Since its founding in 1980, Advocates for Youth has served as a bold voice and respected leader in the field of adolescent reproductive and sexual health. For more than three decades, the organization has worked tirelessly to promote effective adolescent reproductive and sexual health programs and policies in the United States and the global south.. Below is a select list of the organization’s accomplishments spanning its 32-year history. Advocates for Youth is:
- One of the first organizations to put adolescents' reproductive and sexual health needs on the agenda of the international family planning field, establishing the International Clearinghouse on Adolescent Fertility as early as 1980.
- The creator of Life Planning Education, a 1983 ground-breaking sex education program that put sexuality into a life-skills/youth development context.
- A pioneer in the school-based clinic movement, creating the Support Center for School-based Health Clinics in 1984 and helping to launch the National Assembly for School-Based Health Care.
- One of the first mainstream organizations to recognize the potential dangers of HIV for adolescents, sponsoring a groundbreaking national conference on AIDS and adolescents among other HIV prevention initiatives as early as 1987.
- A major innovator in the field of parent-child communication beginning in 1989 with the publication of its widely acclaimed Talking With TV, a guide to using television to improve parent-child communication about sexuality. Advocates is also the national sponsor of Let's Talk Month (October), the author of A Lifelong Dialogue: A Workplace Program to Enhance Parent-Child Communication,and the co-producer Let's Talk About Sex, a provocative documentary designed to spur parent-child communication that premiered In April 2011 on TLC to more than 1. 5 million households. of. Advocates' Parents Sex Ed Center is visited by millions of parents annually.
- One of two co-sponsors of the First Inter-Africa Conference on Adolescent Reproductive Health in 1992.
- The founder of the first Internet intervention for lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, www.youthresource.com and its Spanish-language sister site, www.ambientejoven.com
- A leader in the field of youth development and youth empowerment with over 25 years of experience bringing young people's voices to adolescent reproductive and sexual health policy and programming. Cutting-edge initiatives include promoting youth-adult partnerships in HIV community prevention planning, advocating for youth involvement in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, assisting state organizations to place young people on School Health Advisory Councils to promote comprehensive sex education and creating the Youth Activist Network, comprised of 65,000 young activists and leaders from around the country and the world working in support of youth sexual health and rights. At the forefront of a national legislative strategy to eliminate federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, bringing together 39 national organizations in the reproductive rights, education, AIDS, civil rights, medical, and anti-censorship fields to actively advocate for adolescent access to comprehensive sexuality education.
- Cofounder of the Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE), a collaboration to promote comprehensive sexuality education in America's public schools. In 2012, FoSE produced the National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, grades K through 12. The Standards provide the first-ever guidance for schools on the minimum essential content and skills students need to learn in each grade. The Standards are currently being used in school districts across the country to improve the quality of sex education students receive.
- A regular contributor to and influencer of the media debate on adolescent reproductive and sexual health issues. In 2001, Advocates began to frame the abstinence-only sex education debate as an assault on public health science and coined the phrase "science vs. ideology". The phrase was later adopted by environmental rights and medical associations, including the Society of Concerned Scientists to describe the assault by social conservatives on public health research within their fields. The term later became a cornerstone of the Obama administration's guiding principles...
- An innovator of new programs to redress homophobia and transphobia in communities of color. Advocates founded the Anti-homophobia/Transphobia Project in 2007 to provide information, resources, and assistance to approximately 400 organizations serving youth of color around the country, helping them to make their programming and their communities more inclusive of LGBT youth of color. In 2012, the organization leveraged its domestic expertise to launch an LGBT youth health and rights program in Uganda, Nigeria and Jamaica.
- The founder of Amplify, the first fully-integrated hub for online activism and youth-led grassroots movement building for young activists across the country and around the world www.amplifyyourvoice.org.
- Creator of the groundbreaking 1 in 3 Campaign, an initiative launched in 2012 that uses personal storytelling to create a new cultural narrative around abortion to underpin the field's legal and policy work. The initiative uses story sharing to break through the silence surrounding women's real life abortion experiences, reducing stigma and strengthening support for abortion care. A pipeline of support and training for thousands of diverse, committed youth activists and leaders, assisting them to make change on their campuses and in their communities. In 2009, Advocates launched the Great American Condom Campaign, a partnership with Trojan-brand condoms comprised of 2,000 activists providing no-cost condoms, safer sex education and contraceptive advocacy on 1,000 campuses across the U.S.