This article first appeared in the 2020 Annual Update.
Middle school and high school students in Eagle County are staying connected to good health thanks to education programs made possible by philanthropy. These programs are taught by the Red Ribbon Project, an Eagle County nonprofit whose mission is to promote healthier lives by empowering the community to reduce teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.
The Fifth Grade Vaping Program arms students transitioning to middle school with tools that help them resist peer pressure to vape. The program challenges the common belief that e-cigarettes are risk-free, healthy alternatives to traditional cigarettes. Students learn how vaping exposes users to 100 times the amount of toxin-laden smoke compared to cigarettes, and about the health risks of the highly addictive chemicals found in e-cigarettes.
High school students benefit from accurate medical information about the importance of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and strategies to reduce high-risk sexual behavior during an evidence-based teenage pregnancy and disease prevention program offered in all Eagle County public high schools. The 6-to-7-hour in-person program provides an important understanding of sexually transmitted infections, and HIV prevention and education. Proven effective, the program reduced teen births in Eagle County by 79 percent over a 10-year period.