Calgary Sexual Health Centre
Our Story Why We Exist
The tension was palpable. Each week we start with a check-in where the boys can talk about what’s going on in their lives. It was clear from the moment I walked in the door that there would be lots to talk about this week.
Willie and Ralph, long time friends, were sitting opposite each other. Willie, sitting alone next to me, was accused of spreading false rumors about Ralph and a girl. Ralph was with the other boys sitting as judge and jury.
The boys are negotiating the powerful feelings that accompany right and wrong, afraid to be vulnerable, to be seen as weak. They want to repair their friendship but don’t know how to without losing face. Heck I’m twice their age and it’s still hard for me.
While I’m sitting there, trying to keep order, this situation seems all too familiar. I’m the participant observer of my own stubbornness, the facade of strength and righteousness that leaves little space to listen and no room for empathy.
As I move from observer to facilitator everything begins to shift. Feeling words start to emerge – “I feel frustrated, angry, pissed-off.” It’s no longer about who’s right or wrong, this is about how it feels to be in a fight with your friend.
As the two boys talk about their feelings, anger and fear give way to understanding. Willie recognizes that his actions have hurt his friend. He comes to appreciate Ralph’s anger and in the safety of our meeting he apologizes. He opens up to the group and admits that sometimes he talks without thinking and that he’s working on it.
In that moment of honesty and vulnerability Ralph says, “I accept your apology and we can be friends again, but I just might not talk to you for a while.”
Ten minutes later they are laughing and joking together in class.
How many times have I fought with someone I cared about, focused on defending my position and ignoring their feelings? I wish I had had someone to facilitate these conversations, to help me to see the hurt and share my feelings, to repair my friendships.
Calgary Sexual Health sees the value of creating safer spaces for people to share, be curious, and show empathy towards each other. I’m grateful to be a part of offering this time and space to others.
Our Impact What We Do
The Calgary Sexual Health Centre is a nationally recognized, community based organization delivering programs and services addressing sexual health issues in a comprehensive way. We have been leaders in the areas of sexuality, healthy relationships, human rights, gender identity, sexual orientation, equality and consent for 45 years in the Calgary community. Our work is now expanding provincially and nationally.
We offer a wide variety of programs and services - from comprehensive sexual health education in schools, client counselling, and specialized programming for LGBTQ communities, parents, people with disabilities, young men, vulnerable youth and adults, immigrant and ethnocultural communities, older adults, and survivors of abuse.
Our Training Centre offers educational workshops to professionals from across Canada including teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, first responders, youth association leaders, and human resources specialists - to expand their knowledge and better equip them to integrate healthy sexuality policy and practice into their work and workplace culture.
We provide subject matter expertise to all levels of governments to help shape healthy, inclusive policy that is rooted in equality and respect for all individuals. All aspects of our work are evidence-informed and measurement driven, giving us the ability to demonstrate meaningful, statistically relevant outcomes through our programs.
We serve over 44,000 people annually and we partner with grassroots intitiatives, schools, community organizations, and corporate partners, working together to incorporate healthy sexuality as an integral part of human development, healthy relationships, and community well-being.
Our Programs How We Do It
The Calgary Sexual Health Centre has been leading the way in the area of sexuality, human rights, gender identity, sexual orientation, equality and consent for 45 years. Our job is to educate people about healthy sexuality, how to be respectful and accepting of ourselves and each other, and to equip everyone with the skills to be in joyful and healthy relationships.
We offer a wide variety of programs and services from sexual health education and counselling, to specialized programs for LGBTQ individuals, young men, parents, vulnerable youth and adults, immigrants, persons with disabilities, older adults, people living with addictions, and survivors of abuse.
Some of our programs include:
Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in schools | We provide a comprehensive sexual health education program to inform, motivate, and help youth make healthy decisions about their sexuality. Our program is inclusive, designed to provide youth with accurate, up-to-date information and resources, help them build the skills necessary to make healthy choices about their sexual health, and to develop healthy relationships.
- In the 2014/15 school year, over 65% of sudents reported increased confidence in their awareness of healthy and unhealthy relationships after participating in our sexual health education program.
WiseGuyz | WiseGuyz is a school based program that provides boys with a safe space to explore and question masculine beliefs, stereotypes and behaviours. Learning about human rights, sexual health, gender and healthy relationships provides the context for the boys to reshape masculinity in a progressive and healthy way.
- In the 2014/15 school year, program results included: There was a 24% positive change in the boys confidence to have and maintain healthy relationships. When asked what they would carry forward from WiseGuyz, the boys unanimously stated healthy relationships. We witness the normalizing of adolscent boys being comfortable and unrestricted in being expressive, emotional, and deeply connected in their relationships.
Training Centre | We help service providers gain skills in providing support to clients regarding their sexual health. Our experienced facilitators lead interactive and engaging workshops that include discussions around normalization, boundaries and resources. Training Centre workshops increase the comfort and skill of professionals to talk about sexual health, relationships, gender and sexual diversity, helping to dramatically increase the number of clients that receive sexual health services beyond the scope of organization. Since 2009, we have trained over 16,000 professionals.
Community Outreach - Youth | LGBT Youth - Research indicates lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth face a wide variety of risks such as social exclusion/bullying, suicide, school drop-out, homelessness, sexual risk-taking and abuse. We organize the Calgary Gay Straight Alliance Network of Calgary. We bring together students, educators, parents and community members join together to meet and talk about their experiences, their challenges, and their successes with GSAs. We offer a place to find support and exchange ideas. This is also a safe space for students and teachers who cannot have a GSA in their school.
Marginalized Youth - Our Youth Outreach program ensures that marginalized youth, including youth in care and street youth, are provided with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their sexuality. We provide sexual health education programs to youth populations so they have information, support and resources to help them avoid negative sexual health outcomes such as unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Community Outreach - Adults | Vulnerable populations including older adults, immigrant and ethno-cultural communities, Aboriginal people, individuals with disabilities, people living with addictions, and survivors of abuse, are at particular risk for not having accessible information related to sexual well-being. Our community outreach efforts encompass all of our programs and services that serve Calgary’s adult populations, ensuring people have support and resources to reduce unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, sexual risk-taking, increased risk of sexual abuse, and social isolation related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Our Requests What You Can Do
When you support CSHC, you invest in the future of our community. We work to challenge stereotypes, teach individuals to respect themselves and others and provide people with the skills to have healthy bodies and relationships across the lifespan. Together, we can achieve a future free of bullying, victimization, violence, unplanned pregnancies and disrespect. Together, we can change the social landscape.
The Calgary Sexual Health Centre is innovative, nimble and responsive to the needs of the community. It is through individual donors that we can provide the most effective services to the individuals we seek to impact by providing relevant programs and services.
For more information on investment options visit: Calgary Sexual Health Centre - Donate Now