It was a night to be remembered! More than 250 people gathered to help us celebrate our anniversary at The Chapel in San Francisco, April 24. The evening commemorated 15 years of providing health education to ninth grade students in public schools across the country; and 10 years in the Bay Area.
The evening kicked off with a welcome from Peer Health Exchange Bay Area Program Director Martel Okanji. “A decade ago I was able to volunteer,” Martel said. “This year, we are training 1,500 college students, reaching 17,000 ninth graders.”
UC Berkeley alumnus volunteers, Ava Shahi and Meghan Reddy, lead the crowd through a Peer Health Exchange workshop, challenging everyone to channel their 14-year-old selves and think critically about consent. Then San Francisco State University volunteers Alissa Stauffer and Lena Thaler explained the importance of having effective speaking skills in advocating for our health — especially around condom avoidance lines.
The night’s keynote speech was delivered by Ezra Bisom-Rapp, a UC Berkeley volunteer. Ezra shared his personal experiences with health education and his commitment to serving young people. He reminded us of the barriers and challenges young people face every day— from language barriers at health clinics to fears about deportation.
“Peer Health Exchange takes a different approach. We teach students that health is a personal matter,” Ezra said. “We encourage our students to develop their own definition of health that makes sense to them once they’ve learned a number of important skills about sex, substance use, mental health, and communication.”
Peer Health Exchange is grateful for funding support from Evolent Health; Smitten Ice Cream; First Republic Bank; and Academy of Art University.
It also extends a special thank you to its host committee: Penelope Baker Keifenheim, Carol Benz, Betsy Blumenthal, Pen and Clint Callan, Tom Davis, Katy Dion, Lauren Dutton and Glen Tripp, Laura and John Fisher, Laura Foster and John Foster, Rebecca and Doug Foster, Janie and Donny Friend, Stuart Gasner, Molly Greene, Dana Hayse and Tom Hayse, Caitlin Heising and Michael Menninger, Heather Hernandez, Ken Hirsch and Becky Long, Liz Hume and Jay Jacobs, Juliana and Ryan Kissick, Karin Little, Siobhan Nolan Mangini and Luca Mangini, Jessica Marshall, Ann Mathieson and Andy Mathieson, Autumn McDonald, Janet McKinley, Francine Miller and Daniel McLaughlin, Anne Welsh McNulty, Jody Miller, Dominique Morgan-Solomon, Melissa Murphy and Sam Wilkins, Jamie Murray and Ian Murray, Preeta Nayak and Patrick Lundh, Andi Okamura and Jeff Chambers, Julie and Will Parish, Louise Patterson and Arthur C Patterson, Lisa Pritzker, Martin Schneider and Debra Fine, Kat Taylor, Christy Walther Tripp, Annie Tsang, Addie Wallace and Bret Wallace, Frank Williams, Leslie Winick, Lilah Wolf and Alex Wolf, Jennifer Wolfe, Rachel Wyley, Jessica and Mark Zitter
Please join the Peer Health Exchange family and support by donating here.