Power through choices: my life, my choices curriculum

Power Through Choices: My Life, My Choices (PTC) is a 10-session prevention curriculum for adolescents, ages 13-18, living in out-of-home care. It has two main themes: self-empowerment and the impact of choices on an individual’s future. It is directed toward youth who reside in group homes, foster homes, kinship foster care, juvenile justice or other out-of-home care and is designed to help youth prevent teen pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Goals and Objectives

The curriculum’s goal is to provide youth in out-of-home care with specific information and skills to help them avoid risk-taking sexual behaviors and reduce the incidence of adolescent pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. Curriculum objectives focus on enabling the participants to:

  1. Make healthy, positive choices related to sexual behavior.
  2. Build condom and contraceptive knowledge and skills.
  3. Develop and practice effective communication skills.
  4. Learn how to access available resources.

Program Design

The PTC curriculum is designed to be delivered by two facilitators in ten 90-minute sessions over a five-week period. Topics addressed in the curriculum are female and male reproductive anatomy, STI and HIV transmission and prevention, contraceptive methods, communication skills, making choices that fit your goals and lifestyle and reproductive health resources available to participants. The curriculum uses a combination of role-playing demonstrations, individual reflection, group discussions, along with interactive games and activities. Each session includes time dedicated to answer questions submitted by participants.

Participant Ages and Group Size

The Power Through Choices: My Life, My Choices curriculum is designed for female and male adolescents between the ages of 13-18. Because some adolescents may be more or less advanced developmentally than others, this issue should be discussed with the site staff prior to implementing the curriculum to ensure that the curriculum is developmentally appropriate for all participants in a particular group. Due to the interactive nature of the curriculum and the needs of the participants, it is best suited for small groups of 8-20.

Content Outline and Learning Objectives

1Introduction to PTC Introduce curriculum, assess participants’ knowledge regarding pregnancy prevention and sexual health and demonstrate role playing.
2Making Choices ClearHelp participants to build assertiveness and communication skills related to sexual activity.
3Adolescent Reproductive Health BasicsIncrease knowledge of male and female reproductive anatomy, the process of fertilization and conception and the menstrual cycle.
4Increasing Contraceptive KnowledgeIncrease knowledge about contraceptive methods.
5Understanding STIs and HIV and How to Reduce Your RiskIncrease knowledge and understanding of STI/HIV transmission and prevention.
6Practice Makes PerfectDiscuss the level of risk associated with various sexual behaviors, use role-playing to demonstrate the importance of dual methods and practice using a condom.
7Using Resources to Support Your ChoicesDiscuss ways to improve communication about contraception with adults such as foster parents, guardians or group home staff members and how to access local reproductive health resources.
8Making Choices That Fit Your LifestyleHelp participants develop a plan for avoiding unplanned pregnancies and STIs, set short- and long-term goals and identify choices needed to attain goals.
9Creating the Future You WantIdentify planning involved in practicing positive sexual behaviors, outline individual choices involved in sexual decision making and discuss abstinence as a viable choice.
10Plan + Prepare + Practice = POWERReview and reinforce themes and messages of the curriculum.

Program Setting

This curriculum can be delivered in a wide range of settings, with a few exceptions. The setting should allow participants to divide into small work groups, move around, participate in role plays and use writing tools for activities. Settings should be comfortable, put the young people at ease and make them feel safe and positive about participating in the activities.

Facilitation Resources

PTC is a structured, sequential and systematic curriculum. Detailed information, and in some cases specific language for facilitators to use in their presentation of the material, is provided for each lesson. Facilitators are expected to deliver the curriculum with a high degree of fidelity. To guide the process evaluation and determine if the lessons are presented as planned with fidelity and quality, the PTC team has developed support materials including a fidelity-monitoring tool.

Program Fidelity Monitoring

The PTC program uses two sets of monitoring tools to maximize fidelity in curriculum delivery, post-session facilitator feedback forms and program observation forms. Using the post-session facilitator feedback forms, one for each of the 10 PTC lessons, facilitators record detailed information on the completion of key activities in the lesson. They also record their feedback on implementation successes and challenges, as well as suggestions for further training and assistance that can be used as part of a continuous quality improvement effort.

Curricula for Other Groups

Additional curricula and training products tailored to specific sub-groups, including older adolescents who have aged out of foster care, are currently in development.