Unidas, an award-winning youth leadership program has awarded a $5,000 grant to El Rio Health Center’s Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) which empowers teens to take control of their sexual and reproductive health with an emphasis on queer-affirming and comprehensive sex education.
Unidas is a longstanding program of the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona (WFSA), a 32-year old nonprofit which fosters equality and opportunity through support, advocacy, and research to help all women and other marginalized identities overcome political, gender, and social barriers.
A feminization of the Spanish word unidos (united), Unidas teaches young women and gender expansive individuals about leadership, philanthropy, and social justice issues through grantmaking in their own community. Participating teens grant $5,000 each semester to a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life for women and girls of all identities in Arizona.
After reviewing several applications, the Unidas 2023 Spring cohort elected to fund El Rio’s RHAP project with this semester’s grant dollars. “We chose comprehensive sex education because in Arizona, many topics regarding sex are not discussed and parents often opt their minor out — leading to ignorance about this. Aiding independent organizations that allow the minor to reach out and learn helps combat this ignorance on reproductive health,” said Charlese Collins, an Unidas participant.
El Rio’s RHAP project is led by a team of young people dedicated to empowering teens to take control of their sexual and reproductive health. They offer education and support including transportation and FREE health services to youth ages 14-24. Services include birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling, sexual health counseling and more along with transportation to and from the clinic.
Cassandra Smith, Program Assistant at RHAP, shared that “this grant will be used to provide comprehensive and inclusive peer-led sex education and establish meaningful partnerships with Tucson organizations serving marginalized youth. With the Unidas grant, RHAP can continue to equip young people with empowering knowledge and resources to take charge of their sexual and reproductive health.”
Past Unidas grant recipients include Mariposas Sin Fronteras, Equality Arizona, and Southern Arizona Gender Alliance as the previous grant focus was on uplifting organizations that support transgender and LGBTQIA+ communities.
In 2023, Unidas will be facilitating several cohorts across Arizona. This includes a statewide, virtual cohort that will be accessible to participants in various communities while WFSA continues supporting nonprofit organizations filling the need for women and girls of all identities. Unidas accepts year-round registrations for its cohorts. Learn more at https://bit.ly/WFSAUnidas.
Big thank you to Buffalo Exchange for funding this semester’s grant!