By Raymond Blossom | June 2, 2016
Prevention Supervisor, Touchstone Health Services Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
Note: Raymond Blossom participated in a recent training delivered by ETR Professional Development staff. We asked him to share some of his reflections after the event.
I grew up in the South Bay area of San Diego, California. There is a lot to witness there, a lot to learn and a lot to take in.
It is true there are beautiful beaches and weather that makes you never want to leave. But outside looking in, you may not see the lives lost too often to gang violence, families struggling to make ends meet, and the lack of opportunity for many young men and women.
As a teen, some of my closest friends were becoming parents before high school graduation. I never imagined I would one day have the opportunity to teach prevention and sexual health to teens, and to let young men and women know they do not have to become a statistic.
Through trial, error and a lot of luck, I have been able to overcome many of the challenges that many young people are facing on a day-to-day basis. Why would I not want to spread the message of hope, encouragement and, most of all, resiliency to these young men and women? I strongly believe that encouragement can make all the difference in at least one life, and hopefully have influence beyond that.
In March of 2016, Touchstone’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program had the opportunity to be trained by ETR. I truly appreciate ETR’s willingness to provide our program with the skills to effectively facilitate the Making Proud Choices curriculum to our groups of youth. ETR supports our efforts in trying to remain inclusive to all cultures, backgrounds and identities.
Sexual health knows no color or gender. It doesn’t single out any individual. We strive to spread that message of inclusivity and knowledge to all. Beyond our in-person training, ETR has not hesitated to answer our questions or address any concerns we may have surrounding the curriculum.
ETR is the distributor of the curriculum we have chosen to facilitate in our communities. They will continue to be a key part of the difference we are trying to make among these young men and women. We know that ETR considers our opinions and suggestions as part of what can continue to make the curriculum grow and improve. This really allows us to lock in and focus on what we can do as a program to provide as much knowledge and understanding as we can to our groups of youth.
Raymond is a graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University, where he majored in Communications. Raymond joined Touchstone’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (Phoenix, Arizona) in August of 2014 as a Prevention Specialist, where he facilitated evidence-based curricula in school and community settings. Currently, Raymond serves as the Prevention Supervisor over program implementation and hopes to continue to increase awareness in prevention and healthy decision making, encourage youth to strive for positivity and success in all aspects of life, and work to help strengthen communities as a whole.
Raymond can be reached at Raymond.Blossom@touchstonebh.org.