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By Renee Summers
Telegram Newspaper Reporter 

Two Programs in Westland Aimed at Parents and Teenagers Address Sexuality and Its Consequences


February 28, 2019

Paul Motz and Liala Sobh of the Westland Youth Assistance Program, which is presenting two programs in March for teens and parents on sexual activity.

By the end of today, almost 50 young Americans will contract HIV, and 2,500 will have become pregnant. In fact, three out of ten teenage girls will become pregnant by the time they reach the age of 20.

The Westland Youth Assistance Program, in conjunction with Beaumont Hospital's Taylor Teen Health Center and the organization Parent Action for Healthy Kids, is presenting two programs in March designed to get parents and teens talking about the sensitive-and sometimes embarrassing-subject of sexual activity.

On Tuesday, March 5, Westland Youth Assistance (WYA) will be hosting Talk Early & Talk Often, a program for parents and supporting adults with a youngster in their life. Talk Early & Talk Often is an interactive workshop aimed at helping parents learn how to address the subject of sex and cultivate a supportive relationship with their children. Parents will learn how to make themselves approachable, how to listen, and how to offer guidance when questions about sex arise. Parents will also learn how to feel comfortable discussing such topics as abstinence, pregnancy, sexting, and peer pressure.

WYA Executive Director Paul Motz says that despite modern technology, "The art of conversation is still so very important. Parents really have to model that and be approachable." Humans are wired for emotional connection, Motz says, and if a child feels that connection lacking from the family, they will find a connection somewhere, possible in a premature sexual encounter.

Motz says the program is held once yearly and draws roughly 30 adults each year. "Take advantage of this, "Motz says. "This is some great information that could be helpful not only today, but later on down the road."

Talk Early & Talk Often will be held at the Westland City Hall, located at 36300 Warren Road. The program will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and dinner will be provided. The program is for adults only, but to make it easier for parents to attend, child care will be provided. To register, call WAY at 734-467-7904.

For teens between the ages of 12 and 18, WYA is providing a daylong workshop called Be Proud! Be Responsible! Be Proud! Be Responsible will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.

Liala Sobh is the Deputy Director of WYA, and will be involved as part of a team presenting learning modules to teen participants, teaching young people how to make responsible choices and stay safe when considering relationships and sexual activity.

Through a variety of activities, teens will learn about pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, refusal skills, and the benefits of delaying sexual activity. "We want to start that conversation," says Sobh.

The event is held monthly and Sobh adds. "We serve roughly a couple hundred youth a year, if not more, from our community as well as neighboring communities." The event will include snacks in the morning, a free lunch, and prizes. The event is free but registration and parental permission is required. The event will be held at the Jefferson Barns Community Vitality Center, 32150 Dorsey St., in Westland. To register or for more details, call WYA at 734-467-7904.


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