The New Jersey Teen Prevention Education Program (Teen PEP) is a statewide sexual health promotion and peer education initiative that enables high school students to make healthy decisions. Teen PEP is collaboration among the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the Princeton Center for Leadership Training and HiTOPS, Inc. (Health Interested Teens’ Own Program on Sexuality). Additional program sponsors include The Prudential Foundation, The Fund for New Jersey , the New Jersey Department of Human Services and The Horizon Foundation of New Jersey. The program is based on the peer-to-peer education model developed by the Princeton Center and the nationally recognized sexual health curriculum developed by HiTOPS, Inc. The collaborating partners work with interested high schools across New Jersey to institute an alternative or elective sexual health course that is consistent with the core curriculum content standards developed by the New Jersey Department of Education.
A select number of students enroll in a Teen PEP course that is team-taught by trained faculty advisors. In addition to receiving training in the sexual health content of the course, advisor teams also receive training in the use of facilitation skills to enable them to lead discussions that promote thoughtful conversation about issues and allow for self-discovery. The students participating in the course not only learn the course material, but also become a cohesive team of peer educators who are knowledgeable, effective and capable sexual health advocates and role models.
Peer educators are trained to facilitate innovative prevention education workshops that address unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), homophobia reduction, dating violence, date rape, sexual harassment and other sexual health concerns. Workshops are presented to peers, parents and educators in schools and communities and focus on building critical skills such as communication with peers and parents, problem-solving and decision-making, negotiation, refusal skills and self-management.