Scarleteen, sex ed for the real world

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Help Lift Sex Ed to a Higher Plane: Support Scarleteen!

To donate now, click on one of the links below. If you'd like more information on what Scarleteen has done recently and during the whole of our tenure, our plans for the coming year, and what the scoop is with our budget and expenses, keep reading. To read our support request for this season, click here.

  • To make a secure, tax-deductible donation by credit card online: CLICK HERE.
     
  • To make a tax-deductible donation by mail, make your check out to The Center for Sex and Culture, writing "For Scarleteen" in the memo. Mail to: The Center for Sex and Culture, c/o Carol Queen, 2215-R Market Street PMB 455, San Francisco, CA, 94114. They will mail a written acknowledgment of your donation to you. The Center for Sex and Culture is a fiscal sponsor for Scarleteen.
     
  • To donate securely by credit card, online check or account using PayPal: CLICK HERE. Donations made this way are not tax-deductible.
     
  • To donate by check or money order directly: make checks payable to Scarleteen and send to: Scarleteen, 1752 NW Market Street #524, Seattle, WA, 98107. Donations made this way are not tax-deductible.

If you want to be listed as a donor on our site, please send us an email to let us know how you'd like to be acknowledged.

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since we blazed the online sex ed trail in 1998. We have consistently provided free inclusive, comprehensive and supportive sex education, information and support to millions of young people every year. We built the online model for quality teen and young adult sex education and have remained active for 13 years now to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also one of the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget typically lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. In 2010, our total net funding to work with was just $44,000.

You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are fully independent, grassroots media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily funded by people who care deeply about teens having this kind of vital and valuable service; people like you who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas.

Want some more information? Between 2009 and 2011 Scarleteen:

Had around 1 million overall hits to the site each day from an average of 20,000 unique users daily. Scarleteen has a very high page-load rate as compared to other websites: since 2006 alone, our site has had over 100 million page loads.

Currently, Scarleteen remains the #1 ranked site by Alexa for teen sexuality education/information and for general sexuality advice for Internet users of all ages. While we are usually in the top 20,000 sites for the U.S., and 40% of our users are from the states, our users are broadly international and diverse. To see some of our user testimonials, click here. To read about our 2011 user demographic study, click here.

To find out more about our educational philosophies and model, check out our about page, or read Scarleteen Is..., What Is Feminist Sex Education?, On Innovation and Inclusivity in Sex Education, A Calm View from the Eye of the Storm: Hysteria, Youth and Sexuality. If you've never taken time to just look around the site as a whole, please do!

Engaged in around 8,000 one-on-one or group conversations with young people on our message boards, providing them factual and friendly answers on contraception, sexual anatomy, safer sex, sexual health, masturbation, interpersonal relationships and other related topics; helping them through struggles like pregnancy scares or unplanned pregnancies, STIs, sexual harassment, rape and intimate partner violence or abuse; talking them through relationships and breakups, family conflicts, gender, sexual identity or body image issues and their sexual decision-making; discussing political issues pertinent to sexuality and youth rights. Most posts at the boards are answered within a few hours, some within minutes. Many of our board users return to the boards again and again for more help, to engage in deeper discussions or to talk with or support other users.

In total our boards have over 50,000 registered users and nearly 100,000 topics: all the questions young people have posted have been answered by one or more of Scarleteen's staff and volunteers. Our boards are fully moderated and a safe space for young people. To help protect our users from potential harassment, they may not share personal information like full names, e-mail addresses, messenger or social networking handles or personal webpages. Managing and moderating the message boards often requires the bulk of our staff and volunteer time. You can read about how we keep Scarleteen's boards and all areas of the site a Bully-Free Zone here.

Answered around 250 column-length young adult questions in our Sexpert Advice section, which is also syndicated weekly at RH Reality Check. There are over 1000 Sexpert Advice columns in total published at the site. However, our advice queue typically has over 500 questions waiting for answers. In order to catch up with this backlog, we need the funds to acquire more staff to handle the high demand for the longer, in-depth answers our advice column provides and our users are seeking there.

Generated fresh static content. Between 2009 and 2011 we posted around 150 blog entries, half of which were penned by young adult volunteers, and added over 25 new, in-depth articles to the site. Those articles have included Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent, Whoah, There! How to Slow Down When You're Moving Too Fast, Sorting Maybe from Can't-Be: Reality Checking Partnered Sex Wants & Ideals, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, The Scarleteen Do-It,, With Pleasure: A View of Whole Sexual Anatomy for Every Body, Pregnancy Scared?, Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship, Positively Informed: An HIV/AIDS Roundup, Boys Do Cry: How To Deal With a Breakup Like a Man, Q is for Questioning, Chicken Soup for the Pregnancy Symptom Freakout's Soul, Let's Get Metaphysical: The Etiquette of Entry, Give'em Some Lip: Labia That Clearly Ain't Minor and Love Letter, You, Them and a U-Haul: Considering Cohabitation, and Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist. We have also added several new youth-written articles, and updated several existing articles to be sure our information is accurate and timely.

Excluding the message boards (where there are hundreds of thousands of pages), Scarleteen currently contains over 2000 webpages of original content: articles, advice answers, blogs, external resource listings, polls and more.

Received media coverage: Between 2009 and 2011, Scarleteen was mentioned by/in Teen Voices, Salon, Glamour, Feministe, Slate, The Body, The Independent, BUST magazine, Medill Reports, TIME Magazine, Feministing, City on a Hill Press, The Vancouver Sun, The San Francisco Chronicle, Feministe, Girldrive, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, Utne Reader, CBS News and other outlets. To see some of this and more media coverage for Scarleteen in previous years, click here.

Provided direct community education and outreach: Between 2009 and 2011, Scarleteen director Heather Corinna gave talks to sex education students, sex educators and sexologists, youth and/or their allies via presentations at or for the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Onscenity (UK), BelongTo (Ireland), the University of Washington (Bothell), Carleton College, San Francisco State University (NSRC), the Center for Sex and Culture, the University of Texas (NSRC Regional Training), the sex::tech conference, the American Medical Students Association, Harvard College, the NARAL Youth Summit and Garfield High School directly reaching around 1,000 total participants. In addition, through our in-person outreach programs, direct to-youth sex education was provided on an ongoing basis both to young adult reproductive health patients and homeless teens in Seattle. We also have plans to continue providing information and education both to youth and other educators via conferences, summits and other public outreach opportunities nationally.

New at Scarleteen between 2009 and 2011

We were able to design, create and implement Find-a-Doc by 2011, and now continue to grow and refine it. It is a user-fueled database we bult to help young people find the in-person sexual and reproductive healthcare, counseling, LGBTQ support, rape and sexual abuse survivor support and other services related to sexuality they need. Young people often lack the ability to get a recommendation from a friend: many of their peers and partners do not often yet use or know where to get these services, either. Some do, but are reluctant to disclose they have used them. This database allows a user to enter one of these services they have used and would recommend to another young person. Scarleteen staff validates the service/provider by phone if need be before publishing the listing. Our users in need of these services can search for these services by choosing the type of service they are looking for and entering a zip code. They can read comments from others who have used these providers/services to help them make their best choices in care.

In 2011, we were able to send several of our volunteers, including one from overseas, to the sex::tech conference in San Francisco. We would like to send volunteers to sex::tech again in 2012, as well as the ability to fund volunteers to other conferences or continuing education.

In late 2010, Scarleteen acquired the CONNECT program, a local outreach program for King County, Washington which had been directed by Scarleteen executive director Heather Corinna for two years previous through Cedar River Clinics and was founded at the Aradia Clinic, which closed in 2007. CONNECT is an in-person program which primarily delivers population-specific comprehensive sex education presentations and counseling to at-risk young people in and around Seattle, primarily through services for homeless teens and reproductive health clinics. CONNECT also provides staff training for youth-serving agencies and individuals regarding teen and young adult sexuality, contraception and sexual health. Unfortunately, funding for CONNECT was not continued through the foundation which had funded it previously, so it remains currently funded solely via Scarleteen.

More and more users are accessing the web via their mobile phones. Thanks to donors in 2009, Scarleteen is now browsable via mobile, and has been optimized for mobile use to help us expand our reach and the ability of users to get to us exactly when and where they need us.

In 2009 we ran a pilot program to train young adult peer sex educators online. To find out about that program and see what trainees had to say about their experience click here. We want to provide two more sessions of the training for 60 trainees in 2012, a goal we had for 2011, but did not get sufficient funds to achieve. We also debuted and have continued an SMS service for young people to text sexuality, sexual health and relationship questions to us and have them answered on their mobile phones. For more information on the text-in service, click here. As with all of our services, both of these new services are provided at no cost to youth.

Goals for 2012:

On top of continuing the existing services we provide, we would like to sustain ourselves and continue to grow, adding new sections, functions and levels of service.

  • Scarleteen would like to increase our traffic, reach and useability. Increased reach means more young people getting the sex information they want and need. It means that less young people will be saying to us, as they often do, "I only wish I found this sooner." Scarleteen has never purchased any kind of advertising to let young people know about our services. Given all of our traffic has been via direct referrals and word-of-mouth, imagine how many youth we might be able to reach with other means of promoting the site. Scarleteen's unique design and graphical tone have always been something users report as a big part of what make the site feel approachable and friendly to them, which is very important when addressing awkward or difficult topics. Major design updates are in development for the front page of the site, and some internal pages, which will help make the site even more useable for users, allowing them to more quickly find what they need, which can be a challenge in a site of our size, scope and depth, and increasing the site's overall appeal. These design and programming changes are important, but are labor-intensive and costly. Our technical development costs increased in 2010 and 2011, and will likely continue to in 2012.
  • Increased in-person outreach: We would like to add extra programming for the local homeless and transient youth we already serve in Seattle and expand it to serve youth at additional partner agencies.
  • Print materials: We are often asked by clinics, school and other youth-serving agencies for pamphlets or posters for Scarleteen. We would love to create and provide these, but still have yet to raise enough to fund these print materials.
  • Volunteer benefits: Our volunteers are an integral part of Scarleteen. Most of them are young adults themselves, and having peer or near-peer voices and perspectives on the site is crucial to keeping Scarleteen youth-centered and accessible in tone. Not only do our volunteers have valuable experiences working as volunteers, they help keep parts of the site running smoothly and assure that our users asking for one-on-one interaction get it from caring, compassionate and informed people. And the longer we can sustain a volunteer, the more skilled they become. Beyond slathering them in thanks and providing them skills and training, giving them stipends is one way we can help retain the volunteers we value so much. Volunteers received modest stipends in 2009 and 2010, and we would like to give them again and increase them in 2011 and 2012. We would also like the funds to send volunteers to some sex education conferences and trainings and increased funding to give us the time and resources to train in more new volunteers this year. For more about our volunteers and staff click here.
  • Direct financial help for young people in need of reproductive health and other needed services. Last year, a new user came to us in desperate need of funds for an abortion she could not find or raise herself. We were able to help her raise funds through other funding sources and also were able to make a minor contribution on behalf of Scarleteen. We would like to establish a small formal fund in 2011 for situations such as these when and if young people are in dire need of limited funding for any reproductive choice with an unintended pregnancy, STI treatment or testing, crisis counseling or legal assistance for situations such as battling gender or orientation discrimination or getting free of an abusive relationship.
  • Integration of the It's All One sex education curriculum. We have been thrilled with the release of this comprehensive sex education curriculum developed by the International Sexuality and HIV Curriculum Working Group which, as we so often do at Scarleteen, centers its approach to sex education around social justice and gender equity, and is intended for use with a diverse, international population. In 2012, we would like to incorporate this fantastic, evidence-based curriculum into more of our community discussions, in-person presentations and online content.

What We Need: As we sought in 2010/2011, we would still like a minimum annual operating budget of $75,000 and the revenue to support it, which means we have needed a minimum of $35,000 more from new or current donors before mid-2012. (As of mid-June 2012, with large fundraising pitches put out starting in October of 2001, we have only been able to acquire around $18,000 of this goal from around 175 donors).

Our existing budget still cannot adequately sustain our staff or the organization as a whole. That minimum budget goal is very low: it accounts for the site running at less than $200 a day to provide all of the services we do to all of the young people and their allies who use them, and includes staffing. 75K is exceptionally cost-effective and reasonable for the level of service we provide, especially compared to other organizations and initiatives whose budgets are far higher, including those which do not match our reach and our level of direct-service. If you would like more details about our budget and expenses, just contact us via email and we'll gladly share that information with you.

We need your help.

Unlike many other organizations often in a bind because they are solely or highly reliant on foundation or public funding, Scarleteen has always been primarily supported by generous individuals like yourself and small community groups. While this requires we operate at a far smaller budget than other similar organizations, it also allows us a high level of freedom and autonomy and the greatest ability to provide young people with what they are asking us for, rather than seeking to create or adapt content and services primarily to suit what funders want. On top of that, this approach to funding also allows our staff to put nearly all of our time, energy and money into directly serving youth, rather than into grant seeking, writing and administrating.

Please make a donation if you are able, and consider the value and level of the services we provide to young people in doing so. A $100 donation can pay half of our server bill for a month, or half the monthly cost of the SMS service, or, can fund any kind of use of the site, including one-on-one counsel and care, for around 10,000 of our daily users. However, we would very much appreciate your a donation at any level.

We'd also be grateful if you'd share our appeal with your networks: let the people who care about you know why you care so much about us. In advance, we thank you for all you can give us and all you do or have done in support of Scarleteen. We fully intend to keep doing all we can to give just as much back.

Support Scarleteen Now

  • To make a secure, tax-deductible donation by credit card online: CLICK HERE.
  • To make a tax-deductible donation by mail, make your check out to The Center for Sex and Culture, writing "For Scarleteen" in the memo. Mail to: The Center for Sex and Culture, c/o Carol Queen, 2215-R Market Street PMB 455, San Francisco, CA, 94114. They will mail a written acknowledgment of your donation to you. The Center for Sex and Culture is a fiscal sponsor for Scarleteen.
  • To donate securely by credit card, online check or account using PayPal: CLICK HERE. Donations made this way are not tax-deductible.
  • To donate by check or money order directly: make checks payable to Scarleteen and send to: Scarleteen, 1752 NW Market Street #524, Seattle, WA, 98107. Donations made this way are not tax-deductible.

If you would like to support us in some other way, such as through advertising, sponsorship or by volunteering your time or if you have any questions about donating, we'd love to hear from you. You can contact us via e-mail here.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

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