MU grad student teaches safer sex

Saturday, August 9, 2008 | 9:52 p.m. CDT; updated 10:51 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 9, 2008
Akara Ingram, a life skills coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia and a public health graduate student at MU, gives a condom demonstration at the Armory Sports and Community Center on Saturday. Ingram gives presentations and workshops on sexual health, STD transmission and healthy decision-making.

COLUMBIA — Akara Ingram knows the game all too well. She can remember the way her male classmates in high school would attempt to flirt with her, and she incorporates their pick-up lines into her safer-sex presentations where she role-plays with young female students.

"Sometimes I challenge them," said Ingram, a life skills coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of the Columbia Area. "What if your partner didn't want to use protection? So then I'm throwing game to them like I'm a guy. They think its funny, but then they can put themselves in that situation."

Ingram's work is part of her internship for a graduate degree in public health at MU. She was one of 12 other educators selected to work with young adults and parents in break-out sessions and presentations on Friday and Saturday during the Love and Basketball tournament. The event combined basketball with health-focused seminars and workshops for teens on love and healthy relationships. It was organized by the Columbia/Boone County Health Department, Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and the First Ward Ambassadors.

Ingram knows firsthand the challenges on presenting to teens and getting them to open up - maybe for the first time - about issues surrounding sex and dating.

"You have to let them know you don't have to be ashamed about sexuality or to ask questions," Ingram said. "I don't know them, I didn't know their history. That judgment, it wasn't there."

When working with teenagers, Ingram chooses to dress comfortably. White tank top, jean capris and flip-flops help set up a relationship with the teens in which she is on their level and can speak to them like an older cousin or trusted friend.

"I feel I can connect with them," Ingram said. "You have to. I let them know that what goes on in this room stays in this room."

Maureen Coy, health educator for the health department, saw the first Love and Basketball tournament as a successful event for parents and their children to get good health information.

"We got 97 kids today to do something on a weekend, some involved with their parents doing something they might not normally do," Coy said. "They got some good practice with the basketball, and they got good information."

For Ingram, the satisfaction of working with teens and young adults is in the moment of clarity.

"The most rewarding part is that, ‘Wow, I didn't know that,'" Ingram said. "Their eyes literally open, like ‘I didn't think about that.' I'm like , ‘OK, they heard me.'"



Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Ray Shapiro August 15, 2008 | 7:44 p.m.

Youngsters using disposal condoms for disposal go girl!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 16, 2008 | 10:41 a.m.

Safer sex is just not doing it in the first place. Whatever happened to values in our society today first taught in the home by grandparents and parents alike depending on who is raising the children. It seems in our society today parents are leaving the raising of their children to everybody else and not taking on the responsibilities that they should being they had and created these children so should be educating them as well.
Maybe if our society is just going to breed like rabbits we should look at the solution they came up with in China being it is obvious parents cannot or do not care about taking care of and the proper education of their own children and put a limit on the amount of children a married couple can have as well as those just "shacking up".
Yes it is a radical solution but it seems these are radical times we live in.

(Report Comment)
Lane Wilson August 16, 2008 | 1:46 p.m.

Charles, calling abstinence safe sex is like calling watching TV safe water skiing. No one will argue with you that parents should bear some responsibility in educating their children and passing down their values. Why would you argue, then, with supplementing what kids get from their parents with programs offering comprehensive education? Research has clearly shown that abstinence-only education does not work (by the way, comprehensive sex education includes abstinence education). is just one study from the British Medical Journal on high income countries.
Also, I encourage you to explore China's one-child policy and high rate of sex-selective abortion before you publicly endorse it.
Thanks to Akara Ingram for using her time to promote honest education.

(Report Comment)
Ro Sila August 16, 2008 | 4:23 p.m.

to Lane: What on earth makes you think CHARLES cares if they're killing girl babies?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 16, 2008 | 5:42 p.m.

The problem in our country is that parents are not educating their own children but leaving the primary educational values which should begin in their own homes up to others who may not even have a clue either or are often times worse than the parents of those children themselves.
Ok lets just make more babies to not be taken care of or educated properly by their non caring parents who created them to begin with only to eventually push them off onto others to raise for them instead of taking on the responsibilities they should be in the first place which in turn not only contributes to an already over burdened health care system but an already over burdened school system as well. Ok you oh so bright and inspiring young and responsible adults who are reading and commenting here what do you suggest that will actually work? Get mad all you want at me but you really should be mad as hell about a society that condones the types of parents described above.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 16, 2008 | 7:02 p.m.

Government programs that pay women to have babies out of wedlock only encourage more babies and undermine family values and restraint. The media, including "gangsta" rap, also serves to encourage women to become nothing more than objects and breeders. It's good to read blogs that address the
need for birth control and discourages promiscuity.
If people can't regulate themselves, then maybe we should call in the reproduction police. Ignorance about good relationships is no excuse for minors
participating in hormonally induced copulations with multiple partners over short periods of time. Think of how your life would be if you were 15 years old and had one-night stands every day until you figured it out at 16. I like what you wrote Chuck. It is a drain on our system. You da man.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 16, 2008 | 7:13 p.m.

Thanks ray and it is sad what our society has become but it is a fact our younger generation needs to face up to and do something about as the "old guard" passes on into the twilight of years the next generation must step up and uphold the standards or our society in all honesty is just doomed to further failure.
It is those "straight shooters" like you and I ray and others who post on these type blogs,sites and forum boards who keep things into real perspective instead of like those looking through those "rose colored glasses" they choose to.
Hey if people cannot be responsible enough to look out for themselves and their fellow citizens then yes the "reproduction police" or whatever police should step in as our society is totally out of control.
I'm not talking neo fascist type of regimental martial law but something must be said and done to get this through people's thick skulls.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.