Started in 2012 as a youth-led initiative, Stomping Out, an interactive health fair specifically tailored for adolescents and young adults, was created to support high school students and young adults as they creatively express themselves while teaching their peers about health promotion and disease prevention. The overarching goals of this event are 1) to increase awareness of health conditions affecting youth ages 13-18, and 2) to increase self-efficacy among youth to make positive health choices and develop healthy behaviors. Stomping Out takes a two-pronged approach to promoting health awareness by 1) staging a step show competition where teams of high school students develop and perform choreographed routines designed to teach the audience about health issues that affect youth living in urban areas, and 2) coordinating a health/resource fair that provides accurate, culturally sensitive, and developmentally appropriate health information geared toward youth. Community partners provide health screenings, activities, and demonstrations on topics such as sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancy; alcohol, drug and tobacco use, healthy eating and exercise, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. Information on other educational, cultural, and developmental resources available in the Detroit area is also included. The emphasis of this year’s Stomping Out is on diabetes; previous Stomping Out events have focused on HIV/AIDS awareness and teen pregnancy prevention.
More than 300 participants (161 youth and 151 parents, guardians, or other adults) attended the 2016 Stomping Out event. Participants came from more than 58 zip codes, primarily in and near Detroit. Most were African American (92.4% of the youth and 91.5% of the adults). Forty-three vendors, including representatives from local universities, the Wayne County Health Department, youth-led community based organizations and local health systems, provided information on asthma, sexual health, HIV testing, diabetes screening, college preparation, bullying and aggression, after school programs, and driver education.
In Detroit, MI, 94% of newly diagnosed HIV cases are among African American youth ages 13-24 years. Most African American adolescents are knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STI), however knowledge alone has not been sufficient in addressing the HIV epidemic (CDC, 2012b). Sex education in Michigan schools stresses abstinence as the most effective way to prevent STIs and HIV while also providing reliable and accurate information about HIV (Guttmacher Institute, 2012). Despite HIV and AIDS education, the majority (53.6%) of African-American high school females have had sexual intercourse, and of these sexually active adolescents, 46.2% did not use a condom during the last sexual encounter (CDC, 2012c).
Sex education, HIV education, the importance of sex only within marriage and abstinence teaching have been the predominate approach in addressing the increasing HIV rates in the United States (Guttmacher Institute, 2012). Despite the numerous interventions to decrease HIV among African-American youth, infection rates have been unaffected. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African-Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections (CDC, 2012b). In 2009, African-American youth age 13-24 years accounted for 65% of HIV diagnosis (CDC, 2011c).
S.A.V.E.T.H.E.M believes in
Community allows us as community to know what we need and what is best for our care and improve ourselves, as well as invest in ourselves however possible. S.A.V.E.T.H.E.M. at it’s core, is based on Collaboration with other group, organizations, business, or academic institution to enhance our efforts and increase awareness. We believe that having Competent of issues that plague our community Is on of the best ways to be effective advocates for change. Through our community and collaboration we will be able to increase our competence, ultimately creating brighter futures for ourselves and generations to come.