Teen Prevention Education Program (Teen PEP)
High school juniors & seniors educating younger students about healthy decision-making.
“This program is effective because we teach our peers about many issues in an interactive way. We do not just give them hundreds of facts, we mix facts with real life situations that the kids can relate to and understand. This makes all the topics real, and emphasizes their importance. Without Teen PEP, a lot of people would not know all of their options and would not make safe, informed decisions.”
-Teen PEP Peer Educator, Flemington, New Jersey
An Overview of Teen PEP
The Teen Prevention Education (Teen PEP) is a comprehensive, sexual health program that utilizes peer-to-peer education to increase students´ knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors associated with healthy decision-making.
The program model is designed to:
Offer stakeholder teams effective resources and strategies to create a culture of positive peer pressure where responsible sexual decisions are valued
Provide faculty advisors with increased knowledge and abilities to effectively teach sexual health to students in an atmosphere of mutual respect
Give peer educators the information, communication skills, and confidence to be effective sexual health advocates and leaders among their peers
Equip students with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to avoid STIs, HIV, and unintended pregnancy
Provide parents/guardians with the knowledge and skills to appropriately discuss sex and sexuality with their children.
Teen PEP is implemented in high schools as a course for-credit that meets daily (or the equivalent) and in organizations as an after-school program. Carefully selected junior and/or senior students are enrolled in the Teen PEP course and provided with educational training that addresses a range of topics related to sexual health. The peer educators, in turn, conduct a series of structured workshops with groups of younger peers, faculty, and parents.
Teen PEP is a voluntary program that is implemented across New Jersey and North Carolina. The program was developed in 1995 through a collaboration of the Center for Supportive Schools, HiTOPS, Inc., and the primary sponsor, the New Jersey Department of Health.
The Teen PEP Program Model
At the foundation of Teen PEP's success is a two-year program planning and implementation model, with the first year focused on preparing for implementation and the second year focused on effective implementation. The program model incorporates upfront planning and preparation prior to implementation, on-site consultation, stakeholders development, intensive training for program advisors, an evidenced-based curriculum, and support during program implementation.
The program model also includes Teen PEP´s core program elements, which are the defining features of the program and those that ensure its success and effectiveness. Teen PEP´s eight core program elements are:
Stakeholder Team: a group of individuals responsible for ensuring that the program is successful, has the resources it needs, is built into the infrastructure of the school or organization, and is sustained
Program Advisors: at least two advisors participate in comprehensive training and co-facilitated the Teen PEP sexuality education and leadership course with peer educators and prepare them to conduct workshops
Teen PEP Course & Curriculum: class that meets daily (or equivalent) using the structured 12-unit, evidence-based Teen PEP Course Curriculum & Workshops. Click here for a complete description.
Peer Educators: diverse group of 15-20 junior and/or senior students who are enrolled in the Teen PEP course and conduct outreach workshops with younger students and parents
Outreach Workshop Participants: a targeted group of students (freshmen and/or sophomores) who participate in at least five workshops from the Teen PEP Outreach Workshops
Family Night Event: a workshop from the Teen PEP Outreach Workshop handbook that is facilitated by peer educators and provides parents with an opportunity to dialogue with teens about sexual health issues
On-Site Technical Assistance and Consultation: Teen PEP staff provide on-going support and consultation to stakeholder teams and faculty advisors throughout planning for and implementing Teen PEP
Program Monitoring and Evaluation: focuses on assessing the quality of program implementation and measuring the reach and impact of Teen PEP
"The other day, a freshman flagged me down in the hallway ...[She] started off by saying that [she] really liked the workshop that we performed that week and had a question about sex for me. I smiled and said [she] could ask me anything, and a smile and big green eyes gleamed back at me - I knew that very moment why Teen PEP was so special."
-Teen PEP Peer Educator, Jones County, North Carolina
"The confidence, self-esteem, leadership, and humor that Teen PEP has given me will always be with me. I am certain that I will be able to use the skills that I learned in this class for the rest of my life."
-Teen PEP Peer Educator, Princeton, New Jersey
Teen PEP Curriculum
The Teen PEP curriculum is designed to enable high schools and community-based organizations to use a peer education approach to provide students with medically accurate sexual health information and equip them with the skills they need to make healthy decisions. The Teen PEP curriculum uses a hands-on, activity-based structure which provides students with opportunities for discussion and skill development.
Specific skills addressed throughout the Teen PEP curriculum include:
Resisting Peer Pressure
Communication with Peers
Communication with Parents
Communication with Partners
Competence in Interpersonal Relationships