Skip to main content
This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.
Patsy Niklas is someone I consider myself privileged to know in person. Until recently, she worked as the program manager for YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) in Melbourne, coordinating volunteer training and taking care of the organisation's social media.
Now she works with the Foundation for Young Australians on their Young People Without Borders project, helping young Australians get involved in volunteering and activism. In addition to all that, she hosts a weekly show about sex and relationships on Melbourne's youth-run radio station, SYN. You can follow the awesomeness that is Patsy on twitter at @apatsy.
(Note: This interview was done while Patsy was still working for YEAH, so it focuses on her work there rather than her current work with FYA.)
What is it that got you started doing the work tRead more...
Things slow down a bit here around the holidays. So, this is one of the main times of each year when I try to review all the content we have at the site and map out articles I, and the volunteers, feel we should aim to write or have written to add in the next year.
To do that, I look at the running notes I keep from observing what our users ask for in direct services and our social media; places where they ask for things and I don't feel we have just the right pieces to refer them to, or what we'd want to be able to give when it comes to on-site resources.
I also like to ask our more general readership what they want, too. While our direct services are very busy, they only make up a very small percentage of our daily readers, so we might miss some expressed needs or wants when we pull only from the readers we most often interact with.
What would you like to see here in the next year that isn't here already, or where there isn't as much content here as you'd like?
That can be about:
Have you been through a breakup? Maybe more than one? If you have, you know how awful it can be, and how incredibly rough, especially when you're new to romantic or sexual relationships. Breakups between friends can be just as awful, too.
You probably also know that learning to deal with and get through a breakup is just as much of a learning process as learning to be in relationships is. Sometimes we'll have dealt with loss before breakups, so we have some clues and tools already when it comes to taking care of ourselves. But for plenty of young people, a breakup is a first major loss, and figuring out how to get through feeling so gutted while you're feeling so gutted can be seriously overwhelming.
Friends can be great sometimes, but not so great other times, even when they really are trying to do their best. Plenty of us know that quips like, "You deserved better than her, anyway," "His loss, seriously, you're so much better off," "Now you can go have some fun!" or "Oh, it was onlRead more...
The last section of our recent demographics survey (click here and here for data from the previous sections) was an optional, open section where we simply stated, "If you have any comments you'd like to add about this survey or Scarleteen as a whole, please feel free to add them here."
Of the 419 participants who left comments in this section, most were about Scarleteen as a whole, rather than the survey. The few on the survey itself included a couple concerns about the previous section discussed here, a couple nods of appreciation for the inclusion in the education section of no schooling or alternative education, and two concerns (from people identifying as cisgender) that when we asked about gender, and provided fields for men, women and also trans gender, separately, we were suggesting trans people are neither men nor women. To clear that one up, the opposite was our intent. Our intention was to recognize and validate the many ways people who are not cisgender may and do identifyRead more...
I want to focus this entry on the second of the optional questions in the demographics survey. Of the 2,000 participants who completed the survey, this question was answered by 1,530. The question was this: Since using Scarleteen, which of any of the following has changed for you, and by how much?
We saw a couple comments at the end of the survey, from statistics-focused folks, concerned that our aim was to state that whatever improvements users reported were solely because of Scarleteen. That was never the intent.
The intent in asking this questions was primarily to get a picture of what, if any, improvements relevant to what we address here our users were experiencing which may have been due to using our services or may not have been. What we most wanted to see was not the areas where we may have done a good job or where our users already felt things were going very well for them, but areas where it would seem sound to say we currently are not having the impact we'd like to with poRead more...
Early this year, after a lot of struggling with the tech and funding, we rolled out Find-a-Doc, our database system to help young people find quality, in-person services like sexual and reproductive healthcare, counseling, and LGBT, youth and domestic violence crisis shelters and services. The database includes a rating system so that those who have used the services can add recommendations or comments to help other users choose services, or know things about services from a first-person perspective. As you probably know yourself, we all tend to feel a lot better about using a service someone else has personally recommended or vetted: that's why we set up Find-a-Doc, and did so the way that we did.
We also use the database as staff and volunteers when working one-on-one with a user to help them find in-person services they need. But since it's been slow-going to get the database packed, we still have to spend a good deal of time searching in other ways, which is far less efficient andRead more...