High School Cancer Outreach Program at Voyages Preparatory High School

On February 27, 28 and March 2, 2017, SHAREing and CAREing conducted three Be a Friend to Your Mother outreach programs at Voyages Preparatory High School. A total of 110 students and staff attended our program.

Voyages Preparatory High School is a collaboration between the NYC Department of Education and Queens Community House. This small school serves students who are at least 16 years old who have struggled in the past to earn credits in a traditional high school environment. Students are predominantly from low-income, underserved minority communities.

SHAREing and CAREing’s program for Voyages H.S fit well into the school’s missions and objectives. Voyages students are encouraged, even required, to engage with the real world and actively support each other. This is very consistent with SHAREing and CAREing’s educators who are survivors, caretakers, community advocates and engaged in the urgent, real world struggle against cancer.

We shared our knowledge and experience with this very receptive audience. Voyage’s students found S&C’s presenters and curricula accessible and our presentation style welcoming and engaging. One of the teachers shared her own experience losing a loved one to cancer and wishing she had had a resource like ours to help her through it. A student sought out our LCSW counselor to set up counseling support in helping him deal with a loved one struggling with cancer. Another student asked if she could volunteer or intern with our organization. She proudly posted a photo of herself with S&C staff on her social media pages.

The mission of Voyages also indicates that their students care for the worlds they inhabit—their homes, their communities, their school, and their classrooms. Students asked many relevant questions and reflected on experiences with cancer in their communities. They expressed concern for protecting their health. We taught students how to perform breast self-exams and testicular self-exams as well as provided health information that could greatly reduce their risk of cancer. We encouraged students to have meaningful conversations about health care with family members, including helping vulnerable family members access free and low cost screening services and health care. We provided handouts to take home that would facilitate their doing so and encouraged them to contact us and follow up with us in the future should they need assistance.

We had a productive and positive experience during our first educational outreach to high school students at Voyages Preparatory High School. It will surely be one of many! We are already planning follow up programs including a breast health education for students and their female relatives on March 21, 2017.

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