Ethan Morelion, a sophomore at Brown University, is a student leader providing valuable access to sexual education and disease prevention for Providence youth.Through a Swearer Center student group (SHAPE), which works with Planned Parenthood, Ethan builds more equitable futures for students in under-resourced Providence schools by providing them with access to accurate and frank sexuality education. For the last two years, as one of Brown's Bonner Community Fellows, Ethan has worked closely with community partners to develop engaging curricula, facilitate in-class workshops, and serve as a near-peer resource for Providence teenagers who otherwise might not have access to sexuality education.
Ethan's approach to social justice is rooted in providing young people with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, health, and their own sexuality so they can build bright futures for themselves. Ethan's service is informed by his experience growing up in an area where access to reproductive health care has been restricted and attacked, inspiring him to bring communities together through political organization to provide education and access. By collaborating closely with community agencies, school administrators, and young people, Ethan serves as a powerful role model for ways that university-community collaborations can address public challenges.
Coming from West Texas, an area where access to reproductive health care has been restricted and attacked, I have seen the impact that a lack of sexual health education and access can have. Seeing people not have the resources to care for themselves, their children, and their futures has inspired me to stand up for these rights. As a result, I found ways to bring my community together through a political organization and put pressure on public officials to hear their voices. Coming from Texas to Rhode Island, I have engaged with communities at Brown University through the Swearer Center for Public Service's Sexual Health Advocacy Peer Education (SHAPE). Through SHAPE, I educate low-income students at alternative high schools in Providence, Rhode Island about sexual health, well-being, reproductive politics, and healthy relationships. I develop curricula, facilitate discussions, and conduct policy research to improve sexual health education standards for Providence and the greater Rhode Island community. I firmly believe sexual health education can be powerful -- and even life saving. Providing young people the tools to make informed decisions about themselves, and their relationships can yield life changing results and I hope to help create those changes.