Family Pact is a great program that promotes sexual health for young students in and out of our campus. Since there has been easier access to this program, there has been a considerable drop in unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and STI’s.
College can be such an eventful time in a person’s life that it is very easy to be swept away in all of the fun and chaos and be exposed to factors that have the potential to affect or even inflict some type of permanent damage to their lives.
It is imperative that students be aware of the resources available to them; especially since these resources, like Family Pact, are free of charge.
According to CSUSB’s family pact website, “The Family PACT program is a State program that provides clinical services for family planning at no cost to eligible California residents. After enrolling in Family PACT, students will receive a teal Health Access Program (HAP) card, which can be used at any provider that offers Family PACT in California.”
Family Pact is promoted by many of the staff and health educators on campus to students as early on as high school. High school students and incoming Freshmen will come in exposed to some of the potential benefits they can receive from the Health Center.
Many incoming students are provided with information on sexual education and birth control as soon as they arrive, such as CSUSB student Julissa Corona.
“I was informed about Family Pact about two years ago in my Freshman year at orientation. The condom lady held like a little event where she informed us about the Health Center, all the benefits–everything about it!” Corona said.
There are health specialists and educators that will go out of their way to make sure their students are informed and taking advantage of Family Pact. Most students do not have access to these resources out of campus or may even need to keep this confidential from family members.
“My parents aren’t exactly ecstatic talking about sexual health, especially in my situation being gay and all. But having this resource given to us on a silver platter makes being safe so much easier,” Aron Vazquez, CSUSB student, said.
For many students, it can be difficult to feel comfortable talking about their sexual health or receiving the proper knowledge. However, sometimes it takes a friendly, familiar face to put them at ease and usually that face belongs to Judi Cruz, health educator also known as the Condom Lady.
“They call me the Condom Lady because, well, I pass out condoms,” Cruz said, “It kind of started with doing Soar and orientations and doing a program called ‘Let’s talk about Sex’. We would give goody bags in October with candies and condoms. The idea was to promote safe sex. Students wouldn’t know my name yet so they knew me as the Condom Lady, I think of it as kind of a term of endearment.”
Students everywhere know about the Condom Lady. Many have gotten their information or even just condoms from her specifically. Judi Cruz has worked hard to get students educated on sexual health and get the Family Pact name out there.
She feels that Family Pact has made a significant impact on students’ sexual health not only on this Campus, but the County of San Bernardino as well.
“San Bernardino itself, this county, is a hotbed for Chlamydia. We have one of the highest rates in the nation of chlamydia,” Cruz said, “You can look on the CDC website and see the demographics of students aged 19-24 years old in the San Bernardino county have the highest rates.”
Family Pact makes it easier to have access to information on STI’s and how to prevent them. It even offers free testing for just about and STI or STD there is; most of which you can test for right there on campus.
Students like Aron Vazquez explain how relieving it is to be able to get tested on campus, “I recently got tested for STD’s, thank God it came back negative, but without this [resource], it wouldn’t have been so easy to just get tested and have that piece of mind that I’m good.”
There won’t be any specific programs coming up in the year for Family Pact, but Cruz explains that there will be days where students can come grab supplies and receive information and that she will be at events to provide support.
“ I’ll be out at Late Night, I go to the larger events, and I’ll be carrying a backpack with condoms in it and students will see me, the Condom Lady,” Cruz said, “I give out condoms to the students just to make sure because with those kind of late events, people can get a little wild; and you know, anything happens–these are young folks!”