Peer Health Exchange’s A Night Out for Health celebrates 15 years of health education

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In celebration of 15 years of health education in New York City, nearly 200 philanthropic, education, and youth advocate leaders celebrated Peer Health Exchange’s annual benefit A Night Out for Health: Celebrate 15, February 25, in support of the organization's work to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people in all five boroughs.

“In our first year, volunteers taught 500 students. This year, we are bringing the highest impact version of our program to date to 6,700 ninth grade students," said Peer Health Exchange New York Executive Director Cristen Van Vleet.

In celebration of 15 years of health education in New York City, nearly 200 philanthropic, education, and youth advocate leaders celebrated Peer Health Exchange’s annual benefit A Night Out for Health: Celebrate 15, February 25, in support of the organization's work to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people in all five boroughs.

The event held at The Mezzanine, also marked Peer Health Exchange's 15th full year of health education workshops to ninth grade students at New York Public Schools. This is done through an innovative near-peer model that trains 600 college volunteers from Barnard College; Brooklyn College; City College; College of Staten Island; Columbia University; Fordham University; LaGuardia Community College; Queens College; Hunter College; New York University; St. John’s University; York College; and Wagner College to deliver skills-based health workshops to youth across the city.

As part of Peer Health Exchange New York’s commitment to celebrating volunteers this year, health educators Olga Tsygelnytska and Shakima Hightower of Brooklyn College and Annakay Thompson of Bronx Community College were presented with the Outstanding Peer Health Exchange Volunteers award after being nominated by their peers.Peer Health Exchange's curriculum spans over the course of 14 workshops. Workshops equip ninth graders with the knowledge, skills and resources to make healthy decisions about substance use, sexual health and mental health.

“In our first year, volunteers taught 500 students. This year, we are bringing the highest impact version of our program to date to 6,700 ninth grade students," said Peer Health Exchange New York Executive Director Cristen Van Vleet. “We started with volunteers from just two colleges; this year we have volunteers from 18 different colleges”.

Over the last decade, Peer Health Exchange has grown to provide their trauma-informed, skills-based health curriculum to over 30 thousand young people across the city while building a culture of preventative health and wellness. This year it has reached 6,700 ninth graders in 54 high schools across New York.

New York’s young people face difficult decisions every day, many of which threaten their bodies, well-being, and futures. According to the CDC, among New York high school students:

  • 1 in 5 binge drinks
  • 1 in 6 has seriously considered attempting suicide
  • 2 in 5 sexually active teens did not use a barrier method the last time they had sex

All young people deserve the knowledge, skills, and access to resources they need to make healthy decisions. Health education improves young people’s health outcomes, high school graduation rates, and life opportunities.

Peer Health Exchange is grateful for funding support from our sponsors: Christian Channell, Nancy Settergren and Avgoustis Ramoundos, Brynne McNulty, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Maude, and Bristol-Myers SquibbIt also extends a special thank you to its host committee: Ronnie Balog, Allie Baretta, Robert Berry, Christian Channell, Michael Cullen, Morgan Eifler, David Feirstein, Eva Goicochea, Jess Jacobs, Pamela Jones, Nate Kempner, Wesley LePatner, Will McClelland, Brynne McNulty, Alex Muresanu, Christina Oros, Gail Perry-Ryder, Lori Roth, Nancy Settergren, Jill Seigerman, Vickie Zalkin, and Dana Zucker

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Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to empower young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy decisions. We do this by training college student volunteers to teach a skills-based health curriculum in under-resourced high schools across the country.

EMBARGOED UNTIL 6 P.M. ET
PRESS RELEASE—
For more information contact:
Adriana Díaz
773-459-1941
adiaz@peerhealthexchange.org

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