Help Us Keep Rocking Sex Ed and Fighting the Good Fights in 2018

It’s that magical time of year when end-of-year parties are planned, resolutions are optimistically made, those super-annoying noisemaker things super-annoy, and scrappy little organizations like ours ask you... give us your money.

Scarleteen is at the tail end of two decades of providing original, exceptional and progressive sex and relationships education, information and support services to millions of young people and the people who care about them, all around the world, every year, for all of those years. We’ve done that primarily through our popular online content and our direct services, both for the young people we serve and for the adults who also teach, help and support them — from parents to medical students to staff at schools and community centers to our colleagues and allies — in this vitally important, often complicated, and highly underserved area of life.

We’ve always done and still do all that we do without any federal or state, institutional, foundational or corporate funding. That allows us to stay as independent, daring and creative as we’ve always been, and gives us the freedom to create what we do based on what our users express a want and need for, rather than what institutions are willing to fund. But that also means we depend on support from individuals like yourself in order to pay the bills and best serve our wonderful, diverse, some other adjective users.

Our extensive experience means we are incredibly well-equipped to take on the challenges ahead,with your help. We were here working our buns off through all eight years of the Bush administration, even during the years we had to join a lawsuit with the ACLU to protect access to this kind of information on the internet for young people after that administration tried to take it away. We’re very familiar with the kinds of challenges, both in the United States and abroad, that the government under the Trump Administration is bound to cause, and has already begun causing.

We’re no less dedicated to doing our jobs now and in the future, no matter what, just like we’ve been in the past. We’re just as strongly committed as we’ve always been to providing inclusive, forward-thinking, comprehensive and excellent sex education in a place where most young people can access it, no matter what restrictions or limitations in sex information and education they may face at home, in school, or in the rest of the world at large. We also know, though, that these political changes mean doing all of that is going to be more challenging for us, and we’re probably going to have to work even harder than we usually do. We know that when the world gets scarier and more bleak, and when resources get harder and harder to find, greater numbers of young people find us and need our help and support. We’re also going to need some extra support from you.

The kind of quality, learner-directed, shame-free, diverse and engaged sex education we offer can and does absolutely save lives. Without accurate and inclusive sex and relationships education and emotional support, young people are far more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and other harms; to unwanted pregnancies, STIs and even more so, complications from undiagnosed and untreated infections, severe anxiety and other negative health and life outcomes. But great sex and relationships education isn’t only important and beneficial when it helps prevent or mitigate trauma, harm or illness: it’s important to help young people to create and embrace healthy sexualities, sexual lives and relationships that provide positive experiences and feelings that make their lives richer, more joyful and more whole. Life with healthy, happy intimate relationships, a strong, confident and accepting sense of one’s sexual self, and positive, wanted and enriching sexual experiences is far better than a life without. Most of our staff and volunteers were our users once: they know this well.

Think for a moment about your own sexuality, your own sexual life, your own relationships. Imagine how different — and how much better — some of that undoubtedly would have been and might still be now if you’d have had access to the kind of education we provide when you were younger. Imagine if you’d been able to get a better handle on all of this stuff sooner than you did, and if you’d had one place you could always count on for reliable support as well as information.

So: If you want and are able to do some end of year giving — whether that’s $5000 or $5 — you can help us continue to provide all of this incredible stuff, all in the original ways we always have that have consistently proven, over almost two decades, to be what so many young people want and need. Your contribution will help us publish more innovative and radically inclusive original series and other content about sex and relationships; offer direct services to youth in need, both online and through our outreach programs at homeless drop-in centers in Washington and Nevada; upgrade our website architecture to ensure reliable service everywhere in the world; and even produce a couple print publications we’ve been chomping at the bit to get out into the world.

Thank you for doing what you can to help us support young people in these troubled times; part of building a better future starts with building a stronger today, and we can’t do it without you. Everyone in our community of supporters is deeply valued. Thank you, thank you, thank you. - Heather