Sexual Health Education at Bridgercare
Bridgercare facilitates a safe space for honest, respectful discussion of sexual health. We accomplish this by providing medically accurate, evidence based, culturally competent, and developmentally appropriate comprehensive sex education in a compassionate and sensitive manner.
We love nothing more than working with individuals, schools, and the community at large to make sure everyone has access to medically accurate, comprehensive, evidence-based, and nonjudgmental sexual and reproductive health education!
Our Education Director Cami Armijo-Grover will work with you to design a presentation that fits your needs. You can reach her at carmijo at bridgercare.org or 406.587.0681 ext. 113.
Bridgercare empowers individuals to make safe, responsible decisions about their sexual health:
- Puberty workshops for pairs of pre-teens to do with their parent/guardian/significant adult
- Developmentally appropriate education for elementary, middle, high school and college students
- Public health presentations and workshops on a variety of topics such as teen pregnancy prevention, STI prevention, healthy relationships and coercion, sexual orientation and gender expression and much more
- Collaboration with other youth serving organizations such as Big Sky Youth Empowerment and Youth Dynamics
- Peer Education Program: 17 dedicated high school educators with 1 goal – educate their peers on sexual health and healthy relationships. This program is co-facilitated with HAVEN and gave 46 presentations during the 2018-2019 school year, teaching 2,361 youth from Kindergarten through college! More info here.
- Parent Education to help parents solidify their own values around sex and effectively communicate with their children about this important topic.
In 2017, Montana High School Students Self-Reported:
43% have had sex
55% of those that are sexually active used a condom the last time they had sex
9% have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse
10% have been the victim of teasing or name calling because someone thought they were gay, lesbian or bisexual
Cami Armijo-Grover has been the Education Director at Bridgercare for three years. She provides comprehensive, medically accurate, culturally competent sexual health education to over 3,000 individuals each year, from kindergartners to adults. Cami’s favorite part of her job consists of co-leading an empowered (and empowering) team of teenage Peer Educators with HAVEN. This group focuses on training youth from kindergarten to college on issues pertinent to sexual and reproductive health and healthy relationships. In their free time, Cami and the Peer Educators can be found answering questions like “How do you convince a friend who has had many partners to get STI testing?” “Is it okay to not ever have sex?” “How big is the average American penis?” and “I’m attracted to everyone, literally everyone. What do I do?”
Why did you decide to become a Peer Educator?
I’m most passionate about becoming a wealth of knowledge about sex. I know so many friends who have no clue where to go to get information about sex and sexuality. I think being a great resource for people is beautiful. Bridgercare is a place where everyone is safe. Not only are the people there extremely knowledgeable about the medical side of what they do, but also so kind and accepting of everyone. Being in Peer Ed has helped me gain a new perspective. The group is simultaneously so diverse and like-minded that the environment is very motivating and comfortable. Being with them has helped me think differently about lots of things and become closer to some awesome people.” Cole Janssen – Peer Educator Alumni
What does it mean to you to be a Peer Educator?
Clare Hendricks moved to Bozeman in 6th grade and has two little brothers. She works part time at La Chatelaine, is a part of the Project X2 Club at Bozeman High, has a boyfriend, and likes to paint, draw, hike, and adventure outside. Clare joined Peer Ed at the beginning of her Junior year in 2017.
“The Peer Educators came into our Sex Ed class sophomore year and I learned so much. I thought it was awesome!” Clare said reflecting back on the first time she learned about the Peer Education Program. “Being a Peer Educator is amazing, honestly one of the most fun things I have ever been a part of. It feels so helpful to be a resource for the community – my friends, family, even strangers. It really opens a line of communication for so many people.”
Since becoming a Peer Educator in the fall of 2017, Clare has been a formal educator in classrooms throughout the Gallatin Valley, ranging from elementary age kids to her peers at Belgrade and Bozeman High Schools. And her role as an informal educator is just as important. From giving younger friends in orchestra advice on how to keep themselves sexually healthy, to connecting a peer to critical resources when they experienced sexual assault, to providing emotional support to a classmate who needed to schedule an appointment at Bridgercare, Clare is able to empower those around her to take control of their health and their future.
“It has changed the way my friends treat me. They see me as a safe resource and I now feel capable to deal with all situations. I feel like I can be open with everyone and they can do so with me in return.”
This past March, Clare applied to represent the Episcopal Church at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The 2018 Commission’s focus was “Empowering Rural Women and Girls”. Clare was one of 20 accepted to represent the Episcopal Church and traveled to New York City to attend the two week conference.
“It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! I met so many incredible women who are on the ground changing the world. It puts the whole world in perspective for you, honestly.” Some memorable highlights for Clare included meeting Geraldine Byrne Nason, a UN representative from Ireland, and Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General.
Also, after some prodding on our part, the humble 17 year old divulged that her comments on “culturally appropriate healthcare” had been included in the final draft from the 2018 UN Commission document. When asked what prompted her to raise her hand and her voice in front of experts from around the world, Clare stated “I spoke up because of my time in Peer Ed. I really came out of my shell in this group. Peer Ed gave me the confidence and communication skills to speak up in front of any group, regardless of who is in the room.”
Clare will be a senior at Bozeman High School this fall. Because of her experience both in Peer Ed and at the UN Commission, Clare is interested in studying political science and international relations in college, and hopes to intern with Jon Tester in the near future. Clare also hopes to return in 2019 as a representative for the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
“I love EVERYTHING about Peer Ed! At every meeting, I learn more about reproductive health, consent, and how to be a good ally.”
We are grateful to Clare for sharing her story and to all of our Peer Educators for the continuous dedication, passion, and enthusiasm they bring to Bridgercare and our community as a whole.