Knowledge is Power for Teens

Peer Health Exchange (PHE), founded in 2003 in New York City, aims to give teenagers the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy decision and avoid unsafe or abusive situations. PHE accomplishes this by training college students to teach a health curriculum to public high school students in communities lacking health education. Armed with knowledge, these teens will be less likely to engage in alcohol and drugs, unsafe sex and abusive relationships, all which can lead to sexual abuse in youth. 

Fast Facts about PHE: 

  • Since 2003, PHE has impacted the lives of 100,000 high schoolers
  • PHE currently has six city sites – Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, DC.
  • Nearly 92% of PHE high school students said they would use something they learned from PHE workshops to make a healthy decision in the future.
  • 68% of PHE high school students said they had already used something they learned from PHE workshops to make a healthy decision during the six months the program ran.
  • Find out more about how PHE affects teens’ lives in this short video.
Peer Health Exchange Volunteer teaching a class to High School students.

Peer Health Exchange Volunteer teaching a class to High School students.

In May 2015, PHE NYC conducted an essay contest with their high school students, inviting them to share their stories and experiences with the PHE program. Here are excerpts from two of the winners:

“As a teenager in high school I am bombarded with myths, occasional facts, and stories from my friends about sex, alcohol, and drugs. However, it is Peer Health Exchange’s job to clear up the myths and make sure we know the actual facts. 
During health class we are able to openly discuss what we know and what we aren’t sure about in life... Health class helps me help my friends outside of school who are unsure of certain things as well. A health teacher may just be teaching me one thing, but I can spread it further by telling many of my friends, and teach them... Another reason why it is important for PHE to come to my school is because many kids like keeping their issues to themselves, and they feel that they cannot fully discuss them with other people. PHE opens you up to different teen clinics with counselors you can talk to and find information. Some people need that push to learn it’s okay to open up to people who are there to help.”
          -    Student from The Young Women’s Leadership School – 9th grade

“They [PHE] have taught us valuable things like decision-making and how to be sexually safe with someone. They informed us about all the things we are now facing in high school and how to make decisions that do not harm us. PHE is important for many reasons and I really appreciate them coming to teach us, so we don’t feel alone on our journey to adulthood”
          -    Student from A. Philip Randolph High School Student – 9th grade


Text by: Thomas Brande

Photo Credit: Peer Health Exchange