REACH’s prevention work at Waltham High School

Over the past couple of months, REACH has deepened and diversified our work at Waltham High School. Our Youth Education Specialist has taught lessons in specific classes and led workshops open to the whole school, often with the PAVE Peer Leadership club. The Peer Leaders taught sociology classes on consent and boundaries where they did interactive activities that modeled how to recognize and ask for consent. They also hosted a “Pizza Talk” about the messages created by teenage romantic comedies that was attended by twenty people. Pizza Talks are lunch events at Waltham High School where students eat pizza and learn about different topics.

REACH’s Youth Education Specialist just finished teaching lessons on healthy and unhealthy relationships in biology classes of all academic and language levels. With one teacher’s classes, two days were spent defining abuse, building bystander intervention skills, and unpacking gender and identity stereotypes (see images). Afterwards, three lessons were taught in another teacher’s biology classes where students did activities to enact consent and boundary setting, defined abuse, and learned about the wave of abuse and different types of abuse. There were also discussions about helping a friend, accessing resources, and examining identity and gender norms.

Next week, REACH will be back in the classroom teaching four sessions to advanced health classes. These lessons will be structured similarly to the biology classes and will focus on building foundational knowledge about healthy and unhealthy relationships before developing skills to use this knowledge. REACH is also in the process of working with Waltham High School to restructure their advisory curriculum into a sustainable program centered on building social emotional skills. We are honored to continue strengthening our work at Waltham High School into a whole child- whole school- whole community partnership.