Red Ribbon Project (RRP) offers a FREE Youth Skills Building (YSB) program to all schools in Eagle County. This program has been in existence since the year 2000, and most recently has been enhanced to include the numerous issues that today’s youth are dealing with, such as substance abuse, healthy relationship building, coping with adversities, and improving communication. The YSB programs’ innovative efforts provide young people with the tools to promote healthy development, realize their full potential, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. The program fosters emotional well-being and builds a foundation for healthy decision-making.
Overall, as an organization, RRP realizes the importance of reaching out to young children and teens in our community in an effort to prevent risky behavior and promote overall healthy, contributing members of society. The YSB program teaches youth to practice self-efficacy (providing opportunities to practice concrete strategies and refusal skills), develop self-awareness and acceptance of others. The safety of young people is a community concern. It is our overall goal that Eagle County can continue to work as a community to keep young people safe and help them make better choices.
The Youth Skills Building program consists of 16 classes that are developmentally appropriate for grades 5-12. Teachers, administrators, and counselors are appreciative of what we offer because many times these issues are not covered in a regular classroom setting. The YSB classes are described below:
Puberty and Maturation 5-8th grade
STI’s, including HIV 7-12th grade
Contraception and the Myths of Reproductive Health 8-12th grade
Substance Abuse 6th-12th grade
Dignity (and Bullying) 6-8th grade
Safety (and Sexuality) in a Digital World 6-12th grade
Signs of Suicide (SOS) 6-12th grade
Boundaries: Need ‘em, Know ‘em, Practice ‘em 6-12th grade
Coping with Stress, Anger Management and Problem Solving 6-12th grade
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Misrepresentations in the Media 6-12th grade
True Colors 6-7th grade
Cultural Awareness 6-10th grade
Interpersonal Relationships: “You, Me and Everyone Else” 6-12th grade
Intentional Living 6-12th grade
Expect Respect 6-12th grade
Tolerance 6-12th grade
The word ¡Cuídate! means “Take Care of Yourself” which is the theme of this culturally based program designed to reduce HIV sexual risk and teenage pregnancy among Latino youth. Today all teens, including Latinos, face many health risks related to sexual behavior, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). ¡Cuídate! helps Latino youth develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills to reduce these risks. The program emphasizes strategies such as sexual abstinence and condom use through activities that allow youth to acquire correct and reliable information about risk and disease, develop attitudes that support safe decision making, build skills to be able to abstain from sex and use condoms, and reinforce confidence in their ability to practice safer sex.
¡CUÍDATE! incorporates salient aspects of Latino culture, including familial-ism (the importance of family) and gender-role expectations (i.e. machismo, which is described as the man’s responsibility in caring for and protecting one’s partner and family). These cultural beliefs are used to frame abstinence and condom use as culturally accepted and effective ways to prevent teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The purpose of The Red Ribbon Project’s free HIV testing is to provide free rapid HIV testing to residents in Eagle County. Eagle County is a rural community with an economy that relies on tourism and recreation. Therefore, in our community we see many Latinos and young adults. The testing program specifically serves this Latino population, the young adult population that comes with living in a resort community, and our High School youth. In the United States, people aged 13 to 24 account for more than a quarter of the 50,000 new HIV infections each year, and 60 percent of these young people have no idea they are infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The National Institute of Health reported that community-based interventions designed to make voluntary HIV testing and counseling more accessible can increase the number of people who know their HIV status, and can prompt people—especially those at high risk for infection—to adopt safer sexual practices. An objective of RRP’s Free HIV Testing program is to build awareness in the community about behaviors that put people at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s); and through the counseling component of the free testing program, educate residents on safer behaviors so they can lead healthier lives.
The Red Ribbon Project allocates a portion of its budget each year for financial support for families and individuals who are burdened with bills associated with managing HIV/AIDS. Red Ribbon Project can also assist by referring people to other agencies for assistance. Confidentiality always applies in these situations.