Now in its fifth year, the Health Information Project — HIP, for short — has worked with more than 27,000 high school students in the county teaching them about reproductive health, a mainstay of the health classes of yore, and also about relationships, nutrition, exercise, obesity, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. This school year alone, HIP has partnered with 26 Miami high schools and is teaching more than 15,000 ninth graders about health and relationship issues they would most likely never learn about in school. 

Funded by private and public partners, HIP bills itself as a peer-to-peer club with 600 specially trained juniors and seniors who deliver information to ninth graders in a frank and nonjudgmental way. It’s these peer educators who are the key to the program’s success, Berrin said.