November 20, 2012
The Red Ribbon Project, a nonprofit organization of Colorado's Eagle County, empowers the community to reduce HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. Red Ribbon has built meaningful relationships with health agencies, youth-serving organizations, and the school district. The organization team is made up of community members and is known as "a small nonprofit that does big things."
When the Red Ribbon Projects began in 1996, the group offered HIV 101 to middle- and high-school youth. The course has evolved into the Youth Skills Building Program, which is a comprehensive life skills curriculum encouraging youth to make informed and positive decisions. The program offers culturally and age-appropriate HIV/AIDS education to students in grades 6 through 12. The Youth Skills Building program provides 14 classes at Eagle County middle and high schools, from which the students can pick to enroll.
The Red Ribbon Project has also begun a teen pregnancy prevention program, called Cuidate!, which means "take care of yourself." This program is aimed at Latino youth and designed to reduce HIV sexual risks by emphasizing risk reduction strategies that support safe decision making. The Red Ribbon project's testing program specifically serves high school youth and a Latino transient population living in Eagle County, as the county's resort economy relies on tourism and recreation.
On average, 17 babies were born to teens in Colorado every day -- about one baby born every 84 minutes. Nearly three in 10 girls in the United States get pregnant at least once before the age of 20, and 18 percent of Americans with HIV do not know they are infected. These statistics make it clear that education about reproductive health should be provided. The Red Ribbon Project educates youth about the consequences of sex, and presents them with comprehensive education that includes information about safe sex and abstinence.