TORCH was a peer education program that provided historically-accurate, culturally-responsive, trauma-informed comprehensive sexuality education to New York City young people. 

On June 30, 2021, TORCH completed its final year of programming. 

For 25 years, TORCH provided youth-driven community action and fostered strong community partnerships to achieve three main goals:

  • Increase knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice issues among NYC youth by offering accessible comprehensive sexuality education that is medically accurate, sex positive, trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and inclusive of various identities and experiences.
  • Increase positive attitudes towards seeking sexual and reproductive care services
  • Support the next generation of the reproductive justice movement by creating space for youth to develop and refine their autonomy, self-efficiency, comprehension, and leadership skills needed to advocate for their (reproductive) freedom and organize around issues that matter to them.

Key successes of the TORCH Program include:

TORCH Comprehensive Site Program

  • Through this initiative, launched in 2017, we partnered with ReStart Academy and several NYC public schools to offer comprehensive sexuality education to over 100 middle and high school students in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx over a 10-week period during the school year.

Leadership and Community Action (LCA)

  • Through this initiative, also launched in 2017, peer leaders in our program learn the foundations of community organizing and reproductive justice and have the opportunity to put the skills to actions by engaging in project-based assessments throughout the year!
  • In 2017-2018, TORCH peer leaders launched a campaign called Oasis Spaces, where they partnered with local business in Black and Brown communities throughout NYC to create safer spaces for Black and Brown Trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary young people.

City-wide Youth-led Conference

  • In 2019, we hosted our first annual city-wide youth led conference Teach Me, Please Me: Comprehensive Sex Ed through a Reproductive Justice Lens.

“We are empowered by the community connections we made, the safe haven we held for our youth, and the joy we created both within the program and throughout communities across New York City.” – TORCH Team

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