For many parents, creating a dialogue about sexual health with their children can be a little daunting. Sexual health educator Kerri Isham, of Parksville, believes that parents are their child’s number one sexual educator and stresses the importance of parents becoming actively involved in educating their children about sexual health and safety.

On Jan. 30, Isham will deliver her presentation “Smart: Right from the Start” at Tansor Elementary School in Duncan (7 to 9 p.m). Designed to help parents create a sexual health dialogue with their children in order to increase abuse resistance, it will also be an interactive forum for parents to ask questions and receive feedback about how to proactively increase their children’s sexual health awareness.

“I start the conversation and then the parents carry it forward,” Isham says. “The more we know and understand, the more information we can share with our young people.” Isham created POWER UP, a sexual health resource for parents and children, after teaching a grade eight health class. “[My] students received 12 hours of sexual health [education]. Attitudes shifted and the students became really comfortable with the material. I knew then that I wanted to teach sexual health full-time.”

The program now features workshops created especially for elementary and high school students as well as parents and seniors. Isham travels across Vancouver Island to provide school districts and community groups alike with fun interactive workshops which increase sexual health awareness.

Isham has also created a media literacy workshop called “Navigating Girl World,” designed to strengthen communication between parents and daughters while also teaching how music videos, movies, and magazines together create an unrealistic standard of beauty. “By exposing media manipulation, girls can feel a sense of empowerment, confidence and connectedness,” she says.

Isham will present “Navigating Girl World” on Feb. 7 at Mountain View Elementary School in Nanaimo (6 to 8 p.m.). To register please contact 250-802-5300 or <stemhop@> Parent participation is required.

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