Friday, 05 February 2016 02:38

Seeing the World Through the Lens of Trauma

January Professional Development Summary 

Seeing the World Through the Lens of Trauma: The Impact of Trauma on Social, Emotional, and Health Outcomes 

This year, all six TPPP Professional Development Meetings will connect to the theme “Supporting Healthy Teen Relationships”. 

The January Professional Development Meeting kicked off the 2016 theme. Emily Luft and Stacey Slovacek from Alive and Well STL, provided an overview of the definition, prevalence, and impact of trauma throughout the lifespan. Special attention was given to the findings of the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES), the impact of trauma on brain development and body physiology, and how trauma connects to adolescents’ ability to identify and form healthy relationships. Stacey Slovacek was the Alive and Well STL Ambassador for the event and her experiences as the Drop-In Coordinator at The SPOT highlighted the importance of using a trauma-informed approach when interacting with adolescents.

One of the things that struck many TPPP members was the fact that “As adults, children who were placed in foster care have PTSD rates twice as high as US War veterans”. 

The presentation also made TPPP members more aware of the cumulative effect of trauma on young people. Data showed differences in sexual behavior and teen pregnancy/paternity depending on an individual’s adverse childhood experience (ACE) score. Having 4 or more adverse childhood experiences was correlated with negative health outcomes at every age. 

The big take-away from the presentation was that we can all reframe the question we ask from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?” in order to better serve teens in our programs.

For a copy of the slide handouts, contact TPPP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you missed the training or would like to refresh with a full-length training, you can view “How Trauma Impacts Social, Emotional and Health Outcomes” which is available online and was created by the St. Louis Mental Health Board and Department of Mental Health in partnership with Alive and Well STL.

Alive & Well STL invites you to their upcoming events. Visit their website today for details!  You can also contact Alive & Well STL to request a presentation for your organization or group.

Additional Resources:

Missouri Department of Mental Health 

Policy Guidance on Screening for Trauma 

National Child and Teen Trauma and Stress Network  

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – NCTIC 

ACES Too High News  


The Family Resource Center's Missouri Mentoring Program staff presented first at the November Professional Development Meeting. They gave a detailed overview of their program and tips for mentoring.

Family Resource Center (FRC)—Missouri Mentoring Partnership:

·      Background:  FRC is one of MO’s largest counseling agencies, specializing in prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect and services 5 geographic areas of Eastern MO including: St. Louis City and the counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin.

·      One component of FRC’s Missouri Mentorship Partnership (MMP) is the St. Louis Volunteer Resource Parents Program (SLVRP)

·      SLVRP serves St. Louis City moms aged 22 and under and St. Louis County moms ages 19 or under

·      Basic eligibility includes moms are those who are pregnant and/or parenting a child under the age of 2 and have no more than one other child (see additional requirements on website or linked brochure below).

·      Youth Outreach Specialists assists client in setting goals and finding resources to achieve those goals

·      Additionally, the parents receive “baby bucks”, that can be used towards items for the baby, by accomplishing their goals and being compliant with appointments. 

Tips for those who mentor teens:

1.    Put your mentee first: Concentrate on their problems/needs, be flexible in your planning and focus on immediate needs if necessary

2.    Be your mentee’s friend, but not a buddy: Look out for their best interest, and don’t allow them to do things that will be harmful to them; Encourage them not to ditch an outing or not participate in a scheduled event.

3.    Approach your mentee on a basis of mutual respect: Your mentee has experienced many things you have not and has knowledge you do not have. Show respect for these things and do not belittle her for things not known or skills not yet acquired.

     Take time to get to know your mentee: Some mentees may be very open, others will not. You must gain an insight to your mentee’s behavior. Some questions may stimulate a person to reveal more about themselves and their experiences.


Selena Eunice Washington—PhD Candidate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, presented her dissertation on the Parent/Infant Interaction Program (PIIP):

·      There are several existing challenges in the area of equality and educational access for pregnant and parenting students—Examples include: refusal of homebound instruction, denying a student’s yearbook photo that included her child, not allowing a student to play basketball due to being pregnant and not allowing a student to run in homecoming court election

 ·      Washington’s dissertation looks at the history and development of the Parent Infant Interaction Program (PIIP) from 1978-2012 with the St. Louis Public School District

 ·      Washington’s qualitative study includes interviews with five out of the seven directors of the program  over a 34 year history

 ·      PIIP aims to help pregnant and parenting schools achieve their educational goals by providing parenting courses and child care  

 ·      Additionally, the program has drawn from Title IX guidelines to direct policies and practices

 ·      During the school years of 2008-2011, 66% of high school seniors participating in PIIP graduation and enrolled in post-secondary institutions (Adams 2011).

   Ms. Washington provided additional information on the importance of Title IX and supporting pregnant teens by giving them information about their rights. They may choose to advocate for themselves or you can assist them. She also shared the Pregnant & Parenting Students' Bill of Rights from the National Women's Law Center. If you are looking for another resource or steps to file a complaint, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education's website.   


Participants were asked to share information about their programs for pregnant and parenting teens or programs they refer to.  

Community Resources for Pregnant and Parenting Teens:

·      Lutheran Family and Children’s Services---------------------------------------------(314)787-5100

·      Nurse-Family Partnership

 o   St. Louis City and County -------------------------------------------------(314)679-7871

 o   Kansas City Region--------------------------------------------------------- (816)513-6280

 o   Southeast---------------------------------------------------------------------(573)335-1033

·      Healthy Families of America (St. Louis County)------------------------------------- (314)679-7880

·      Teen Pregnancy Center at Barnes Clinic (St. Louis)---------------------------------(314)454-7882

·      Parent/Infant Interaction Program---------------------------------------------------- (314)331-6152

o   Also, Father’s Support and Parent’s as Teachers

·      Department of Health (mini-grants for breastfeeding rooms)----- contact TPPP for more information

Helpful Web Resources:

·      National Women’s Law Center:

·     Healthy Teen Network:

·      Lutheran Family and Children’s Services:

·     CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People:

·      Journey Out:

·      Family Resource Center:

·      Missouri Mentoring Partnership (MMP), FRC brochure: 

 For a printable handout version of this blog post, click here.




Tuesday, 03 November 2015 19:03

Supporting the Parkway School District

In July 2014, the Parkway School District Health and Physical Education Committee convened to review and revise the District's Sexual Health Curriculum Framework. Over the next year, the Parkway District gathered information from students, parents, teachers and the community in order to evaluate gaps in their health classes and determine what additional topics should be covered to ensure Parkway students are prepared to make healthy decisions throughout their lives.

The following additions to the framework have been proposed:

  • Good touch/bad touch (1st - 2nd Grade)
  • Gender Roles (3rd Grade), Identity and Expression (6th - 7th Grade)
  • LGBTQ People and Health-related Issues (e.g., bullying, harassment, sexual health risks) (8th & 10th Grade)
  • Sexual Predators and Online Safety (as required by Missouri HB 501)
  • Sexual Consent & Laws (8th & 10th Grade)
  • Appropriate Sexual Health Resources

The Teen Pregnancy & Prevention Partnerships advocates that students receive medically-accurate, age-appropriate information on sexual health. Teaching comprehensive medically accurate sexual health education has been shown to decrease teen pregnancy rates, delay initiation of sexual activity, and increase the use of contraception.  By updating their curriculum to cover these topics, Parkway is taking steps to protect the health and safety of all students.

The Parkway School Board will vote on changes to the sexual health curriculum in March 2016. We encourage Parkway parents to learn more about the sexual health curriculum by visiting the Parkway District's webpage and contact the School Board with feedback.

For local news coverage, click here.

For TPPP's fact sheet on sexual health education in the Parkway District, click here.

During the September Professional Development Meeting, Lorien Carter, MSW, lead TPPP members and participants in an interactive presentation about how to engage parents in having "the talk" with their kid(s). We recognize that parents are the most trusted source of information and values regarding sex for many young people. In fact, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has found that "teens consistently say that parents - not peers, not partners, not popular culture - most influence their decisions about sex".  Lorien touched on how to work with parents who have differing values/opinions on what is best for them and their family, and the importance of giving parents accurate information about sexual health to inform their conversations.

As an exercise during the professional development meeting, participants broke into groups and were asked to give their ideas and tips for parents who want to have “the talks”. The catch? Each group had to start all of their ideas with a particular letter from T-A-L-K-S. After the groups shared their brainstorm results, each participant voted for their favorite ideas/tips. Here is the final list with the top 4 tips bolded (as determined by votes). Lorien also shared her own list.

The big take-away from the meeting was the availability of lesson plans and ideas for parent presentations. Many people in the room just weren't sure how to prepare parents for discussions about sex and Lorien suggested several resources. Participants in the Professional Development Meeting were given copies of lessons for review and discussed ways the plans could be adapted to a local audience. Here are the links to those resources:

Advocates for Youth - Let's Talk Month Planning Guidebook (starting on page 51)

SIECUS - Innovative Approaches to Increase Parent-Child Communication About Sexuality

Additional Resources for Parents:

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Kid's Health


Monday, 20 July 2015 20:57

Prepare for Missouri HB501

On July 14, 2015, Gov. Nixon signed HB 501 into law. HB 501 was introduced by Rep. Genise Montecillo and received bi-partisan support from both the Missouri House and Senate. The bill adds language to the existing sexual health education policy to require course materials relating to sexual education to contain information regarding sexual predators, online predators, and the consequences of inappropriate text messaging (aka “sexting”).

The new requirements fall primarily under the Healthy Relationships and Personal Safety Topics within the National Sexuality Education Standards. For more information on these standards, visit the Future of Sex Ed websiteBy including these topics in sexual health courses, Missouri teachers will empower students to make healthy and safe choices.

HB 501 goes into effect on August 28, 2015 and TPPP is here to ensure educators have the resources they need to cover these topics effectively.

Even in younger grades, students can build protective factors that lower their risk online as they learn and grow. Common Sense Media has a free Cyberbullying Toolkit with resources for elementary, middle and high school teachers. The toolkit and website also have materials for parents.

Safe Internet Surfing also provides lesson plans on internet safety as well as tips for parents and kids. They also have links to reporting websites if students encounter illegal activity online.

The National Crime Prevention Council provides a simple one-pager on sexting which could be used in a variety of settings.  

For additional ideas or as reference for students and families, you may want to visit That’s Not Cool or TPPP’s Helpful Links.

Monday, 30 March 2015 13:11

Covering Consent Summary

On Friday, March 13th, TPPP was privileged to host a Professional Development Meeting with Christina Meneses from the YWCA St. Louis Regional Assault Center entitled “Covering Consent”. Christina introduced the topic with a brief history of sexual assault and rape laws. TPPP Members all received a copy of the article Consent: Not actually that complicated.

To get ideas on how to teach consent, Christina prompted the group in an exercise. Everyone was asked to write a “want”, “will” and “won’t” list of their personal preferences for pizza toppings. Then, everyone broke into small groups to negotiate a pizza order based on those lists. There were some interesting results as groups negotiated over both plain and exotic toppings (in some instances with extra cheese).

Christina also suggested educators use media examples to discuss consent and that you ask for both unhealthy and healthy examples. One specific exercise Christina has used is “Athena’s Play” which you can find on the Virginia Department of Health’s website. She mentioned the Sexplanation video as another reference. As an update, Sexplanation just added a new video based on the tea analogy.

Our thanks to Christina and all of the TPPP Members who joined us for the discussion. Our next professional development meeting will be on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Sunday, 22 February 2015 20:35

St. Louis Parents Support MASHE

At the January 9th professional development meeting, Rick Zimmerman, PhD, University of Missouri St. Louis, presented the findings of a Deaconess Foundation funded survey that was conducted in 2014 with Greater St. Louis area parents to gather their opinions on when and if key sexual health topics should be taught. The survey found that almost all parents wanted their children to be taught about reproductive anatomy, healthy relationships, STI (sexually transmitted infection) transmission and prevention, effectiveness of birth control methods, and pregnancy prevention; and most wanted these lessons taught in elementary and middle school. The sexual health topics that the largest percentage of parents did not want taught included when and how to use birth control methods (5.3%) and abstinence (14%).  

To view the report, click here.

To view the presentation given on January 9th, click here.

September 29, 2014

Dear TPPP supporter,

TPPP is pleased to welcome Meg Boyko as our new Executive Director. Meg has been a very involved member of TPPP for several years. As the public awareness committee’s social media liaison, Meg has been responsible for many of the TPPP posts and tweets that have kept you engaged, informed and intrigued about adolescent sexual health in Missouri and the nation.

With a background in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and significant health and nonprofit experience from the Missouri chapter of the March of Dimes and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Gateway chapter, Meg brings expertise in grant and project management as well as a track record of successful state and local advocacy efforts. In addition, Meg has lived in various cities and towns across Missouri, including Kirksville, Columbia and St. Louis so she is knowledgeable about the adolescent sexual health priorities of the entire state.

Our search committee was impressed with Meg’s attention to detail and her ability to communicate effectively with professionals and volunteers. We recognized that these qualities, paired with her ability to conduct needs assessments and evaluate programs and outcomes, made her a natural fit to lead TPPP forward.

Meg’s first day in the TPPP offices will be October 13th. We will hold a special “meet and greet” coffee hour for her at our November 14th professional development meeting. Please join us at 8:30 a.m. to welcome Meg before our regularly scheduled program (“Working with teens who want a pregnancy”) begins at 9:00 a.m.

Thank you for your continued confidence in our organization as we promote adolescent sexual health and teen pregnancy prevention in Missouri. Meg and the TPPP Board of Directors look forward to continuing our partnership with you to accomplish this through advocacy, collaboration, training, and public awareness.


Claire Wyneken

TPPP Board President