The IRC in Atlanta’s Youth Leadership Team (YLT) – a group of young adults age 18-24 – have been working for months on a campaign to increase awareness of sexual and reproductive health services available to young people in the Clarkston area, so they were thrilled to participate in the Clarkston Culture Fest to expand their community outreach.
Hundreds of people attended the festival to celebrate the diversity and culture of Clarkston and its residents. YLT members met and talked with local leaders and members of the community about their work, providing information on reproductive health services available at Oakhurst Medical Centers, including LARCs — long-acting reversible contraceptives like the IUD and the implant. They also spoke with peers and other community members about the importance of family planning and regular STD testing.
In their new role as peer reproductive health educators, YLT members Mustafa and Edris spent the day discussing the importance of reproductive health with other vendors and cultural groups at the festival and were pleased with how open people were to their message.
“Everyone came in peace to have fun and meet other members of their communities. People were very open-minded about the information we were sharing, and most of the young people we talked to showed a lot of interest in services at Oakhurst,” said Mustafa.
YLT member Mu Ni felt that the festival was a great opportunity for mutual learning: “I was there as a representative of IRC to give out information about the Youth Leadership Team,” she said, “But at the same time, I was learning about other programs and cultures in Clarkston.”
The group also shared information on IRC services such as resume-building workshops, English classes and connecting to career development opportunities, to show that reproductive health is an important component of planning for your future and helps young people to achieve their education and career goals.
Over the summer, the YLT will be using videos, social media and peer-education sessions to help other young people access critical reproductive health services at the new Oakhurst Medical Center, co-located with the IRC in Atlanta at Northlake. They will also be working with the IRC and partner organization, Advocates for Youth, to pilot a text-line that young people in Clarkston can use to get fast, confidential answers to reproductive health questions.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.