Health Connected has evolved significantly since our founding in 1988 as a coalition of education, health, and human services providers – the South County Teen Pregnancy Task Force – focused on providing support services to pregnant and parenting youth in Redwood City. We were incorporated in 1995 as the Teen Pregnancy Coalition of San Mateo County. Over the next decade, we developed our Teen Talk sexual health curricula and broadened our focus from teen pregnancy prevention to STI prevention. This expansion precipitated a change in our organizational identity to become Teen Talk Sexuality Education.
Over the last several years, our parent support programs and trainings for education professionals have expanded and developed. We recognize the importance of not only providing programs for young people, but also supporting their parents to have meaningful conversations about sexual health and supporting education professionals to integrate sexual health programs into their schools and youth organizations.
On September 2, 2014, Teen Talk Sexuality Education unveiled its new name, Health Connected. Our new name reflects that we no longer serve only teens, though young people continute to be the driving force behind all of our programs. Health Connected will serve as an "umbrella" for all of our sexual health programs, which include Teen Talk (or flagship youth services program), Parent Talk (our parent services program), and our Training & Technical Assistance program for education professionals.
To learn more about our organizational history, check out our timeline below.
An outreach specialist at Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City, CA notified the Redwood City School Board that 8th grade student was pregnant.
The South County Teen Pregnancy Task Force was formed which included staff and administrators from Redwood City School District and Sequoia Union High School District and a member of the Child Care Consortium.
Worked with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to begin developing Teen Talk, a sexual health support group program for middle school students to postpone sexual involvement.
Teen Talk support group model implemented in collaboration with Planned Parenthood in Redwood City and San Carlos middle schools and most Sequoia Union High School District High Schools. Sessions held in school during the lunch hour; individual classes for 7th, 8th, and 9th grades selected to participate in a slightly abbreviated version of Teen Talk.
Granted 501(c)(3) status in November 1995 as the Teen Pregnancy Coalition of San Mateo County.
Began consultation with Sociometrics Corporation to conduct an outcome evaluation.
Established the Teen Parent Panel with pregnant and parenting teens at Redwood High School.
Teen Talk Program implemented at all of the schools in Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City School District, and South San Francisco schools. Began delivering curriculum primarily in science and health education classes. Outcome evaluation conducted by Sociometrics Corporation found that: “Teens who were subject to the Teen Talk Program were on average more traditional about sexual attitudes, had more knowledge about sexual matters, and were much less likely to have ever had sex compared to the national sample of similar teens.” “Students showed improved knowledge, increased communication with parents, and attitudes more consistent with choosing to abstain from sex.”
Plain Talk parent education program begins. Formed ASsET (Advocating for Sexuality Education Together) with Sequoia Union high school students thanks to a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Policy Advocacy grant from The California Wellness Foundation to advocate for greater student access to adolescent health initiatives.
ASsET presented at the National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention Annual Conference.
Started the Teacher Training Program to train teachers in sexuality education best practices. Student members of ASsET present to the Sequoia Union High School District Board a report proposing comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education in SUHSD; they receive certificates recognizing their research and reporting from Assemblyman Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. California passes State Senate Bill 71 (SB71) California Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act on October 1, 2003, which requires HIV/AIDS education in middle and high school.
Started the Male Involvement Program in partnership with the San Mateo County Health Department. A Teen Talk classroom session is highlighted as a representative program of “one type of sex education course” in the taping of the PBS and Wall Street Journal series "The Journal Editorial Report”. The program was juxtaposed with “abstinence-only-until-marriage education program at a Texas school.”
A second Teen Talk outcome evaluation performed which found that “Teen Talk recipients have less sexual intercourse, greater knowledge of birth control/STD methods, clinic locations and services, and feel more comfortable talking to parents about sex as compared to a similar group of students not receiving Teen Talk.”
Teen Pregnancy Coalition of San Mateo County changes its name to Teen Talk Sexuality Education.
Published two formal sexual health curricula: Teen Talk, Middle School and Teen Talk, High School. Members of Teen Talk’s Teen Parent Panel invited to the Town Hall Meeting on Teen Pregnancy in NYC, NY, sponsored by the Candie’s Foundation and facilitated by Dr. Drew. Teen Talk staff present at Healthy Teen Network National Conference in Austin, TX.
Received a grant from Redwood City School District to develop and implement 5th-6th grade curriculum, Puberty Talk. CA Healthy Kids Resource Center (CA Depts of Education and Public Health) reviews and accepts Teen Talk Middle School and Teen Talk High School curricula into their statewide lending library.
Published Puberty Talk curriculum and begin serving students in Redwood City.
Moderated a Teen Talk Parent Panel discussion at the YTH Live 2013 (Youth+Technology+Health) conference in San Francisco, CA.
Teen Talk Sexuality Education changes its name to Health Connected. Began testing and developing Teen Talk Young Adult, a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum designed to address the sexual health needs of older teens.
California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, making comprehensive sexual health education the law in public schools. This means all youth must receive comprehensive sex ed once in middle school and once in high school. The unfunded mandate was signed in late 2015 and takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Health Connected published Teen Talk High School Refresher, a sex education curriculum designed to meet the unique needs of older teens on the verge of adulthood. Special attention is paid to consent and relationship topics.
In spring 2016, leading experts in the adolescent sexual health field reviewed 11 nationally available sex education curricula to assess their compliance with CHYA. Health Connected’s middle school and high school curricula had the highest rate of compliance of those reviewed. Today, our curriculum series remains one of the few in the state that is in compliance with CHYA.
After years of research and development, Health Connected published Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities, a one-of-a-kind, engaging curriculum that helps to ensure students with disabilities get the the vital information about their bodies they need. This is also aligned with all state and federal education standards and best practices and is CHYA compliant.
Health Connected served a record number of over 15,000 students in the Bay Area and across California, a three-fold increase from just three years prior.
Health Connected dramatically increased our investment in parent engagement and support. In addition to the curriculum information sessions that have been a staple of our programming for several years, we built out our skill-building workshops for parents and trusted adults (Parent Talk) and created a brand new family communication series (Family Talk) for trusted adults and children to practice communication skills together in a fun, and safe environment.