Screening Testing Education
and Prevention Urban Partnership (STEP-UP)
- Health & Wellness
Screening Testing Education and Prevention Urban Partnership (STEP-UP)
13-24 year olds
Training and education program on the risks of HIV and substance abuse
Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, free of bullying, discrimination and violence.
Under our Health and Wellness Pillar of Service is STEP-UP. The purpose of this program is to educate youth through evidence-based curricula on topics around healthy living strategies to reduce the risk of substance abuse and HIV/STI transmission with an emphasis on positive youth engagement and skill building.
STEP-UP partners with Miami-Dade County schools to offer educational sessions both in and after-school as well as collaborating with organizations across different sectors to bring prevention campaigns to the community.
We take a youth-centered approach by utilizing a fun and interactive style of learning to help avoid risky sexual activity, substance use, or other harmful behaviors. Through community partnerships, we link youth to services such as health screenings, counseling, and additional resources as needed. The long-term goal is to provide youth with the relevant education to build self-esteem, reduce at-risk status, and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Further, many cultures do not openly talk about sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and we encourage dialogue to help reduce stigma. Additional barriers to testing include religious conservatism, lack of education, lack of insurance, gender and sexual fluidity, and youth not feeling like they can be honest with their parents.
We educate youth who self-identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning, as well as men who have sex with men who do not self-identify as gay or bisexual. Most are bilingual speaking both English and Creole, with some monolingual Creole speakers.
STEP-UP is funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).