Chuck Long

Peer educator, Planned Parenthood FYI program

You got accepted into the program. Then what?

They took me and informed me of all sorts of things, ranging from anatomy to contraception to sexual abuse, and then I informed my peers that I had information and they could ask me questions and if I didn't have the answers I would find them.

Where did you dispense this information?

Mostly at school, like at the lunch table. Or if you overhear misinformation you correct it—like, you can't get pregnant the first time, you can't get pregnant if you have sex standing up, that sort of thing.

As a 17-year-old boy in a public high school, wasn't it awkward?

Not as much as one would expect it to be, since if I talked about something I would have already talked about it with the other peer educators. And I tend to ignore awkwardness.

How did the peer educators feel about abstinence?

Abstinence is a viable method of preventing all sorts of problems, so it was discussed. We looked on it as a legitimate option but something that doesn't work for most people.

Were any of your school peers horrified because Planned Parenthood gives out condoms?

Usually if people are going to say something about Planned Parenthood, it's not about condoms. It's "baby killers." And then I inform them that my job is to educate people and thus prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Do you think the program works?

Yes, probably. High school students in general really want accurate information. They're tired of the "just wait" program.

Does knowing all this hurt when you ask a girl out?

Actually, it will probably be helpful because girls are not attracted to misinformation. If I say something about sex it's not just something random I heard in a back alleyway

Has the experience ever been humorous?

You give teenagers free condoms and funny things happen.