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About Us

The Talk Institute, home of the 'Talking THE TALK Together' curriculum, is located in the Palm Springs area and services Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino Counties in Southern California. Our mission is to build and support open communication between parents and their children while growing up. We are committed to providing factual, age-appropriate information about growing up in a fun, group environment. We focus on important life skills typically left out of traditional, public education such as social skills development, fostering healthy relationships, good communication skills, sexual and reproductive knowledge, and other healthy living topics. Our goal is to create a bond between parents and their children so that children see their parents as approachable, and grow up to be healthy and productive adolescents and adults.

Jennifer Barber, Executive Director

Jennifer Elledge (Barber), MPH, CHES
Executive Director & Founder

The Talk Institute was founded by Jennifer Elledge (Barber), in an effort to assist parents with the growing need of communicating with their children about difficult to discuss topics. As many of the rest of us growing up, she struggled with communicating with her own parents about uncomfortable topics, especially sex. She has since had an interest in teen pregnancy prevention, and has found that one of the strongest protective factors in preventing teen pregnancy is a strong parent/child relationship, key to what makes The Talk Institute's programs so effective and rewarding for families. Additional programs have since been added at the request of participants including programs on friendship, self-esteem and body image, manners/etiquette, bullying, internet safety, and media.

Jennifer's education background includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Public Health. She has taught Human Sexuality and Women and their Bodies part-time at two local colleges and has been in the field of youth development and sex education for over 15 years. She has worked as a Teen Counselor, Outreach Educator, and Adolescent Health Coordinator for multiple community clinics. In addition, she has worked with diverse populations ranging from homeless and under-privileged youth, autistic and special needs populations, abused and neglected children, elementary through college students, to sexual assault victims. She has stayed active in the community by volunteering as a troop leader for Girl Scouts of America, serving on education committees and substituting for the local school district, participating in teen pregnancy coalitions, and serving as a volunteer regional board member for Teen Now California. She has also studied sex education internationally in the Netherlands, Germany, and France, where the teen pregnancy, birth, and STD rates are up to nine times lower than in the United States. With her diverse experience working in the fields of youth development and sex education, she has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share with families and has developed curricula that helps parents and children discuss sexuality as well as many other important life topics.

Curriculum can be tailored to many diverse needs and customized programs are available per your request. Click here to learn more about all of our course offerings.

Professional Memberships and Organizations


I recently worked with Jennifer from The Talk Institute to run a class on puberty and sexuality for boys at my clinic. While Jennifer is new at working with students in the field of autism, she was diligent about reading and researching about students, and worked to adjust her curriculum to match the needs of the students and their families. Her hands-on, practical approach to teach, including the use of visuals, repetition, games and videos proved to be quite effective. Jennifer is clearly dedicated to her profession, supporting and enriching the lives of students. Her unique education and experience brings a professional touch to her program, matched with her matter-of-fact and kind approach. I highly recommend her as part of your child’s sex education program.
-- Kelly McKinnon, MA, BCBA

Topic: Brilliant Parenting
For all of you thinking about using this program I will tell you it was one of the best parenting decisions we have made. The bond that Jennifer has helped create between my self and my daughter is a true blessing. Not to mention the bond between students in the class. Jennifer has taught us how to trust each other and communicate is a positive way without being uncomfortable or embarrassed. Jennifer is amazing and we continue to grateful two years after we completed her program.
-- Kingston Family

Thanks so much again for the great class for the girls. They loved it as usual and think you are the "Queen Bee"... What I've heard from them is that Jennifer is sooo pretty, and sooo funny, and soooo nice, and soooo smart. And you know how all the moms feel....you've been quite a blessing to have you guide us through this journey.
-- Julie Sullivan

Topic: Talking the Talk
In talking with my sister-in-law several years ago, she told me about a great program where you have an instructor come to your home to teach the content of the courses offered. We formed a class and my daughter started this program with a group of her friends and mothers when they were 9 yrs. old. They had a lot of questions about body image/changes and some things they had been hearing on the playground, TV, movies and some other kids at school. We started two years ago with Jennifer teaching our class and have continually had follow-up classes with her talking with the girls about new issues in their lives. She is a fantastic mentor to our girls!!! Jennifer has stories she shares about her life and the girls are so willing to listen and speak to her about these difficult topics. I tell everyone with pre-adolescent children about this course and highly recommend it to reconnect with your child
on a whole different level.
-- Julie Sullivan

We much enjoyed 'The Talk' and my son and I had more detailed discussions. He is also communicating with my wife (his mother) much more openly than before and responds well to the presented explanations. My wife had signed me and Kurt up based on the flyer Kurt brought home. I was maybe a bit suspicious at first, not knowing in which direction you would eventually lead. As the classes went on I (we) became more and more comfortable with the topics and the way you had approached them. I especially noticed the slight emphasis on holding off, abstinence, maturity,and commitment. I equally much appreciated the absence of 'experimenting', cucumbers, and other aids that can so easily derail a course. While we are watchful to see how our son will develop. We also have a ten year old daughter who will be needing this exposure soon too. For her I have an additional qualification step for any potential 'boyfriends'.
-- Chris Walti

Topic :  The Talk Class
I would encourage every parent of a teenager to take this class. It was fun and informative. Jennifer really got the point across about STD's and how prevalent they are among teens. Something I found eye-opening and something that I think the kids found kind of "scary." The kids learned how to protect themselves if and when they have sex. Abstinence was really stressed in this class. Jennifer really is great at what she does and I think is someone the kids can relate to. After taking this class, I feel confident that my daughter and I can comfortably talk about sex or anything else on her mind. Thanks Jennifer!
-- Diane Stein



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