The Power of Peer Education
Since 1996, the National Institute’s TORCH program has provided knowledge and empowerment opportunities for young people in New York City to make informed choices in their lives; helped create a new generation of the pro-choice movement by fostering awareness and activism; offered accurate information to young people about adolescent health issues, including abortion, sexuality, and reproductive rights; and encouraged young people to build self-esteem through community advocacy and leadership training.

TORCH peer leaders undergo a rigorous training program, and then peer leaders share their knowledge with other teens by facilitating workshops around New York City.

We will begin accepting workshop requests again in the fall. Click here to download a PDF version of the TORCH workshops.

For more information, email us at or call 212-343-0114 ext. 3524 to speak to the TORCH staff.

TORCH is a youth-focused program designed to educate people about sexual and reproductive health and rights in New York City. Our peer-led facilitation approach allows us to connect with youth and health care providers in a comprehensive and realistic way. Our mission is to empower young people to make informed choices and lead healthier lives.

How To Request A Workshop

We offer dynamic, interactive and engaging workshops that get teens talking about sex and sexuality.

TORCH® Workshop Guidelines:

  • Workshops begin October 1st and run through the end of the school year.
  • A minimum of 8 participants between the ages of 13-21 is a MANDATORY requirement for TORCH workshops.
  • Each workshop is approximately 1 HOUR.
  • TORCH® Peer Leaders are available Monday- Friday* during after school hours**

*TORCH® Peer Leaders ARE NOT available to do workshops on Tuesdays.

**Workshop request during school hours and on weekends maybe considered.

  • Dates will be set up in the order we receive the request.
  • TORCH requires a staff member from the host organization to be present at ALL workshops and to fill out a workshop evaluation form at the conclusion of the presentation.
  • We strongly recommend that workshops be presented as a series, but each is also available as a stand-alone workshop.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Melissa Toala, Youth Initiatives Coordinator at 212-343-0114, ext. 3524 or email at

Because the best people to teach teens about sensitive topics and making health choices are other trained teens!

Human Sexuality 101

In this workshop, TORCH Peer Leaders facilitate a discussion about sexuality, including decision-making, beliefs and values. We will also discuss various myths

that adolescents may hold about sexuality.

Exploring Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

In this workshop, TORCH Peer Leaders challenge the misconceptions around sexual orientation and gender identity. We will engage the audience in a discussion about forms of discrimination and the reasons to respect and celebrate the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Adolescent Male Sexuality

In this workshop, Peer Leaders explore the rarely discussed topic of male sexuality. Participants will be asked to challenge misconceptions about male sexuality and discuss the ways in which men can negotiate safer sex methods. The male sexuality workshop is recommended for all adolescents.

Use this form to request a workshop.

Self-Esteem and Body Image

In this workshop, Peer Leaders explore self- esteem and body image and its effects on the everyday lives of

adolescents. This workshop also explores why adolescents may feel embarrassed or ashamed about themselves. Finally, we will discuss ways to fight negative images that adolescents face every day.

Healthy Adolescent Relationships

In this workshop, Peer Leaders discuss the various signs of harmful relationships, from emotional and mental abuse to physical and sexual violence. Peer Leaders will also discuss what makes a relationship healthy, emphasizing communication and the identification and application of personal values.

Use this form to request a workshop.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

In this workshop, Peer Leaders provide an overview of sexually transmitted infections, including what they are,

how they are transmitted, where to get tested and treated, and how to practice safer sex.


In this workshop, Peer Leaders provide a thorough overview of all effective contraceptive methods, how to use them, and the pros and cons of each method. This workshop will also include information about emergency contraception and IUDs.


In this workshop, Peer Leaders provide accurate, straightforward answers to many questions adolescents have about abortion. The goal is to create a safe space for learning and discussion, free from judgment, regardless of opinion or experience.

Use this form to request a workshop.

Adolescents and adults don’t always speak the same language when it comes to sexual and reproductive health issues. Sharing sexual and reproductive health problems and questions with adult health care providers can be difficult and embarrassing. TORCH offers multiple strategies to reduce this barrier.

Keeping It Real with Your Doctor

In this workshop, Peer Leaders try to close the communication gap between adolescent patients and health care providers by educating adolescents on their health care rights and empowering them to become proactive, educated health care consumers.

To help reduce this communication barrier between providers and their adolescent patients, we also offer a complimentary workshop to health care providers titled Keeping It Real With Your Patient.

Use this form to request a workshop.

Past TORCH alumni