Red Legacy Recovery to teach sexuality, gender in weekly program

For many, puberty can be a confusing, disorienting and outright messy experience, and that is even assuming the child knows anything about what is happening in the first place.

Red Legacy Recovery has been teaching classes to its 7th through 12th grade members since January 9, but now, the center is expanding their reach by offering the same classes to the greater Elizabethton community.

Samantha Loveday, director of the center, said the program is called Our Whole Lives.

“We explore all things sexuality,” Loveday said. “We talk about anatomy, body image and gender identity.”

She said the 25-week program teaches the details of sexuality and gender, with a particular focus on the LGBTQ community, describing the curriculum as “broad and inclusive.”

She said this kind of education was crucial to developing a positive sense of self-worth in young adults.

“If you have a positive image of yourself, you are less likely to be a substance abuser,” she said.

In addition to furthering the center’s objectives as a recovery center, however, Loveday also said the program serves to better the community’s perceptions of other people as well.

“We want everyone to love one another,” Loveday said. “We want them to be OK with their sexuality and gender.”

The classes start with a lecture-based workshop followed by a Q&A session about the day’s topic. After that, there is another workshop and then often a craft project.

One week, Loveday said the students used their recent knowledge of sexual anatomy to create models of a penis and vagina.

She said the classes have had a positive reception from the members since they started, saying the classes are something missing in the community.

“This is something Carter County does not do,” Loveday said. “We want to help everyone love the individuals people are.”

She said educating young adults about this material is important because those with questions are more likely to ask another child for advice and answers than an adult.

“We want the youth in our community to be a strong foundation,” she said.

In order for an applicable child to participate in the program, Red Legacy Recovery will host a required parent meeting on January 30 for about two hours.

Classes will begin on February 6 at the Red Legacy Recovery building at 210 South Hills Drive. Loveday said the classes are free to anyone who wants to participate.

“The youth and our clients will always be separate,” she said.

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