learn / 2016

The Talk Project – Teens leading workshops on sexual violence & culture change

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by National Council of Jewish Women | Los Angeles

NCJW|LA's The Talk Project is a peer-to-peer sexual violence awareness program for and by high school students. Teams of trained Peer Educators lead interactive workshops to create cultural change.


Please describe your project proposal.

The Talk Project is an exciting, brand-new peer-to-peer sexual assault awareness program by and for high school students. In The Talk Project, teams of teen Peer Educators visit LA high schools to lead a workshop on sexual violence, speaking out against harmful behavior, engaging in healthy and consensual relationships, making informed decisions about seeking legal justice if necessary, and creating cultural change.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • College completion
  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

To be the best place to learn, Los Angeles must be a city where all students are safe, respected, and empowered. We need to give students equal access to education. Right now students across the country are reporting that they are being sexually assaulted at epidemic proportions. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18. Students who experience sexual assault drop out of school at high rates while their perpetrators face no consequence. If the program can grow, NCJW LA’s The Talk Project has the ability to be a major vehicle for improvement to fight this gender-related violence epidemic, keep more students in school, and create a supportive, progressive culture in Los Angeles.
The Talk Project is a bold student-driven movement that was created by NCJW LA teen volunteers who felt their schools lacked education on sexual violence. They noticed harmful ideas perpetuated by their peers stemming from rape culture, ideas like “she was asking for it by getting so drunk” and “boys will be boys.” These high school students were inspired by recent activism on college campuses to start organizing to create positive change through education, by taking it upon themselves to change “The Talk” surrounding the issue of sexual violence.
With the support of NCJW LA staff, the teens researched and wrote a script for a workshop they call The Talk Project.

Now, teen volunteers in The Talk Project are trained by other teen leaders to run interactive and engaging workshops for LA high schools and youth groups on understanding the issue, supporting survivors, bystander intervention, how to have healthy, consensual relationships, ways to get help if violence occurs, and advocating for cultural change.

Since its launch February 2016, The Talk Project workshop has been presented for six Los Angeles high schools and one youth group for 1100 students so far. The workshop includes clips from The Hunting Ground documentary on the campus sexual assault movement, and NCJW LA gives schools the option to screen the film in full at a discount.
The issue of sexual violence is heavy and can be taxing to take on. NCJW LA staff works very closely with the volunteers to make sure they are comfortable talking and thinking about the subject matter, and never feel they are alone in this.

The Talk Project has its own website so that students everywhere can educate themselves and take part in the conversation. The site features blog posts, videos, art and more from our student leaders and students from all over are invited to submit. It’s amazing to see student passion fuel a movement of their own creation. Check out changethetalk.org!

With resources and strong support this program can truly take off, and LA teens can continue to use their voices to make Los Angeles a safer, more inclusive, more empowering place to learn.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Effectiveness is measured in an ongoing evaluation. In May 2016, NCJW LA published the first evaluation of The Talk Project which found it to be effective and engaging.
NCJW LA believes that in order to change behavior students need knowledge and a feeling of empowerment. Therefore, The Talk Project strives to educate students on the causes of sexual violence and the laws of consent, and empower them to speak out against sexual violence, engage in healthy sexual relationships, and make informed decisions about seeking legal justice if necessary.
The students at each school or group we visit participate in a survey before and after the presentation. Students who see the workshop take a pre- and post-survey, which are then compared. In addition, NCJW LA conducts interviews with students who have seen the workshop for their feedback.
NCJW LA’s first evaluation found that students from the first three schools who saw The Talk Project reported being significantly less likely to adhere to rape myths, and significantly more likely to practice consent behaviors and intervene as a bystander. Students reported that they found The Talk Project to be understandable and engaging, and said they would recommend The Talk Project to a friend.

The evaluation can be read in full here: http://ncjwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Evaluation_TheTalkProject.pdf and in summary here: http://ncjwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/OneSheet_TheTalkProject.pdf.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research