Puberty educators are not born; they are made. This Educator Spotlight features Rachel Ginocchio.
Rachel’s path to becoming a puberty educator began long ago, when she often found herself answering her elementary school classmates’ questions. Her parents had been so open and honest with her, she saw no reason not to pass on the information! She went on to earn a degree in Public Health focusing on maternal and child health, worked in a reproductive health clinic, and did a stint at the National STD Hotline. After raising her own family,
Rachel’s interest in teaching puberty and sexual health was renewed when she was searching for resources for her family to explain the variety of ways babies join families and honor a variety of family structures. When she couldn’t find these resources, she decided to write her own book and formed a company called “Roads to Family” to fill that void. Ever since then, Rachel has been teaching about puberty and inclusive reproduction pathways and family structures so that all adolescents and families will know they belong.
Work with Schools
Since schools in Oregon are required to teach sex education K-12, Rachel has her hands full helping small, mostly private schools plan and teach sex education. She has been a guest educator in elementary, middle, and high schools. She loves to see the “ah-ha” moment when students realize that the changes of puberty are preparing them to make a choice about creating and/or raising a new human being. She encourages students to put on their scientific hats to discover how amazing the human body is, and to understand why all the changes are necessary. Encouraging curiosity, she helps them have a good time as they learn.
Work with Parent & Caregivers
Rachel also offers a workshop titled “Pizza and Puberty” in her community to help adolescents talk with their trusted adults about all the changes they and their peers are experiencing. In groups of about 10-16, kids and adults eat, interact, and have fun while talking about puberty. The goal is to encourage adolescents to talk to their adults and know that any topic that comes up is A-okay.
Wishes for Kids
When I asked Rachel what her wish would be for kids who are going through puberty, she had three wishes:
- For kids to be so curious and knowledgeable that the sense of fear and isolation is removed.
- That adolescents would know they are a completely unique individual with unique changes, but they are not alone. Millions of youths all over the world are also going through puberty and having similar experiences.
- The sooner kids can laugh about the changes of puberty, the sooner they can have fun with it.
If you would like to learn more about Rachel’s work, look up her book titled Roads to Family: All the Ways We Come to Be! It is currently available as a hard copy or e-book; the soft cover edition will come out next year. Or check it out from your local library (you can request they carry it if they don’t already have it).
You can also learn more about Rachel’s work and download free resources at https://roadstofamily.com/
To read more Educator Spotlights, start with the Introduction.