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Isa Coffey

As a mother of two, a long-time sex educator, and a nurse, I well understand the need to know and trust the adults who teach our children, and especially when the topic is sexuality.

I began formal training in healthcare at 19, when I worked at Womancare Feminist Woman's Health Center, in San Diego, California.  There I learned the skills needed to deliver the full range of basic women's health services.  After moving to New York City, I worked at the Chelsea Women's Health Center, a neighborhood women's community clinic, and later helped develop and run Womancap, a women's cervical cap site in midtown Manhattan.  

During my years in New York City, I attended Hunter College, where I earned a BA in Religious Studies and a BS in Nursing, with top honors for academic accomplishment. Upon graduation, I worked as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.

At Satellite Academy High School, a public alternative high school on Manhattan's Lower East Side, I created a position that included teaching health and sexuality to 9th–12th grade students, and creating and running a small in-school clinic to meet the students' daily health needs.  

Since moving to this area in 2000, I have taught whole-being sexuality classes and workshops to pre-teens, teens, women, and men at local public and private schools, yoga centers, private homes, and in community centers. 

Five years ago, responding to the request for a center for whole-person and whole-community sexuality education, I created WiseBodies, Real Sex Education.  We've had a remarkable five years, with programs regularly expanding to meet the needs of children, teens, parents, and adults. 

To get a real sense of the nature of the work we do here at WiseBodies, I encourage you to read the warm, supportive reflections from middle and high school students, educators, and parents.

And please, be in touch.  WiseBodies believes in - and builds - community.  We at WiseBodies encourage community engagement and welcome your support.


Mae

I walked into my first class at WiseBodies expecting to hate it. I was a freshman in high school, and my mom had signed me up for a sex ed class without my permission, so naturally I was livid. After much protest I agreed to trial run just three classes, with the full intention of dropping out after I'd done my time, and especially before any of my friends discovered that I was voluntarily taking a sex ed class. Instead, I ended up staying for three years. 

The first class I took part in blew my mind, and though it was a difficult new situation, I was compelled by Isa's approach to teaching whole-being sexuality, which was vastly different from the health classes I'd sat through in public school. Growing up on an organic vegetable farm, I have always had an understanding of myself in connection with nature and the earth. What magnetized me to WiseBodies was a method of teaching that understands our bodies and our sexuality as naturally occurring elements of who we are and the earth we live in. In an era where positive, accurate, and nurturing sex education is hard to come by, I feel entirely lucky to be part of the work WiseBodies does.

In the 2015-16 school year I was granted the opportunity to teach a class of 11-14 year old WiseBodies students, who amazed me with their ability to learn, ask thoughtful questions, and go about the work of normalizing sexuality with a level of maturity and knowledge that most adults are not even capable of.

As I continue to learn and teach at WiseBodies, I am brought face to face with the creativity, curiosity, and inclusiveness that is cultivated within this community. In WiseBodies, I found a place to ask the questions I really wanted to know, but never felt safe enough to ask. By teaching here I hope to bring that quality of safeness to our expanding communities, so that others can learn about the nature of their bodies and beings in a supportive environment. 


Lia Friedman

I grew up steeped in conversations about bodies, health, and sexuality. The daughter of a dancer-turned-midwife, I didn’t know until later how lucky I was to learn about anatomy, sex, and sexuality in an accurate, warm, and non-judgmental way. In my late teen years, I began facilitating conversations about gender identity and expression, sexuality, and body image with campers at the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in central Vermont. I began my career as an outdoor educator there, taking groups of adolescents on extended backpacking and canoeing trips.

Since graduating Columbia with a degree in Russian Literature and Culture, my work life has taken me all over the country in different capacities—I’ve worked on farms in the Hudson Valley and from hundreds of cafés as a freelance writer, researcher, translator, and editor. My activist streak has never left me, and I completed internships and fellowships with NARAL Pro-Choice California and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. I remain vocal and passionate about access to medically accurate information and comprehensive healthcare.

Most recently, I worked as a residential ecology educator on the Maine coast. I got to spend my days gazing into tide pools, spying on herons at the salt marsh, and pretending to be a chipmunk in the forest with students from all over New England. As I join the WiseBodies teaching team, I bring my joy in sharing nature with children. I believe that the best learning happens when children are laughing, exploring, playing, helping out, and getting outside. I’ll see you in the woods out back!