Olivia Loneman Meyer graduated from Widener University with an M.Ed in Human Sexuality Education on the Education track in 2016. She is currently putting her degree to work as a Prevention & Training Coordinator at New Beginnings in Lewiston, Maine. This organization serves homeless and at-risk youth who are in crisis. New Beginnings operates several programs including a 24-hour emergency shelter, a transitional living program, community and outreach services and HIV prevention education, research, and professional training.
In this position, Olivia meets individually with young people for one-on-one counseling interviews to discuss various harm reduction strategies and reproductive health issues. She also holds group education sessions addressing HIV, STI, and pregnancy prevention, as well as general health, wellness, and well-being through a trauma-informed lens. In partnership with the Maine Department of Education and Maine Family Planning, she organizes and provides training workshops for alternative school teachers, health professionals, sexuality educators, social workers, and youth agency staff from Maine who serve high-risk youth. Olivia reported that the culturally competent, cross-cultural trauma-informed teaching methods that she learned in Widener’s program prepared her to work with at-risk youth, which is absolutely essential to the work she is doing now.
The biggest piece of advice that Olivia would like to offer to new graduates is to be creative in your job search. Students may need to look at what they could turn a position into, rather than taking what the organization is looking for at face value. The reproductive health and options counseling that Olivia does in her current role at New Beginnings was not a part of the services offered before she began there, and they were very excited that she wanted to introduce this as a service available to youth. Although Olivia loved living in Philadelphia, she came to realize that in order to follow her sexological dreams, she would need to relocate. That being said, she advised that students explore relocation and broaden their job hunt radius if it is possible to do so.
Additionally, Olivia would like to share that she thinks the Widener Center for Human Sexuality Studies is amazing! She enthused: “My time there was precious, and I cherish the connections I made with the fabulous people who are changing the world. Stay in contact with your colleagues and professors: both as professional connections and professional and personal support. You’ve all been through something difficult and amazing together, treat that bond with care and don’t let it fade.”
For more information on New Beginnings, visit their homepage through the link below!