Birth Control

MFP Intern Spotlight | Maine Family Planning

Birth Control, Family Planning, Participation, Health Care, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Sex Ed

We asked Laura Parent, an intern on our Prevention team, to reflect on her time at MFP. We were deeply moved by his response and honored to share it with you here. Thank you, Laura, and thank you to all the sexual and reproductive health rock stars out there who are making the world a kinder, healthier place for all of us! #SexEdForAll

Can you share your name, town, school, and graduation date?

Hi! My name is Laura Parent and I am from Manchester, Maine. I graduated from Maranacook High School in 2018, and now I am studying at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and I will finish my undergraduate degree this June, with a graduation date of November!

How did you first get involved with interning at MFP?

I first started as an intern at MFP in 2019 after my first year at Carleton University. I had a friend who used to have a position and sexual and reproductive health are topics I have been interested in since high school because of my personal experiences in health class and accessing sexual health services. I often found myself driving my friends to pharmacies and clinics to access sexual health services, and watching others struggle to gain access to birth control and reproductive healthcare. In fact, my first college roommate recently told me that one of the first things I asked him was “are you on birth control?” So it was a passion of mine from the beginning.

I was a patient at Maine Family Planning before I became an intern, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to participate in providing comprehensive sexuality education and expanding the offering of sexual health services throughout the community and beyond, thus reaching I took Lynette’s and was offered a job! Since then I have been working for Lynette and the Prevention Team.

What has your experience been like working with Lynette, Vicki, and now Maddy over the past few years?

I have enjoyed every minute of working with Lynette, Vicki and most recently Maddy throughout my internship. All three are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, and have clearly made a significant difference in the lives of Maine educators and Maine youth. Not only do I learn a lot from working with them, they are also fun. It’s almost impossible to get through a weekly meeting without laughing. Lynette, Vicki, and Maddy are a dream team and are the main reason this job is so much fun. Having Lynette around means everything is precise down to the smallest detail, Vicki makes sure everything is done thoroughly and with care, and Maddy always brings innovation and creative solutions to the table. All three of them have always been encouraging, open, and receptive to me and my ideas and input even as a young intern with limited experience. They have empowered me to grow as a student, advocate, and person, and I am so grateful.

Can you name some things that surprised you that you learned during this internship? Or are you inspired to learn more?

One of the main things that surprised me about this internship was the reactions of others when I told them what I was doing for work. I’ve gotten a lot of comments and talked to others who say “well that’s too political” or those who try to diminish what MFP does in ways that wouldn’t happen if I said I worked in any other form of health care . For me, these meetings only show that what MFP is doing, and what I have contributed, is important work, and that there is still much work to be done, which gives me personal pride in doing something that Challenges ingrained beliefs and dogmatism so simply telling others what I do for work elicits these kinds of reactions. It also gives me a sense of awe at people like Lynette and Vicki who have been doing this kind of work for years, asking questions and making judgments while still being passionate about what they do. This work is not easy, and can be discouraging at times, but their perseverance and perseverance inspires me. They are my heroes!

Are there any moments or stories that stand out in your memory?

Some of my favorite moments are interacting with mentors and youth. I recently had my first opportunity to help Lynette, Vicki, and Maddy host a webinar, and afterward, one of the educators stayed on the call to complain about how difficult a parent had recently been about her teaching. of sexual health and specific sexual orientation and gender identity. . As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s very meaningful and uplifting for me to see an educator stand up for their students, and say “I’m going to teach this,” making it clear that it’s important, despite receiving backlash from parents.

I also recently hosted a session with Vicki at MYAN [Maine Youth Action Network] Conference for youth about body positivity, and not only was it fun to work with Vicki, the wisdom displayed by the youth attending the session was outstanding, with one student at the end saying that none of us are alone in the desire for change , an idea full of hope that I take with me wherever I go!

What advice would you give to other students interested in sexual and reproductive health and rights?

My advice to other students is to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. There will always be those who will try to undermine your passions and interests, and tell you that you don’t belong in certain conversations, conferences, classes, or positions of power because of them. Find like-minded people, people like Lynette, Vicki, and Maddy who can guide you to get where you want to go and empower you to grow. Don’t be afraid to challenge power, and know that your work matters when you stand up for others and raise others’ voices. Remember that you are not alone in wanting a change! We need you here!

What are your plans after graduation and/or what is your dream job?

I’ve been accepted into a graduate program at the University of Ottawa for Globalization and International Development, so I’ll be going back to school again in the fall after finishing my final undergraduate course this summer. My experience working at Maine Family Planning was so formative that I was hired for a prospective thesis on global public health, specifically reproductive health. I hope to make sexual health and reproductive justice the focus of my career, whether I end up in the nonprofit sector, academia, or the field. I know I want to continue on this journey that MFP started me on in the future.

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