By Sierra Freeman
Sierra Freeman is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University, where she received her B.S. in Health Education with a minor in Women’s health issues. She is passionate about equality, social justice, and health. In her free time, she loves spending time with family and friends, being at the beach, and going to shows/concerts.
In college, I was able to gain a sense of what empowerment looked like and felt like for the first time. As a young adult, there was a time when I didn’t feel able to identify issues that bothered me or have the space to be productive in how I wanted to see things change in life. I also remember, during that same time, that was not aware of what being in control of my health, body, and life would even feel like, or if there were even issues that I felt existed in the first place.
A key factor of empowerment, I believe, is having a sense of self efficacy, which is essentially a belief in yourself to do well or succeed. Within health education courses and high school courses I think it would be really valuable if all courses/spaces/classrooms were providing this type of space for students to discuss issues that come up in their life and identify what the root of that problem stems from. When you aren’t incorporating larger social or political factors into stress or how laws affect individuals, then you aren’t getting the full picture and in my opinion, you’re limiting the ability of young people to seek empowerment and be empowered to create changes they want to see.
Teen empowerment is an important aspect of health education, as I have seen in my own life, because it has transformed not only how I interact with the world but also has allowed me to believe in myself. Education is the key to teen empowerment and with more education, the more you feel in control of your life, health, body and being able to feel like you have the ability to make changes.
Empower yourself by visiting our Legal Guide and learning about your rights to reproductive healthcare, parenting assistance, and more!