KAREN JEMMOTT understands that some creativity is required when helping teens absorb information about health and safety. For the last three years, as director of physician outreach at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, she has organized youth conferences to “bring the physicians to the youth” instead of waiting for teens to seek help. In addition to addressing issues of sexual health, diabetes and obesity, the symposiums counsel teens about financial literacy, resume writing, skin and dental care and community involvement, as those issues affect self-esteem, and in turn, overall health. This year’s event “Play Safe, Play Healthy or Get Played!” was held Friday at Clara Barton High School for Health Professionals in Crown Heights.
Jemmott’s slogan “condoms are fashion for life” could have been the catchphrase for the primary entertainment: a spirited fashion show that featured a condom dress and jacket, a dress made from an HIV/AIDS quilt and outfits representing abstinence. The symbolic clothing was intended to make safe sex “fashionable,” to encourage teens to delay sexual activity until both parties are mature enough to understand the inherent implications. “If it’s raining, you would put your boots on,” Jemmott said. “So if you were going to engage in sexual activity, why wouldn’t you put something on your body? [We want people to] embrace the fact that it’s part of life.”
More than 60 community organizations and services were on-hand to distribute information and answer questions. Free STD screenings, including one for HIV/AIDS, returned results before the evening was over. Winners of post-lecture trivia games took home prizes such as a year family package at the YMCA and Duane Reade gift cards. Teens took home a 200-page “Life Saver” guide to where they can find free or low cost services year round.
Jemmott’s passion to teach and help is palpable. “You gotta love this stuff,” she said. “And I love it. It’s not just about putting a program out, because anyone can put a program out, but it’s about how do you impact the audience. Figuring out how to reach them. Talking to them instead of talking down to them. We want them to say, ‘I never thought about it that way, and I’m having fun.”
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FORT GREENE RESIDENT JOE CHAN, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, is to be honored tonight at the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s Spring Gala Benefit Dinner at the Rainbow Room. A special tribute will also be made to I. Stanley Kriegel, a founding board member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. A silent auction will be followed by dinner, a live auction and performance by New York composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch, one of only two people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize.
GRACE & SPIRITUS CHORALE MUSIC DIRECTOR JAMES BUSBY will conduct a joint performance of G&SC and Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra in the last concert of its 35th season. The May 16 and 18 concerts at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights will feature Sir Michael Tippett’s oratorio “A Child of Our Time.” The production is based on the events of 1938, when a Jewish teenager murdered a German diplomat, and that murder was used by the Nazis to foment anti-Jewish violence that ultimately resulted in the tragic events of Kristallnacht. Admission to the concert is free with a suggested contribution of $15.
PRESIDENT ARNOLD LEHMAN, Director ELLEN F. SALPETER and the board and staff of Heart of Brooklyn (HOB) welcome you to celebrate six years of the partnership’s work. HOB is comprised of Brooklyn’s leading cultural institutions near Grand Army Plaza: Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), Botanic Garden, Museum, Children’s Museum, Prospect Park and the zoo. The partnership encourages tourism in the borough by working to preserve and promote its myriad historic treasures. The celebration will take place May 21, beginning with a 5 p.m. presentation in BPL’s Dweck Center, followed by cocktails in the Independence Community Foundation lobby. To RSVP click here by Wednesday, May 14.