December 23, 2009 > Kaiser's 'Secrets' educates students about sexual health
Kaiser's 'Secrets' educates students about sexual health
Submitted By Johnny Ng
Some of the tenth-grade students in the large auditorium at Tennyson High School in Hayward snickered and whispered to each other, while others sat engaged and attentive at the presentation on stage.
This is a pretty typical reaction to "Secrets," an interactive live performance presented by the Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs on November 13 to 800 tenth-graders at the Hayward high school.
'Secrets' is a unique way Kaiser Permanente educates high school students about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention. This innovative approach uses the "magic" of live theatre to address many difficult and complex issues affecting teens today such as healthy relationships, the risks of being sexually active, the transmission of HIV and STDs, and abstinence.
"For many of the students, this is the first time, or only time, they can discuss these issues in a frank and open manner," said Hannah Cordero, Program Coordinator, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs. "Students leave the performance inspired to make informed decisions about their health."
'Secrets' blends drama, humor, and music into a powerful, live performance that provides teens with facts about HIV/AIDS, and other STDs. It also dispels many myths surrounding the transmission of HIV and STDs and discusses the consequences of engaging in sexual activity.
After the performance, cast members, who are trained extensively as peer health educators, facilitated a question and answer session where students had the opportunity to ask questions related to the topics of the show. They also handed out a bilingual English/Spanish wallet card with hotline and web site resources including information on where to get tested, assistance with drugs and alcohol, and dating violence.
'Secrets' was created in conjunction with physicians, teachers, licensed counselors, and parents. It is one of five plays performed by the Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs at schools and local communities to inspire children, teens, and adults to make informed decisions about their health and to build stronger, healthier neighborhoods.
All of the programs include popular music and vernacular which engage students and allow them to imagine themselves within the context of the plays. This uniquely enables students to identify and emotionally engage with characters onstage, as well as learn information in a dynamic way.
Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs performances take place regularly at local schools and community events. You can request a performance for your area. Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs performances take place regularly at local schools and community events. You may request a performance of 'Secrets' or any of the other programs for your area.
For a full schedule of upcoming performances and to contact the Educational Theatre Program, please visit kp.org/etp/ncal.