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The stories can be difficult to process. Young girls, still qualifying for educational services by the state, spending their weekends looking for possible fathers for their future babies. The students who are in the young adult program of the school district qualify for services until they are 21 because they have special needs. Some have down syndrome, some are autistic, some have severe learning disorders that have never been specifically identified. For a variety of individual reasons, these students are picked up in the morning and dropped off in the afternoon by the school district busses and vans.
During their time at school, students rotate between days in the classroom studying classes like government and citizenship, community, and everyday mathematics and days on a variety of job sites. And while many students stay the course and get as much from the program as they can, a few make questionable choices that leave them in precarious situations.
For example, if one student finds out that she can receive support from the state if she is an unwed mother, some of the staff members at the school fear that other young women may follow in her footsteps. For these reasons, the staff members like to also make sure that they highlight the stories of success of students who have graduated from the program, have full time jobs, their own apartments, and an independent life style.
Not surprisingly, one of the topics of conversation in adult living classes focuses on safe sex, pregnancy prevention, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With speakers from the local STD testing centers, students are able to get information about staying healthy even if they decide to be sexually active. The students are provided a list of free STD testing centers that operate as free walk in clinics where many services are available.
Young Adult Education Must Address the Real Needs of the Students
While public schools can argue the merit of pregnancy prevention and the importance of STD testing centers in high school classrooms, few will deny the importance of covering these topics in the last structured educational environments for 18 to 21 year olds. And while the latest information on these topics may be difficult for school employees to prepare and present, these are topics that can be confidently addressed by doctors, nurses, other staff, and volunteers at STD testing centers. Armed with the latest statistics of the area, these knowledgeable resources can not only provide information, they can also expertly answer questions.
For instance, if students of any age know that fast STD testing is available to them at little or no charge, they may be more likely to seek out these services. Likewise, if these students know that they are adults who can receive confidential STD testing they may take advantage of these resources.
Community health awareness is important to Americans of all ages. The group of young adults who fall into the net of those still educated by school districts may benefit the most from this knowledge. It is simply not enough to just tell these students about the benefits of basic health needs and the proper use of medical services. It is advantageous to let these students know that hospital emergency room visits are expensive and not always necessary.
For instance, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey reports indicate that the average emergency room visitor pays total costs of $1,318. Understanding that the the mean cost of $615 is still too much is essential. These future consumers and patients need to know about the availability of quick care clinics, STD clinics, and other affordable services.
If you had the opportunity to select a curriculum for some of the more vulnerable members of society during their last few years of access to public education, what would you want them to know? Perhaps safe sex and prevention of pregnancy and STD would make the top of the list. Relying on free medical resources, these valuable health lessons may be able to help these young adults understand the opportunities that are available to them in many neighborhood health clinics. Helping all teenagers, especially the most vulnerable, avoid teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is a way to invest in the future of the next generation.

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