Peer Program Educates Adolescents about Human Sexuality, STDs and Pregnancy

In the mid-1990s, the Princeton Center for Leadership Training, in collaboration with HiTOPS Clinical Services and the Network for Family Life Education at Rutgers University, established programs in five New Jersey cities.

HiTops (Health Interested Teens' Own Program on Sexuality) is an adolescent health and development program in which peer educators (teams of high school seniors) get comprehensive training in human sexuality and leadership skills.

The peer educators then helped other young people understand their sexuality, avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and become more responsible community members.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Health Initiatives national program.

Key Results

  • More than 1,800 middle and high school students participated in workshops conducted by HiTops peer educators.
  • Teen Councils also presented workshops at the 1995 and 1996 "World AIDS Day of Learning for New Jersey Youth."
  • During its first year, the project could not sustain any of its four original programs in Trenton; participation was higher in Jersey City, Newark and New Brunswick.