Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Meet Planned Parenthood" Series: Rick Bartell

For almost 19 years, Rick Bartell has been making sure the Planned Parenthood educational programs are alive and in working order. As the Director of Education and Outreach, Rick oversees the non-clinical programs such as Rape Crisis Service, In Control, and Real Life. Real Talk.

In addition, Rick makes sure that there are educators out in the communities and in schools talking to kids and teens about sex education. These are services our society needs more than anything. Today, America is on par with third world countries when it comes to birth rates and sexual health education. Although this is now known as fact, members of our nation still refuse to talk about it, let alone do something to reverse it. Rick is seen through my eyes as what today’s “model citizen” should act like; doing everything in his power to get the job done and to serve the community with the best of his ability, no matter what.

Rick is first and foremost a creator. He didn’t waste any time after joining the Planned Parenthood team; within his first two years In Control was set into motion. In Control is a teen pregnancy prevention program, and also one of Rick’s most fulfilling accomplishments.

Today, In Control has grown into a thriving community of urban youths and is recognized as “Rochester’s most official teen program.” At In Control, teens have the chance to get involved in something they love, whether it’s fashion, music, or art, and will also receive accurate information about sexuality, abstinence and birth control.

The program site serves as a place where teens can talk openly and honestly about sex and relationships in a supportive atmosphere. There is a strong emphasis on education within the program, as students set goals for themselves, have access to tutoring and are even taken on local and national college tours! The individual programs at In Control are designed to increase self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills among youth, while at the same time uplifting lifting our community as a whole.

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, this place is real, and they know the secret to success; it doesn’t matter what background one comes from, but rather how motivated one is to use the tools they are given. It matters whether or not a role model is present in a teens’ life, not how much money a family has to send them to college. For kids and teens involved in the program, living in an urban community is no longer a disadvantage. They know it doesn’t matter where they are from or what material possessions they have or don’t have, because In Control will meet them where they are - whether it be in their home, on the street or inside the classroom.

This is only a sneak peek into the work that Rick Bartell does for our Community. On a daily basis, he tackles the issue of talking about sexual health from all angles. In fact, if he had one important thing to get across to our society it would be to “not be so repressed when it comes to talking about sexual health.”

When outside of the work environment, Rick enjoys gardening, writing and literature. It’s easy to see why, when he creates and helps to grow so many positive parts of Rochester’s young community

PPRSR Intern

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