Friday, January 9, 2009

Diversity Award

With money from the Family Planning Council of Iowa and the Iowa Initiative, Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa hired two bilingual staff for outreach to the growing Hispanic communities and the investment is already paying off. Listening to
Alejandra Rebolledo, Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, talk about her work, it’s not surprising that she helped PPSI win the Central Region Diversity Award, which means an extra $1,000 for their education department.

Her enthusiasm is contagious: Hispanic women want to know more about birth control and how to prevent getting an STD or HIV; they are interested in learning how to communicate with other family members about sexuality.

Alejandra teaches a six-week series of women’s reproductive healthcare classes in Spanish. The first week they talk about anatomy, followed by information about pap smears and mammograms. Week three is about birth control including LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptives). In weeks four and five, she teaches about sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The last week they talk about communicating with children about sexuality and talking to partners about condom use.

“If you don’t have good communication with mom and dad, then it’s difficult to have communication with children,” says Alejandra. For some, their religious beliefs are a barrier to getting information. Alejandra says she always tells women that she respects their point of view but that her information is research-based and medically accurate. She finds her role as a teacher really rewarding. Some of the ladies she teaches have said, “God bless you and thanks for sharing.”