of our family here at Cornell.  Her dedication to the work, her commitment to reproductive justice and her endearing personality make her one-of-a-kind.

Sara, your work with Cornell, in general, and the ACT Team, specifically, has been invaluable.  Planned Parenthood’s gain is our loss, but we are beyond excited for as you embark on this new endeavor.  We will miss you tremendously!

~ the ACT for Youth team

Sara at Youth Network meetiing, June 2016
Sara and Michele with Youth Network members in Albany, 2011
Sara and Michele, 2011
Sara, Heather, Divine, and Michele with Ravhee
Sara and Michele with Youth Network participants

Unexpected Situations! What’s an Educator to Do?

So, you’ve gone to all of the ACT Training of Educators, you’ve taken the online implementation training, you’ve even gone to a training on facilitation, but what if the “WHAT IF” happens?  We train educators how to deal with sensitive questions, but what about dealing with sensitive situations that come up in your programs?

Picture this scenario.  While implementing your program in a typical classroom setting, you’re facilitating a module that includes a game centered around STDs.  It’s one of the more engaging activities and participants usually have a lot of fun doing it, but this time, one of the students gets really upset and begins to get teary.  What do you do?

As educators, we can never really plan for EVERYTHING, but we try to be as prepared as possible.  In the case of this scenario, having a participant cry during the session can really rattle an educator, but it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with issues that can bring up a lot for people.  A strategy for dealing with issues like these is to put that out there up front.  Let participants know at the beginning of the cycle what you will be covering, and be explicit.  They may not know when you will cover a particular topic, but at least they know what to expect.

Also, let them know about the different strategies that you’ll be using.  Inform them from the start that there will be role plays involved, but the decision to participate as an actor is completely voluntary.  There will be games involved, but it doesn’t mean that the program or you, as the educator, think topics like HIV/AIDS or negotiating sex are funny or don’t take them seriously.

Without putting them on the spot, check in with them, ask if they’re OK or if they need to take a break (possibly step out of the class/group setting).  This will require you to find out the policy of the school/agency regarding students’ leaving the room.  It’s also helpful if you have another adult in the class (a co-facilitator, teacher, etc.) who can support you so that you can tend to the class and they can assist with the student.  Also, note that checking in with them may require a longer conversation and possibly disclosure of a bigger issue.  Be aware of who the social worker, counselor, or on-site support is, if needed.

Lastly, self-care is important.  Remind them that your workshop is a safe space.  You have to go over all of the material, but if something being discussed is too much for them or hits too close to home, let participants know that they can do whatever is necessary to take care of their needs.  Make sure to give them examples (e.g. step out, take a water break, mentally check out, write/doodle/draw in their notebooks, etc.)

This was one example of a challenging or sensitive situation that may arise, but I’m sure there are many more.  What are some examples you have from the field of difficult situations that have arisen in your programs, and how have you dealt with them?

  – Michele