PathPoint, a Southern California nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities reach their full potential, hosted its first annual SHARE (Sexual Health Awareness and Relationship Education) event on Thursday, June 19. This inclusive event’s purpose was to educate the disability community on all aspects of sexuality and what it means to be in a healthy relationship.
Sexual relations and education for people with developmental disabilities has been a widely ignored subject, which has put the disabled community at a greater risk for sexual abuse, victimization, and sexually transmitted diseases. The event, held at PathPoint’s Laguna Street offices, was organized around booths offering information and guidance from Child Abuse Listening Mediation, Domestic Violence Solutions, Independent Living Resource Center, Santa Barbara Health and Promotion Program, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, Pacific Pride, SART, and UCSB Women, Gender & Sexual Equality Program. An informative presentation by Planned Parenthood held later in the day saw every seat filled. Attendees learned the importance of healthy relationships, using protection, and engaging in appropriate sexual behavior.
Alana Walczak, a vice president and director with PathPoint, deemed the event a success: “I’m so proud of the turnout and the event coming together to offer the adults we serve the opportunity to educate themselves on this topic.” Her goal is for the event to become an annual one. “We hope this is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation,” says Walczak.
PathPoint began serving the Santa Barbara community in 1964 and since has grown to cover nearly all of Southern California. Its mission is to pave the way toward employment and independence for those with developmental disabilities. Each year over 2,350 people are helped through the support, resources and guidance offerred by PathPoint, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this October.