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EARLY YEARS: Groups team to help youth navigate puberty and relationships

Online Teen Connections sessions run through June 25, with more planned for the fall
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:07 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - For years, Girls Rock Roanoke has taught girls how to play instruments, write songs and find their voice on- and offstage.

Now it’s partnered with Planned Parenthood to offer a virtual program, Teen Connections, to help educate and empower them.

”Young people just want to know that what they’re going through is typical,” says Planned Parenthood of Roanoke health educator Monique Ingram.

The online collaboration with Girls Rock allows them to serve a wider range of youth, not just those who come to summer camp.

“We really get to hone in and focus on a lot of the messages that we send to them many ways in camp. It’s not masked in music this time, it’s more direct and straightforward,” says Girls Rock Roanoke Executive Director Lacey Levy.

Those messages include information on often tricky topics like puberty and relationships.

“So, we are strengthening their muscles of self-awareness, social awareness, healthy decision-making, healthy relationships, self-reliance. All of those things are part of this curriculum,” says Ingram.

Just as campers who attend Girls Rock, Levy says kids attending the online workshop will gain a new sense of self.

“Feeling more self-assured, they have more confidence, they’re more educated on themselves and how to interact with others,” says Levy.

The program offers family activities to help get the tough conversations started.

Ingram says this is when parents really need to lean in.

“So parents are able to say the things that they want to say, but they don’t always know how to say,” says Ingram.

Below are the dates for the Teen Connections VIRTUAL Summer Program:

Grades 6-8

June 11- 25 Mon, Wed, Fri

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Grades 9-12

June 11- 25 Mon, Wed, Fri

2-4 p.m.

Teen Connections will also be offered this fall. And students will like this part: Those who graduate from the program receive a $100 Visa gift card.

They will graduate from the program as peer educators.

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