ICAH strives to produce and perform at the highest quality through its people, products, and programs.
+ Self Care
ICAH promotes holistic awareness and wellness in body, mind, and spirit among employees, youth, board, and constituents.
+ Sex Positivity
ICAH believes that knowledge-informed consensual sex is healthy and should be free of stigma and shame.
ICAH believes that no decisions about youth should be made without them at the table in an authentic partnership.
+ Trauma & Culture Awareness
ICAH operates with humility and awareness of the identities and experiences that may be present at any time.
+ Safe Space
ICAH is committed to creating physically and emotionally safe work and program spaces for people of all identities.
+ Justice Orientation
ICAH uses a critical, intersectional lens of oppression to promote justice for youth and the identities they represent.
ICAH works from existing strengths of people and places to build programs, partnerships, and progress.
ICAH centers the margin by prioritizing the knowledge, opinions, experiences, and leadership of youth.
ICAH makes participatory, data-driven decisions and promotes programs based on evidence of success.
+ Vigor & Rigor
ICAH believes in a balance of energy and passion for the work with structured fidelity and accountability in implementation.
Refined Scope & Priorities
ICAH leads efforts in establishing the Midwest as a leader in the Reproductive Justice movement.
ICAH employs cultural strategies that center pleasure and diverse perspectives to change hearts and minds around adolescent sexuality.
ICAH has mission-driven, actionable alignments with intersecting social justice movements, including racial and economic justice.
ICAH has strong internal infrastructure and capacity.
ICAH ensures youth of all identities have access to youth-friendly healthcare and comprehensive sexuality education.
ICAH builds the knowledge and skills of parents and caregivers to better support youth sexual decision-making.
Theory of Change
ICAH offers sexuality education that meets and exceeds national and state standards. Our approach is medically accurate, developmentally- & age- appropriate, culturally sensitive, trauma-informed, and inclusive of youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Additionally, we provide cutting-edge professional development and technical assistance on sexuality education, healthcare access, and youth-centered organizing efforts throughout Illinois. By providing peer-led education for youth and promoting our youth leaders as experts on their own sexual health education, we aim to position youth and ICAH as the “go-to” resources for public policy decision-makers who impact youth access to valuable and necessary sexual health education. ICAH educates within healthcare, family, and school systems to increase knowledge, shift attitudes & beliefs, mobilize towards action, and build skills, comfort, competency, and self-efficacy.
ICAH believes organized efforts for cultural shifts about young people’s rights and decision-making about their bodies will impact policy and the direct experience they encounter while accessing sexuality education and healthcare. This process involves raising the capacity of both youth AND adults to partner for change. Our organizing strategy includes:
- Disrupting the dominant narrative about youth sexual decision-making by replacing fear and shame with sex-positivity (Reproductive Freedom for ALL Youth)
- Improving programs, policies, and procedures that impact the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth (School Rights for ALL Youth)
- Improving the way people parent, teach, and treat students at home, school, and doctor’s offices (Safe & Affirmed Healthcare for ALL Youth)
In partnership with youth, ICAH advocates for programs, policies, and procedures that promote a positive approach to adolescent sexual health and parenting. By engaging in advocacy at both the individual and systems level, ICAH aims to improve the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth. Individual advocacy focuses on engaging youth and adults in education and organizing to equip them with knowledge of youth rights within healthcare, family, and school systems. Systems advocacy focuses on policy change and practice at the local and national level that directly impacts the health and well-being of young people. ICAH believes advocacy with and on behalf of young people will change policy and young people's experience while accessing sexuality education and healthcare. We use advocacy as a tool to exercise our power and influence global outcomes.
+ SHIFT CULTURE
ICAH understands that cultural problems demand cultural solutions. The reproductive justice movement needs artistry, and it requires the centering of stories that too often go untold. Constant attacks on our movement demand ongoing creative responses. Reproductive health is distinctively plagued with shame and stigma; youth are regularly shamed for their reproductive decisions and curiosities. Arts and culture tools uproot shame by infusing otherwise difficult conversations with pleasure, intuition, and joy. Cultural practice has long been utilized to seduce individuals to movement-building contexts. ICAH builds inventive campaigns and tools to engage people in necessary and transformative conversations. The arts and cultural practice provide new modes of self-expression and multiple pathways for communication with others, allowing participants to explore, expand, and experiment. Artists bring a set of assets to the table that reach beyond the production of plays or paintings. Artists and cultural workers cultivate creative spaces that feel good to be in, even while addressing trauma or injustice. Since ICAH cares as much about how the youth and adults we work with FEEL as much as we care about what they DO, we build creative spaces to support their self and community care.