School is in Session with BY-LA


School is in session, along with our Believe In Youth - Louisiana (BY-LA) program! As the doors to schools all across the state begin to open, our health educators will also return to schools and community centers bringing critical health information to Louisiana teens. Over the summer our team was busy preparing for the upcoming year by onboarding new health educators, expanding our network of sites and getting ready to make sure we can provide another stellar year of BY-LA. We’re also excited to provide even more programming in the Region 2 area of Louisiana, which encompasses several parishes including Ascension and East & West Baton Rouge Parishes, with help from our community partner Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge.

As we begin a new program year, we’re excited to build on the successes of last year, including the strong relationships we built with students, faith-based organizations and other community sites. Last school year our trauma-informed program reached over 1500 young people between the ages of 14-19 at 20 different sites with both comprehensive sex education and mental health skills-building. One of our partnerships was with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, where one of our star educators, Yohonna Hakeem, successfully implemented BY-LA. The students loved the way Ms. Hakeem (as she’s called in the classroom) broke down the information and made a potentially embarrassing subject interesting, approachable and even fun! The young people enjoyed it so much that they asked for BY-LA implementations at their own schools for the upcoming year in another region, Region 3, which encompasses Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Charles, St. John, St. James and Assumption Parishes.

These are just a few of the small stories that we cherish, and that remind us of the importance of providing age-appropriate comprehensive sex education to all young people. Our health educators taught students from various backgrounds, including students who are parenting, young people involved in the criminal justice system and Spanish-speaking students. As educators that care deeply about our students and their needs we may be biased, but the data we gather in the classrooms provide even further evidence of the need for this curriculum. According to our Emotional Wellness Survey, 98% of program participants said they would recommend BY-LA to a friend and 94% felt more positive about themselves and their self-worth after participating in the BY-LA program. As the new school year begins, BY-LA looks forward to providing more knowledge to young people to help them make informed decisions about their health!

If you are interested in learning more about the BY-LA program or about any of IWES’ sexual health education programs, please contact Kala Rachel at or by calling 504-599-7712.

Iman ShervingtonComment