What is the agency? What is its mandate/purpose/mission?
I did my Community Based Learning Service with the agency Planned Parenthood Regina. The purpose of Planned Parenthood Regina is to increase knowledge about safe sexual health, provide medical services for testing and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections, and distribute contraceptives at a discounted and affordable price for all sexually active persons. One of the missions is to reduce the number of STI’s in Regina area through presentations about sexual health and affordable contraceptives.
Who does the agency serve?
The agency serves all persons who are sexually active or are thinking about becoming sexually active, or would like to learn how to inform others. Whether you would like to participate in a presentation to learn about sex and safe practices or would like to visit the clinic for its medical services is up to the individual and their needs; however, the agency is targeted towards youth.
Why does this agency exist? Why is it needed?
Planned Parenthood Regina exists because people are sexually active and need to have more information about sexual health and the effects it can have on your life. There are also gaps in our healthcare system that do not allow everyone to be able to access these types of services, and in some cases, not all people have a regular doctor.
What societal role does this agency fill?
Planned Parenthood Regina’s role in society is to act as an educational and medical service for the population. They also provide counselling to those who desire this service.
How are the clients perceived by the broader society?
I think that in the past people were quite judgemental of those who use PPR’s services. During my volunteering, I witnessed several occasions where people were not impressed with PPR. I believe this is because there is a widespread misconception about what PPR does. Many people think that this agency performs abortions because of the associations with American Planned Parenthood agencies, but this is untrue. PPR does not perform this medical service; however, if a client would like to choose this option, PPR can offer counselling and a referral to a physician.
Where does this agency ‘do’ its service?
Planned Parenthood Regina is located in a house at 1431 Victoria Avenue, Regina. They also have satellite clinics where they send nurses out to schools and have outreach presentations.
Is the location of the service important?
It is important to the clients that PPR is in a building that was once a house. This makes the idea of going to PPR less scary and uncomfortable. As it is in what was previously a house, PPR has a welcoming atmosphere towards clients when they enter. It does not feel like they have to go to a hospital clinic and wait uncomfortably. In addition, clients can be reassured that passersby often do not realize that the building is PPR because it is in a residential location.
What did you think the agency did prior to your being part of it?
Prior to my volunteering I believed that PPR provided counselling and served as an educational resource for sexual health related topics. I did not realize that they can perform STI testing as well as treatment, nor did I know that they have medical staff available for consultations.
What is the training of the people providing the service?
Planned Parenthood Regina’s staff includes physicians, nurses, receptionists, and staff that is in charge of educational services. The doctors and nurses have the same training as others in their field. The receptionist and educational presenter have special training provided from PPR, but there is no special training required as long as the person seems like a good fit to the agency.
What surprised you about what you learned while being at the agency?
I learned that while some people are open to discussing safe sex practices with representatives of this agency, others are not. I think that those people have the misconception about what PPR does and the benefits it can offer society as a non-profit organization.
What did you learn about the people who access the services that was new for you?
I learned that anyone who is sexually active or thinking about becoming sexually active can use PPR’s services. This includes young teenagers, adults, and teachers or programs who wish to have presentations in their classrooms. One thing that really surprized me is that men use the agency just as much as women do. There seems to be a stigma that only teenage girls need PPR. Also, the clients are every day, normal people who need consultations or information.
How have your ideas/perceptions/thoughts changed due to being part of the agency?
My perceptions about sexual health have changed since being a part of PPR. I thought that most people were aware of safe practices to avoid STI’s, but I have learned that Regina area is not as well informed as I believed. This is shown through the fact that Regina is the chlamydia capital of Canada. I also learned more information about different contraceptives. Now more than ever I think it is important to become educated about sexual health, and I want to be a part of that team as an educational presenter.
How do you see the society in which you live differently after being part of this agency?
I am concerned about how sexual health is taught to young people. I am beginning to think it is a topic that will not be discussed thoroughly if the educator feels uncomfortable. With the rising rates of STI’s in this area I feel that more educators need to become knowledgeable and comfortable with discussing sexual health. Young people have many questions to ask and if they cannot get information from an adult, such as a teacher, then they will find less reliable sources that are more likely to be inaccurate, such as the Internet.
Will there be a time when the services of this agency will not be needed? Why or why not?
I do not believe there will be a time when Planned Parenthood Regina will not be needed. Being sexual active is a normal part of the majority of society’s lifestyle; therefore, education and services regarding sexual health will always be required. PPR is a non-profit organization, and because of this is able to offer contraceptives at their cost. Presentations are an effective way to transmit the educational side to an audience, and as long as people continue to use the clinic and medical services that aspect will survive. This agency would not be needed if there were adequate education regarding safe sexual health in schools, contraceptives that were available and affordable for all people, and access to counselling about pregnancy options. PPR would like to witness this transition happen, and says that while such practices are in motion, it will be a long time before society no longer requires its services.
What does the ‘role’ of this agency, and what it does for the people who access its services, say about how needs are defined? About whose needs get attention? About what is considered necessary to meet those needs?
The role of this agency and the purpose for its clientele reveal that needs are defined as being a healthy and educated person in regards to sexual activity. Any person can be a client and have their needs considered. Many people who are clients simply want to know how to discuss sex with their children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews or other family members. It is considered necessary to meet these needs by becoming aware of sexual health issues, having the ability to purchase contraceptives at a low or no cost, and being able to seek out the advice of a medical professional.