I love my work. There is no other reason for me to take such incredibly poor pay for the extensive time and energy I put into it. Sadly this is the case for most sexuality educators. While I wish we were all paid a living wage, we simply are not.
In a similar vein, I wish I had unlimited resources where I could point parents, children, teenagers, college students, grandparents and everyone else. But I don’t. What I do have is a relatively small arsenal of books and websites that I think are worth of a whole-hearted endorsement. One of those books is S.E.X: the all-you-need-to-know progressive sexuality guide to get you through high school and college and one of those website is Scarleteen.com.
This month Heather Corinna is holding her annual fundraising event for Scarleteen.com, and is delighted to have a donor who will match up to $350 per donor or $3,000 total donated between now and March 15th AND is working through a non-profit, so your donations will be tax-deductible.
So please donate to this highly worthy cause of keeping Heather in the black personally as a major thanks for all her hard work and dedication to comprehensive sexuality over the last ten years, and keeping Scarleteen available online as a major resource of good information about sex.
Here’s what Heather says about this fundraiser on her blog, and in her own words:
To give you an idea of how we utilize donations, I’d like to briefly fill you in on where we stand with Scarleteen right now, what we accomplished in 2008, and what we have in the works for the future!
Most weeks, Scarleteen remains the top-ranked site for young adult sexuality education on the internet. Our information, support and advocacy continues to serve many young people all over the world.
- We rank in the upper 25,000 of all sites online internationally
- We consistently rank in the top 11,000 – 12,000 of all sites in the United States
- 65 million page loads have occurred at the site from users since 2006
- We now have over 40,000 active message board users
We currently have around 20 active volunteers, and in the last year, have added more content to the site than we have in any other year prior. We have been able to sustain and add to the most basic information, but have also been able to keep widening our scope so that on top of having information on topics like sexual anatomy, contraception and safer sex, we have a good deal of information which is tougher for young people to find on such topics as gender identity, body image, rape and abuse, more subtle or sophisticated sexuality issues, feminist approaches to sexuality and the body and relationship modeling and management.
One of the tricky parts about financing Scarleteen is that while our traffic is incredibly high, the vast majority of it comes from users who either do not have their own income, or who do not have checking accounts or credit cards with which to make donations. We usually average just one donation per every 500,000 users. That’s one reason why your help is so important: support that comes from those who can give — like past users of Scarleteen who are now adults, or parents, educators, mentors and other adult allies — is what helps provide our services for those who cannot. It’s also why a site like Scarleteen is so important. Due to both age and financial limitations (as well as concerns about safety — particularly for GLBT youth — or privacy), often young adults are also without the resources to purchase good books or access quality counseling and support services and our free, easily accessible information and support is a godsend for many of them.
Want an idea about how some of our users feel Scarleteen has been a help to them? Take a look at some of their emails to us here. You can also have a peek here to see some of the media coverage Scarleteen has gotten in the past, and peek over here to get a better idea of why we do what we do.
If you haven’t kept up, here are a few pieces we added to the site in 2008 and 2009 to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to:
- Genderpalooza! A Sex & Gender Primer
- How You Guys — that’s right, you GUYS — Can Prevent Rape
- Birth Control Bingo
- Shown Actual Size: A Penis Shape & Size Lowdown
- Give’em Some Lip: Labia That Clearly Ain’t Minor
- Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault
- I, Being Born Woman and Suppressed
- Be a Blabbermouth! The Whys, Whats and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
- Let’s Get Metaphysical: The Etiquette of Entry
We have also had a handful of great first-person pieces added from users or volunteers in our In Your Own Words section. Our voting guide last year helped many users of voting age to find clear, balanced information about the Presidential candidates to best inform (and motivate!) their vote. Our archive of direct, in-depth advice to users who write in with questions is extensive. Lastly, our message boards, which we rolled out in the year 2000, continue to be busy, actively moderated and a place of bustling, supportive conversation (as well as a way to help users manage crises quickly) at a level many teens do not have other opportunities to engage in when it comes to such loaded subjects.
Scarleteen is also in the process of organizing a Teen Talking Circle through the site in an online format. For information on Teen Talking Circles, see: http://www.teentalkingcircles.org/
With your support we can sustain the pace we have set for ourselves as well as be able at last to do some things we have wanted and have seen the need for, for some time. They include:
- Creating and distributing outreach print materials for schools, clinics and community groups, based on content like our popular Sex Readiness Checklist, our anatomy articles, and our pieces on abuse, gender identity and sexual orientation.
- Providing our volunteer staff extra training. In the next year, we’d like to get a few of our staff trained or certified in either or both pregnancy options counseling and/or basic sex education.
- Stipends for some of our volunteer writers and columnists, which will both sustain a quality of content and allow us to keep up with the frequency of updates we have had in the last year. Paying writers also can nurture a greater diversity of voice and content.
- Maintaining a part-time freelance developer to help us best manage and maintain the site for optimum useability.
- A part-time, in-person assistant for myself as director.
In 2008, we were able to cover the basic overhead expenses of the site, and to do some travel for in-person book promotion, education and outreach. I was able to acquire needed computer/equipment updates for the organization, and have been able to pay our bills easily. We have also been able to donate many copies of the book to young people and youth advocacy organizations. We have also begun to establish a lending library for our volunteers so help them further and sustain their education on the issues we address at Scarleteen.
To let you know where I stand as director, I am very much looking forward to what we can do in our second decade. When I founded Scarleteen in 1998, I could not find any other viable resources online for young adult sex education and information, and perceived a strong need by youth for something like this. I also had a vision of sex education, having previously been both a teacher and a student in alternative education models before, that was considerably different than so much of what sex ed had been. Our supporters have put great faith and trust in my vision of the organization and sex ed as a whole, and I hope I can continue to inspire that faith and trust as we continue to grow and evolve.
I’ve had time to reflect on where we have come from and where we need to go. Towards that end I would like to continue to give my time, vision and dedication, as the sole full-time employee at Scarleteen, and to also increase my yearly salary to $20,000 (last year I took around 16K before taxes). As anyone who does work or has worked in non-profit knows, it’s hardly a place for the world’s best pay, however, as director of a large organization with ten years of operation, I feel, if possible, my salary should reflect the gravity of my position and the amount of my time and efforts a bit better.
Many of our supporters have been so exuberant and effective in drumming up support from others through the years, and that’s been an enormous help. Whether or not you can help with a donation right now, you can always help by getting the word out, both about Scarleteen as a whole, and about fundraising drives like this one.
If you’re able to donate, you have my deepest thanks. I know that these are not the best times for fiscally supporting anything save oneself, so I doubly appreciate what support you may be able to give. Donations of any size — and general support are so critical in providing support for those who need it and have helped us to thrive and survive. I cannot thank you for any of your support enough, both on behalf of all of the young people who remain able to access such needed information and support, and on my own behalf. Doing the work I do with Scarleteen has been, in so many ways, my dream job and my life’s work and I am so blessed to have that opportunity and to be able to continue to do it with your help.
Here’s that information on how to help out once more:
From February 14th through March 15th, one of our regular donors has agreed to match funds we receive in that month, up to $350 per donor, and/or up to $3,000 total.
- You can donate online with you credit card or PayPal account by clicking here, OR
- You can donate by check or money order, made out to Scarleteen, and mail to: 1752 NW Market St. #627, Seattle, WA, 98107 OR
- If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible you can donate by check or money order by making your cheque out to The Center for Sex and Culture, and writing “Scarleteen” in the memo. They will send you a written acknowledgment of your donation for tax purposes, and will send us any donations made to them on our behalf. Those donations should be mailed to: The Center for Sex and Culture, c/o Carol Queen, 2215-R Market Street PMB 455, San Francisco, CA 94114.
In peace and with pleasure,
Heather Corinna, Founder & Director, Scarleteen