As the Director of the Statewide Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Prevention Program, Jerome Romero identified the need to involve New Mexico teens in the prevention of FAS and started the FAS Peer Education Program ten years ago. In this program we work with Graduation, Reality and Dual-Role Skills (GRADS), which is an in-school, family and consumer instructional program for pregnant and parenting students. This program focuses on the knowledge and skills related to positive self-image, pregnancy, parenting, and economic independence. Through GRADS, we have given these students the opportunity to become peer educators.
We hold trainings at high schools around the state. The students are trained on FAS and presentation skills. They create their own display boards and PowerPoint presentations, plus they are given materials to use while presenting. During the training the students are required to do a mini-presentation for everyone. Once the students get back to their communities, they are required to do five presentations. They present to middle school students, high school students, and various other groups that would benefit from this knowledge. Last year there were about 200 peer educators from around the state, and those peer educators presented to more than 6,000 students throughout New Mexico. Pre-and post-tests are given to the students to measure how well they learned.