It Is Here for Us! (My time as a Peer Educator) - My Family Travels

My name is Montéz Jennings and I am affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Maryland. I have been affiliated with Planned Parenthood for three years and I am what is called a Peer Educator. As a Peer Educator, it is my service to educate young adults about the dangers of risky behaviors. I educate young adults on sexual health, reproductive health, communication and other subjects related to life. The Peer Education program has offered me many opportunities. This brings me to the interesting story of my travels with other peer educators. My journey began July 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.

I recall the excitement I had when I woke at seven am. I quickly dressed thinking of what would happen. I looked at a text from my Supervisor of Training, Ms. Roemer. “Good morning everyone. I hope everyone is excited for 2011 Youth Organizing and Policy Conference”. I smiled as I thought of all the new and wonderful things I would learn about being a Peer Educator.

I remember my curiosity of riding the Marc train for the first time. We waited in the train station for about twenty minutes before we boarded. There were three second year Peer Educators, three first years, and one other third year. We were all eager to learn more about the wonderful world of Planned Parenthood. We boarded the train and then took a ride on the Metro. After what seemed like fifteen minutes, we arrived at the Wardman Park Marriot. I felt that a new world opened itself to me. The beautiful scenes of the Marriot amazed me.

I saw teenagers just as myself who stood strong for Planned Parenthood. I felt proud to be a part of this wonderful establishment. Once registered our busy schedules began. The first event was welcoming speech with the President of the PPFA (Planned Parenthood Federation of America) and the honorable John Lewis. Next was a schedule of workshops. My favorite of all was the workshop that included a film about African-American stories of reproductive healthcare. This was an inspiring film about the struggles of women and Planned Parenthood supporters all over the country. The film touched my heart and made me think of how many people are uneducated about what Planned Parenthood really does. During our dinner, the film was replaying in my mind. This film connected with the next video which was called, “No Woman, No Cry”. Another inspiring film, telling the stories of women in remote, forgotten countries with no healthcare. The women were having trouble with giving birth and the expenses of having another child. The film made an impact on my mind because it was discouraging to view the struggles of women. It made me think of the privileges offered to citizens in America.

Thursday, July fourteenth came. Today was the day we were to visit Capitol Hill, wearing the bright pink shirts provided by PPFA. We toured Capitol Hill and managed to meet Senator Barbara Mikulski. Later we took a tour of the historic monuments in D.C. This was the first time I ever saw the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington monument. That was nice way to finish of day of walking and being in the heat. The next day would be our last. Not much happened except for two workshops about media and a final lunch with the president of the PPFA. This trip was an experience I would never forget. Planned Parenthood is under-appreciated, but continues to help communities. I felt grateful because I learned to appreciate the privileges and people of Planned Parenthood. It is here for us.

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