Planned Parenthood, (Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.), a non-profit organization providing reproductive healthcare, sex education, and information to the U.S. and globally presents their Advocates Alliance 2021 grants to grantees including The Gem Project. Planned Parenthood is dedicated to ensuring that everyone shares full access to the proper care and resources needed to make informed decisions. When it comes to making important decisions about one’s body, life, and future; Planned Parenthood plays a key role in providing optimal healthcare, sexual/reproductive services, and more. Some of their services include preventive care such as birth control, testing/treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and screenings for cervical and all other cancers.
As a branch of Planned Parenthood, The Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey’s Advocates Alliance, began as a small group of volunteers calling the attention of changing the stereotype of motherhood as accidental and indiscriminate into voluntary and intelligent has developed into an organization supporting teens, women, and men located in 18 counties across New Jersey. As an organization, they support patients both when it comes to their health and their individual rights associated with it. The New Jersey Advocates Alliance is investing in their initiative where they award local projects that support the delivery of essential reproductive health care, sex education, and information to all New Jerseyans. When it comes to sexual health awareness, this grant symbolizes an organization that dedicates itself to making a positive impact in communities on reproductive justice, racial equity, youth empowerment, and mentoring. As a first-year recipient, The Gem Project is delighted to receive this and represent the solution to social issues such as health inequities. The Gem Project will be awarded a $10,000.00 grant to continue the great work being done between fellows and their coaches. The Gem Project receives this grant on the valuable contributions they continue to deliver on addressing topics such as health inequities when it comes to sexual and gender inclusivity. Not only is The Gem Project addressing key sexual health issues but also developing call-to-action. They are developing strategies that include everyone on sexual health rather than the enforced agenda of sexual health portrayed in school systems.
This grant reflects the success of the ongoing projects Health fellows develop when it comes to their op-eds and workshops designed to educate the public about health inequities among LGBTQ individuals and the importance of sexual health for everyone. Similar to Planned Parenthood, The Gem Project Health Fellows seek to be social health advocates by challenging societal perceptions around sexual health, sexual health stigmas, and providing both equitable education and access to every individual despite their sexual and gender identity. Both The Gem Project and Planned Parenthood recognize there are differences between sexual health relations for every individual in who they identify as but argue the practice of safe sex and protective treatment isn’t so different. Regardless of one’s sexual and gender identity and preference, health is health. Everyone should have full and equal access to education, treatment, and community support.
Amanda Ebokosia, CEO and Founder of The Gem Project says “Fatima Heyward, our program manager for this grant and PPNCSNJ’s Reproductive Justice and Community Partnerships Manager, truly did a wonderful job hosting and ensuring all grantees had an opportunity to share best practices and learn from each other. We are also honored to be a first-year recipient of this grant and look forward to the ongoing work our youth will do within this space.” The Gem Project is excited to take on new projects and new topics within the health space and play a key role in making positive change where awareness and representation on sexual health inclusivity are needed.
Sierra Cole is a communications and public relations professional. In 2021 she joined The Gem Project as an inaugural Story Corps Fellow, capturing the stories and work of our youth organizers.⠀
“We champion on-time graduation through peer mentoring, youth organizing, employment, and service-learning initiatives, with a social justice approach.”
-The Gem Project