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Your child was taught WHAT?

Will the youth of Iowa be left without vital information to avoid ‘needing an abortion’?

Iowa Right to Life has great news in their recent letter. “The four Pro-Life measures before the House, sent over to the Senate will limit abortion in Iowa.”

This is great news for the many thousands of yet to be born children and teens;

However is the best sex education being taught in our schools?

Iowa’s current laws on this subject emphasize the need to teach children about the various methods of reducing the risk of pregnancy and SDIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). In the Human Sexuality Components of the Human Growth and Development for life skills education in our schools we need laws changed to enforce the teachings of the truth of the efficacy of these risk reduction methods. We also need laws that promote the teaching of how to totally avoid these risks.

Our current sexual education laws reflect the false but popular philosophy of the normalization of teens having sex because of the belief that most teens are engaged in sexual intimacy. This falsified philosophy has led to the idea that youth must be taught to reduce their risks; Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) education, also known as comprehensive sex education. The children of Iowa desperately need Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education also known as abstinence until marriage education. SRR education emphasizes the use of latex barrier prophylactics.

SRA education is the primary prevention education model. SRA education incorporates the ‘whole person’. Intimate relations result in consequences, positive and negative, to the whole human being. SRA lessons promote abstinence as the very best way of avoiding all negative consequences of sexual intimacy until marriage. These lessons incorporate the benefits of waiting until marriage, making wise choices concerning friendships, group dynamics, personal health, character development, avoiding violence and habit forming activities, how to deal with past and present childhood negative episodes, and  making future educational goals.

For the past eight years proponents of SRR education have misused the laws of Iowa to claim that it is unlawful to teach Equipping Youth’s curriculum, Powerful Choices or any curriculum that teaches youth to choose ‘abstinence only’. Although this is false according to the law, 279.50, 10 and 11, most schools in Iowa have discontinued their lessons that had made a huge difference for the health of our youth. From the late 1990 until 2010 many school districts in Iowa taught abstinence to their students.  Iowa Vital Statistics showed that in 2010 our Iowa birth rate and abortion rate of unmarried teens dramatically fell to unprecedented levels. At the same time the Iowa Youth Behavior Surveys showed that much less than half of our youth ever had engaged in sexual activities. Currently these same statistics are showing a rapid increase. Iowa Public Health data is also showing an increase of the incidence of STIs among our youth.

Will you please challenge your legislators in Des Moines to go another step toward fulfilling the desperate needs of our children? Ask them to review the Human Sexuality Components of the Human Growth and Development requirements for education. They could start in sections 256 and 279. Ask them to review similar laws in states such as Georgia and Wisconsin for improvement ideas for our Iowa laws.

Your donations make it possible for us to remain available to the youth of our communities.

May God bless you and yours!

For the Staff and Board of Equipping Youth          Ruth Anne

Have You Had ‘The Prom Talk’ With Your Teen?
With spring comes the anticipation of prom season for thousands of teens. Formal attire is purchased, hair appointments are scheduled and arrangements to take pictures at a unique location are made in preparation for the big day. Amidst all the excitement, do not lose the opportunity to talk to your teen about the pressures they may face on prom night. Pressure to engage in sexual activity and participate in substance abuse is high. That being said, building up your teen’s self-esteem prior to prom and having a conversation with them about the choices they may face is important.
Ask your teen…
  • “What will you be doing after from?”
  • “Who will you be with after prom?”
  • “How can you mentally prepare for unexpected situations that may arise?”
Tell your teen…
  • “If you find yourself in a situation that is uncomfortable, do not hesitate to call someone (mother, father or sibling) and we will pick you up.”
  • “It does not matter how much money your date may have spent on your ticket and corsage, you do not owe them anything. They have the privilege of taking you on a date. It is ok to say no.”
At the end of the day your teen needs to know that they are loved and that they have a choice. The need to know that not everyone is ‘doing it’ and that you believe they have the ability to go against what culture says and say ‘no’.


Here’s some insight to the new Digital Dating World from Focus on the Family   31 March 2017


Dating in a Digital World

Part of the Teen Romance Series
A group of 10 teens sitting around a picnic table and smiling

My daughter dates by spending hours texting with a guy,” my friend told me the other day. “I’ve never met him, and I don’t know what they do online, but it makes me uncomfortable.” This friend expressed the same confusion and concern that many parents experience about the teen dating scene.

Today, dating means something completely different from a girl waiting by the phone for a boy to call and ask her out. A mom told me, “I was stunned to learn that dating for my daughter meant Facebook chatting with a guy in her class and changing her status to ‘in a relationship.’ ”

However teens define it, more than half of U.S. teens date regularly (casual, nonexclusive) and a third have a steady (exclusive) dating relationship. Their dating landscape has changed from those of previous generations because of the inclusion of social media and texting and the influence of a young-adult hook-up culture that fast-forwards to casual sex.

So how do we help guide our teens toward healthy, God-honoring relationships? By combining the best of modern and traditional approaches.

Make use of today’s customs

Not all modern dating trends are unhealthy. Thanks to a modern tribal mentality, teens are more comfortable getting to know each other in group settings — and often dating in groups. This makes it easier for a love interest to be vetted by friends and for teens to hold each other accountable. Obviously, peer pressure can go in a negative direction, but this lessens when we get to know the individuals in their group. As our teens become attracted to someone, we can ask their friends to help be a gauge for whether our teens are remaining true to who they are or changing their personality to fit with their love interest.

Discuss social media

For those teens allowed to use age-appropriate social media, parents and teens can quickly learn about people’s character and values based on what they post on their social media. These searches can be used to start discussions about the qualities of a future mate and what teens are looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Monitor texts

Texting, though not the ideal form of social communication, has a positive side. It allows teens to spend time getting to know each other apart from the physical side of a relationship. Although unmonitored technology could lead to sexting and compromising selfies, parents shouldn’t fear this form of communication if they’re willing to set boundaries.

Don’t forget the past

As strict and “old fashioned” as previous generations may seem, their culture upheld clear moral standards. For instance, an unmarried girl could never be alone with a boy in her bedroom (or anywhere in the house), and teens had curfews. They needed to let their parents know where they were going and what they were doing — and with whom. These boundaries were set up to protect teens from temptation, undue harm and shame. The same boundaries can help keep modern teens’ actions in check and safeguard their hearts, minds and bodies from regret and hurt.

Put it all together

Parents really can harness the best of today’s and yesteryear’s customs. We can encourage group activities, but also require that we meet each “friend” face to face. As we establish reasonable curfews, we can require them to tell us where they are and help them set personal boundaries. We also need to extend those boundaries into any social media and texting we allow them to have.

Setting boundaries, though, isn’t a one-time deal. It’s important that we keep the dialogue open so we can help our teens understand the why behind every rule and patiently work through their concerns with them.

Our teens aren’t really that much different from teens of past generations. Just like we once were, they’re apt to be confused about how to deal with the opposite sex. Parents Bryan and Hayley have helped their teens by creating a “safe zone” during the dinner hour. They have open discussions with their three teens about sex, relationships and the importance of giving and receiving respect and honor. This safe zone, where anything can be talked about, helps teens navigate their changing world.

Teens need someone to listen to them, love them and walk with them through the process of establishing healthy relationships. What a wonderful lifelong gift we give our teens when we become that someone for them.

Your Teen and the STD Nobody is Talking About

31 March 2017


Text from the Abstinence Clearinghouse article:

I am often asked to speak about sex to high school students. Many adults shudder at the thought of talking to kids about sex, but I love it. First, I have a captive audience, and second, I get to talk about two things that I am very passionate about: the dangers of teen sex and the joys of sex in marriage. Many adults worry that kids will be too shy to ask questions but on the contrary, I have found them eager to have ever their questions answered in an honest, upbeat manner.

I do not take the topic of teens and sex lightly. I have seen the pain of STDs in 13- and 14-year-old children in my office along with other serious health issues caused by sex.

Most people are aware of the physical repercussions of sex:

  • We now have 35 known STDs. In 1960, we only had two.
  • Teenagers make up one-third of the U.S. population, but they carry 50 percent of STDs.
  • One in four teens has an STD. (Over 80% of those infections have no symptoms, so they can go undetected, which is dangerous for the teen, their future sexual partners and their future children.)

You may be familiar with those numbers, but few are aware of the emotional repercussions teen sex can have.

For the thousands of teens I’ve treated and counseled, many of them—yes, teen boys too—have depression related to sexual activity. You rarely hear the correlation made, but I consider depression an STD with effects as devastating as HPV, chlamydia or any physical infection.

Depression related to teen sex can have effects as devastating any physical STD infection.CLICK TO TWEET

Consider these numbers:

  • In 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents age 12 to 17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year—that’s about 12.5% of all 12 to 17 year olds.
  • From 1999-2014, the suicide rate in girls age 10 to 14 tripled.
  • About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.

I believe it is no coincidence that as STDs have become an epidemic in teens, so has depression. The correlation is startling.

Depression in a teen occurs on a biochemical as well as psychological level and the two are linked. We know that the levels of specific hormones in the cerebral spinal fluid of depressed teens are different from those of non-depressed teens.

We know that depression occurs when a teen experiences un-grieved losses—hurts that have been buried in their psyche, festering like abscesses. When a teen doesn’t deal with a traumatic or hurtful event, he ends up stuffing it and the negative emotions come out sideways. He becomes angry, withdrawn and depressed.

It is no coincidence that as STDs have become an epidemic in teens, so has depression.CLICK TO TWEET

Think about a 17-year-old boy who has had multiple sexual partners (as most 17 year old boys these days are encouraged to do.) He has sex because he believes this is what he must do to be a “man”. However, not all of those sexual encounters go well. He is too ashamed to admit this to his friends and knows he can’t talk to his parents about it, so he pretends like everything is fine, stuffs his feelings and continues having multiple partners.

Or consider a 15-year-old girl who feels pressured to have sex with her boyfriend. She finally does and two weeks later, he breaks up with her. She can’t explain to her parents why the break-up is so upsetting (she may not even know why herself), so she tries to find consolation in the next boy she dates, starting an unhealthy cycle and not dealing with the grief and the loss.

Teenagers don’t have the psychological or cognitive maturity to handle sex, regardless of what adults in our culture say. And they certainly can’t handle sex with multiple partners. Depression occurs by un-grieved losses and the truth is, sex for teen boys and girls causes many losses on many levels.

The misconceptions many parents have about their teenagers are these: that teen boys are nothing more than vats of hormones, that girls want to be sexually active in high school and college because that’s what girls do, and that sex is really fine for kids if they use “precautions” and stay “safe.” I discuss the dangers of both of these misconceptions, as well as the link between teen sex and depression in a recent episode of my Parenting Great Kids podcast.

Parenting Great Kids with Dr. Meg Meeker        
Talking to Your Kids About Sex          

Subscribe on iTunes

First, boys have minds, hearts and spirits and treating them otherwise is wrong. Second, most girls don’t want to be sexually active but have no one to counsel them how to postpone sex. Finally, terms like “precautions” and “safe” are meaningless. How is a teen to avoid hurt if he has sex, bonds to a girl and then breaks up? And studies show that condoms don’t protect equally against different diseases, so being “safe” is nonsense.

I can’t tell you how many 16- and 17-year-old boys come up to me after I’ve spoken at their school to talk about the emotional scars they have from sex.

Parents, its your job to make sure your teens understand the emotional/mental connection of sex.CLICK TO TWEET

This is why simply talking to your child about “safe sex” (a phrase that even the CDC won’t use anymore) is not enough. It’s your job as your son or daughter’s parent to help set them up for a lifelong, monogamous relationship and to get them there as emotionally unscathed as possible; not to simply cross your fingers and hope your child doesn’t get one of the over 35 STDs.

Do more than teach your child about the physical harm that can result from sex. Talk to them about their feelings and make sure they understand the emotional and mental connection that sex has. You need to be the person to tell your child this and know that they want to hear what you have to say. Work very hard to protect their hearts and minds as much as their bodies because trust me, nobody else is going to help teach them what you will.

If you have more questions about how to talk to your child about sex, my toolkit “How to Talk to Have ‘The Talk’ with Your Child” is available now. You can get 20% off at checkout when you use code: talkblog! It is full of resources that will help guide you in this tricky area of parenting.

From Our Director’s Desk

Powerful Choices lessons help a bride and her groom wait.  Watch her testimony here. 

This bride says,” Equipping Youth came to our 8th grade classroom and taught us all kinds of things. They taught about healthy friendships both romantic and regular ones, addictions, STDs and they encouraged us to make goals…They simply wanted us to make informed decisions. My boyfriend and I both had already made the (goal) decision to stay virgins until we were married and it was a decision that we stuck to…(first) sex is such a powerful intimate vulnerable moment. …knowing that my husband had committed to loving me for the rest of my life…I felt safe to be part of that vulnerable moment.

The video is ready for you to share with others who may need encouragement in remaining true to their future spouses. Add it to your Face Book or e-mails.

In the News:
HHS Report Shows the Lack of Effectiveness for “Comprehensive” Sex Ed.
Five Years and more than a half billion dollars later, it appears that what were promised as effective models for sex education curricula simply are not. A summary of the findings from HHS can be found here. If you want to see what your taxes pay for look at the web site for the Office of Adolescent Health. There will be a link to what they want you to believe about these latest research findings.  www.hhs.gov/ash/oah

STDs at Unprecedented High in the U.S.
According to the CDCs new annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, the total combined cases of Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported in 2015 reached the highest number ever.

Eccles’ comment:”Teens being taught that teen intimate contact is normal and how to reduce their risk of having an STD are left vulnerable to these infections.”

WRAP Week 2016 Last Sunday, October 30th kicked off WRAP week 2016! The White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Campaign began in Butler, Pennsylvania in 1987. The woman who began the movement, Norma Norris, became passionate about the issue of pornography after listening to a sermon at her

local parish. She saw the passivity of those around her as law enforcement and others in her community turned an eye to hardcore pornography sold locally. Norma reportedly stood up in her pew and declared, “That can’t

be; we’re here and we care!” Nearly 25 years later, Norma’s simple, inexpensive white ribbon symbolizing decency has drawn the attention of thousands! 

Follow the links below or go to www.endsexualexploitation.org the web site of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for information to help you and to talk to your kids about porn.

Please consider sharing your 2016 Year end Donation with Equipping Youth before December 30th.

  • Matching gifts are often available through employers. Ask your company if there is a matching program
  • A non-cash gift such as stocks, bonds, real estate or any item of value benefits you as you give. Equipping Youth will receive the whole amount of the value of your gift before taxes and you receive the whole value for your tax deduction. Call us for our investment number.
  • Wills and bequests including Equipping Youth of Sexual Health Education, Inc. as a beneficiary will continue your partnership with us into the future. Consider life insurance premiums, retirement plans and trusts as possible ways of continued giving.
  • A United Way Designation at your place of employment will benefit Equipping Youth of Sexual Health Education, Inc. Contact your company for the correct form. Confirm your donation by notifying us so we can insure that we receive your donations.

Every dollar donated to Equipping Youth is used to encourage another more youth to make Powerful Choices such as abstinence until marriage.

Thank you for your generosity and prayers,

Ruth Anne Eccles

Executive Director of Equipping Youth

HHS Report Shows Lack of Effectiveness for “Comprehensive” Sex Ed.

Five years and more than a half billion dollars later, it appears that what were promised as effective models for sex education curricula simply are not. In a blow to the heavily-funded federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP), new research shows dismal results for youth served in the program. Begun in 2010, the TPP program was called “evidence-based” by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and communities were guaranteed positive results if they implemented one of the curricula on the HHS-approved list, as shown by this quote found on the HHS website: “Evidence-based programs can be expected to produce positive results consistently.“[1] But the findings of the newly released research shows the promise was mostly inaccurate.

According to researchers who worked on the evaluation project, “most of the programs had small or insignificant impacts on adolescent behavior.”[2] A closer look at the research findings reveals that this summary may be a generous assessment of the results, since some youth actually fared worse when they were enrolled in some of the funded projects. Compared with their peers who were in the program, teens in some TPP-funded projects were more likely to begin having sex, more likely to engage in oral sex, and more likely to get pregnant. In fact, more than 80% of students in these programs fared either worse or no better than their peers who were not in the program.
Valerie Huber, president/CEO of Ascend responded to the TPP results: “For years, we have been concerned that objective research protocols were ignored when making the ‘evidence-based’ promises for TPP. As a result, school administrators and community stakeholders were led to believe that if they wanted their youth to thrive, they must implement curricula from the TPP ‘evidence-based’ list. Many well-intention-ed decision makers did just that, but now they learn that this decision may have been ill-advised – and that their students may be at increased risk as a result.”

“This research gives us serious reason to pause – ask the hard questions – and be willing to amend what messages we are giving vulnerable youth. It’s time to bring honesty and transparency to the entire issue of sex education. The fact is that the sexual risk reduction approach, typified in the TPP program, holds no claim on successful models that guarantee sexual health for youth.”

The lessons from public health tell us two things that should inform sex education policies, beginning today:

The healthiest message for youth is one that gives youth the skills and information to avoid the risks of teen sex, not merely reduce them. This is a message that is relevant in 2016, since the majority of teens have not had sex, far fewer, in fact, than 20 years ago.[3] Therefore, we need to be more intentional with finding the best ways to help youth achieve this optimal health outcome.
TPP programs overwhelmingly normalize teen sex – a message that 1 in 4 teens say makes them feel pressured to have sex.[4] The recently-released TPP research appears to confirm this felt sexual-pressure. As a society, we must normalize sexual delay and make it a realistic expectation.

Huber suggests one more consideration: “Sex education posturing and policies should not be about winning or losing a debate. Policies must be about increasing the chances that all youth can obtain optimal sexual health and a brighter opportunity for a healthy and successful future. Nothing less is acceptable.”

The attached infographic summarizes the results for the years 2010-2014, the period of time studied in the TPP research.

A summary of the findings from HHS can be found here.

[1] HHS, Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) website. Retrieved October 14, 2016 at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/oah-initiatives/teen_pregnancy/training/curriculum.html

[2] (2016). Special issue of American Journal of Public Health explores impacts of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health: September 2016. 106 (S1):S9-S15.
Retrieved on October 14, 2016 at http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160930/Special-issue-of-American-Journal-of-Public-Health-explores-impacts-of-Teen-Pregnancy-Prevention-Program.aspx

[3] CDC (2016) YRBS. Atlanta: Author. Retrieved October 14, 2016 at

[4] (2015). Teens speak out. Ventura: Barna Research.


Ascend (formerly the National Abstinence Education Association) champions youth to make healthy decisions in relationships and life by promoting well being through a primary prevention strategy, and as a national membership and advocacy organization that serves, leads, represents and equips the Sexual Risk Avoidance field.

Copyright © 2015 Ascend, All rights reserved.

October 2016

Equipping Youth has served this community for many years by sharing hope and resiliency training through our curriculum, Powerful Choices, with tens of thousands of youth. Ruth Anne has written faith basesuccessd lessons for after school programming using the activities of the Powerful Choices lessons. Originally she wrote it for the Marion Cares after school project.

Here is one more example of what “resiliency” training looks like in the life of a child.

 Jan’s story begins in a family that provided little security due to poverty and substance abuse. Her dad faced serious alcohol addiction and aggression until he committed suicide when Jan was 12, which led to her mom’s increasing alcoholism. Both her parents, Jan said, grew up with many Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in their childhood. “I was very scared as a child,” Jan said. “People saw me as shy, but I was actually terrified and disconnected.” Jan is now a successful woman, parent and school counselor.

Early childhood experiences such as Jan’s shape the quality of our adult lives. Negative experiences in childhood can derail a child’s development, and lead to a host of health and social challenges throughout a lifetime. Starting in 2012, Iowa stakeholders joined other states in studying ACEs data in our population through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Analysis of Iowa’s data shows that most people experience childhood trauma, and the more types of trauma someone experiences in childhood, the more likely they are to have a wide range of poor outcomes in adulthood. The ACEs Study gives us a new way to look at the health and social issues we are working to address in our communities – and is inspiring a movement to respond.

Emerging research shows that building caring connections promotes positive experiences for children from the start and helps those with a history of trauma heal. Through hope and resiliency*, the health and wellbeing of children and adults in our communities may have a brighter future. Research shows that the key to building resiliency is to have supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults as early in life as possible. These relationships can help buffer against the impact of toxic stress and help youth build other resiliency factors within themselves, including feeling a sense of hope, learning strategies to manage stress, and developing positive self-esteem.

The ARC model for resilience that Jan learned to use focuses on:

  • Attachment: Jan’s greatest support in this area came when a friend led her to understand God’s love and redemption. Through faith teachings, modeling, and support, Jan learned about healthy love and how to raise a family.
  • Regulation: Education, counseling, and the church helped strengthen her regulation skills and boundaries.
  • Competence: Being a naturally strong reader helped her succeed through education. Jan set the goal of going to college, achieving a master’s degree, and is now pursuing a doctorate through the University of Iowa.

*Resiliency is the ability to thrive, adapt and cope despite experiencing tough times.

Central Iowa ACEs Coalition. Beyond ACEs: Building Hope &Resiliency in Iowa. 2016. For this entire report and Jan’s full story beginning on page 10, please visit http://www.iowaaces360.org/uploads/1/0/9/2/10925571/acesreport2016_snglpgs-final.pdf



September 2016

A big thank you to all who celebrated marriage with Equipping Youth as Jerry and Ruth Anne Eccles celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Many celebrated by making a donation to their favorite organizations:  Equipping Youth and Gideon’s International.  Touch of Class catered the event held September 4th, 2016.






































August 2016

Parents can help keep their children safe online

by teaching them about its’ dangers and how to make wise decisions.

  1. Communication is key. Establish an ongoing dialogue about internet use, and keep lines of communication open. Let them know you care enough to keep reading their communications.

    Selective focus on the word "knowledge". Many more word photos in my portfolio...


  2. Supervise use of all Internet-enabled devices. Regularly check the online communities your children use, such as social networking and gaming sites, to see what information they are posting.
  3. Establish an agreement with your children about Internet use both at home and outside of the home. Have everyone in the family sign it.
  4. Periodically check your child’s online activity by viewing their browser’s history.
  5. Set time limits on computer use (not just internet use) and consider using time-limiting software.
  6. Do not allow your children and teens to take their phones or tablets to bed with them.
  7. Let your children know that you care enough about their safety to set a standard that will keep them safe.

PORN Rewires the Brain

Guard you mind and your children’s minds. Porn causes a chemical response that actually can change the way a person thinks. The arousal accompanied by viewing erotic images can cause powerful addictions making it very difficult to subdue the ‘need’ for more porn. Here are some tips for keepingboundaries-brain your thoughts pure from Human Life Magazine, Just for Guys and Just for Girls, 2014-0215:

  • Admit this is a difficult thing to do
  • Be careful what you watch
  • Exercise daily
  • Be aware of the lyrics of the music you listen to
  • Be aware of how you think and speak about the opposite sex
  • Stay clear of porn in the media, TV, internet, and elsewhere
  • Set goals and chart a path of success for your relationships
  • Train yourself to seek things other than sexual appeal and/or gratification

Share these tips with your youth. They are craving input from you. If you wish to obtain a copy of the magazine and other beneficial materials see www.humanlife.org

Equipping Youth is available for you We will come to do your school chapel time or a longer presentation for a special youth group event using a faith based program: Beating the Con Games.  PowerPoint slides and demonstrations assist students in:

  • Discussing media and social cons (lies),
  • Understanding the adolescent brain,
  • Connecting teens’ use of stimulants, drugs and alcohol to lifetime negative consequences,
  • Realizing the methods of forming habits,
  • The brain’s chemical bonding reaction to sexual intimacy,
  • And how to make personal Powerful Choices to avoid the ‘cons’ and to save their intimacy for marriage.

 February 2016                                                             Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                             Especially parents and grandparents,

Dr. Kevin Leman spoke onsuccess a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast about helping your middle school child, (aged 12-16), through this transitional period from early childhood to high school. He suggests parents focus on three important pillars he calls the “ABCs of parenting.”

  1. The first letter is “A,” which means to make certain your child feels Accepted by you. Most children face judgment of some kind from fellow students every day at school. Everyone is either too tall or too short or has body parts that are too big or too small. That’s why the home must be a place of respite, of acceptance, and of true love.
  1. “B” is for Belonging. Kids will do almost anything to fit in. That can be a scary thought for parents. Your child is growing up. Their hormones are emerging. Their body is changing at warp speed, and they’re taking notice of the opposite sex. Put all of those things together, and it’s combustible. But you can’t pull away from your middle schooler in the midst of all of that confusion. You have to step toward them, be present, and be engaged.
  1. The “C” is for Competence. It’s really important that your children feel like they’re somebody. For some kids, it’s on the football field. For other kids, it’s in the classroom or their art class, or they can play an instrument well. Having someone who has their back and believes in them can transform their lives. Kids do best when they know their parent is their cheerleader. Focus on the Family radio, Dr. Kevin Lehman speaker http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/what-your-middle-schooler-needs-from-you/?utm_source=nl_focusenews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=338503&refcd=338503

Middle school aged children need careful guidance. They need very clear expectations from you; set them high. Be sure to tell your children that even if they make an unhealthy decision, that’s not going to compromise your love for them.  Tell them you believe that they can and should avoid risks that could cause lifelong consequences. These early teen years should be a season where smaller mistakes can be made while being guided and nurtured.

Carefully choose your rules for teens; Insist on good personal hygiene, cleanliness, modesty and joining you in corporate worship rather than on their choices of costumes and hairstyles. Guide them in their choices of ‘screen’ time and music. Guard them by making rules about overnights and friends. Meet with their friends’ parents and know their families well before allowing lengthy visits or overnights. Make certain that they are getting the right amount of sleep and rest rather than pushing them to be over committed with activities you want to have them involved in.

 ‘Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices’ lessons assist parents in coping with this sometimes difficult period. Our Biblical Applications for this curriculum have been written for you. There are 10 lessons useful for parents to study with your teen. Please e-mail us for more information.

Valerie Huber, president of Ascend, Following are excerpts from a recent interview with her in a broadcast of the NC Family Policy Center: On Teens Making Wise Decisions

The majority of teens have not had sex, and those numbers have actually been moving in the right direction over the last two decades, … In fact, over the last 20 years, we have seen more than a 15 percent increase in the percentage of teens that are not having sex. …Current sex education classes put much more of an emphasis on normalizing sexual activity among teens, basically telling them, “Hey, it’s OK for you to experiment sexually. Just make sure that you are ‘careful,’ and don’t get pregnant, or cause a pregnancy.”  (So ascend did a recent survey conducted by Barna), Among 18-19 year-old teens that have not had sex, we asked them what compelled them to wait. And interestingly enough, it wasn’t the fear of sexually transmitted disease, and it wasn’t a fear of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant. The top two reasons really should be encouraging to us. One was their own personal values and the second is they don’t want to just have casual sex. Teens want to make sure that when they have sex, it’s within the context of a committed relationship.

Ruskin, John: On Teens Making Wise Decisions About Sex, January 7, 2016, http://www.ncfamily.org/on-teens-making-wise-decision-about-sex/

We appreciate your support and want you to remember that your donations to our work make a difference for your family, schools and community

Thank you for caring, Ruth Anne Eccles, MSN   for the volunteer staff and Directors of Equipping Youth

January 2016

Thank you for caring about giving the hopeful message of abstinence until marriage to our youth.

Many of the youth participating in Powerful Choices lessons gave their input about the lessons in a voluntary survey. Reading through their responses to the open ended questions greatly encouraged us. We wanted you to have a few of their responses to encourage you too. These surveys were from eighth grade students. Here are a few comments from several hundred we collected from several different schools

 What did you like about Powerful Choices?

“Reminds me of the type of person I want to be.”

“It’s fun to learn about some things I did not think about before.”

“It has helped me with some of the choices I am making now.”

“I liked that it tells you, like, what to look out for.”

“Learning about how life has risks and what we can do in those risks.”

“It taught me to take control of my life and not to let others control my choices.”

 Their favorite lesson was Choose Knowledge. This lesson discusses the physical and psychological consequences of becoming intimate before marriage; especially if with multiple partners. The lessons Choose Boundaries and Choose Courage were also favorites. Setting personal boundaries to stay clear of habits and friends that could jeopardize their futures was a lesson learned by many respondents. The Courage lesson taught about con games that some people play to get from you what they want without much or no regard for your welfare.

 What is the best reason for you to choose to remain abstinent until marriage?

“Because you could end up ‘Pergo’ and having a kid with someone you really don’t care for that much.”

“Because I am too young for that. We do not make wise choices and take too many risks when so young.”

“Cause it is the best choice for me.”

“I want to save myself for the person that I love and who loves me for always.”

Thank you to the volunteers who helped this month with sorting all of the curriculum materials, mailings, tax letters and cleaning the new office space.



Ruth Anne


Equipping Youth’s Year End Report

July 2014 through June 2015

During the past fiscal year of 2014-15 Equipping Youth has supplied newly updated Teachers’ Manuals and other printed materials for Powerful Choices (PC) lessons for all three grade levels to 20 schools. Many hours of time were involved in updating and editing each of the three series of Teachers’ Manuals of PC.  These were offered to the schools that had ever had our PC materials.

EY set up a display of our curriculum and handed out sacks of abstinence materials to teens and families at the Ball Park during the game on Faith Sunday, July 20, 2014. The packets included magazines and brochures emphasizing saving intimate relationships for marriage, STIs, how to make best friends and how to find real love. Many parents and youth asked for details of the PC lessons and expressed gratitude for the materials.

The Middle Schools of Linn county and Jones County continued to have educators for PC lessons for their students. These were supplied by volunteer teachers and volunteer Executive Director, Ruth Anne Eccles,

 Financial Report – EY continues to have sufficient donations to meet most of the requests for assistance in teaching Powerful Choices lessons and to keep the absolutely necessary bills paid.

 Donations for this fiscal year totaled $18,000. There were no salaries paid to persons working for Equipping Youth. All are volunteers; the Directors through the assistants with office work.

Vision for the future – We continue to receive requests to assist schools with PC lessons for the school year 2015-16. Some of these have never taught PC lessons or ceased teaching PC in 2010. Most need teachers’ training for new hires. Educators from EY would supply at least the first classes of each of the lessons to show the PC curriculum’s unique methods of interactive and demonstration discussions for self discovery learning. With adequate income staff could be hired to accommodate our requests for assistance and to pay for the PC curriculum and supplies. Our skeleton proposed budget for this year ending in 06-30-2016 is $133,455.

Please consider joining us in sharing righteous life skills’ principles with the teens of our communities? A onetime donation or monthly support promise would be an answer to our prayers. Your partnership will enable us to meet the challenge before us.

We promise the careful use of each dollar you invest in the youth of our communities.

Ruth Anne Eccles, BSN, MSN for the volunteers and Directors of Equipping Youth



If you are not aware of what your child is learning in Life Skills or Health classes, you should ask to look at the curriculum and the outline of what they have been taught and are going to receive yet this school year. The Iowa Department of Education requires that Middle Schools in Iowa teach sexuality education in their ‘Life Skills’ or similar classes. All children deserve to receive the truth about the benefits of choosing abstinence. The fact that nearly 75% of youth 15-19 in Iowa have chosen to remain abstinent from the risk behaviors that often bring lifetime negative and miserable consequences is most often overlooked by sexuality instructors. Talk to your school about the proven curriculum, Powerful choices that we have available for them.

We are available for teachers’ training at the schools that ask for our assistance. Powerful Choices lessons for each of the three years of middles school meet all of the recommended state and national standards and benchmarks for Health Classes with the exception of Nutrition.  We are available to come to your school to talk informally with PE and Sex Education teachers about how they may use the three series of lessons of Powerful Choices for their entire population of 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys and girls. We are available to help start the lessons by teaching the first several of each grade level so the teacher will understand how to assist the youth in self discovery learning through demonstrations and activities rather than lecture and videos.

Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices lessons recognize that students respond to hearing the whole story about abstinence.  The lessons are based on facts. The interactive games, discussions and illustrations grab the students’ attention, which helps them to discover the truths of the hopeful benefits of choosing abstinence and of building character into their lives.

The students’ journaling after each class confirms what they have learned.  They share new revelations including recognizing the need to set boundaries before drinking or being in pressing situations with peers.  They become equipped to choose what their best option is and how not to be manipulated.

Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices’ parent component welcomes them as a team member with the school, encouraging their child to make powerful choices.  These take home pages give opportunity for the family to talk about the topics of the lessons.  Parents are encouraged to share their challenges of school aged friendships and to listen to their student tell about his or her personal goals for life and the cares they have concerning school related issues.

Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices has the message that every child needs. Help us to deliver it to as many as possible.  Have several of the other parents from your school become acquainted with our curriculum and then go together to your school to make it possible for your children to know the benefits of remaining abstinent from premature intimate relationships and the associated problems of becoming involved in drugs and alcohol.

Ruth Anne Eccles


A Comment on Abstinence by Kelli Klaus    September 6, 2012

First of all, sex is a big deal.  God created it to be the most intimate
union any two people can have, and it was made to be between a
husband and wife.  Reproduction (and namely, more humans made to
glorify God) was the purpose for Him creating the act.  To shrug off
its importance is to discredit Almighty God’s workmanship.

To say there are no after-effects to sex outside of marriage is one of
the most offensive lies culture has conjured.  It is offensive
because it questions and manipulates our intelligence.  Common sense
says there are going to be consequences to such an action, yet when
the lie is so easily believed, one must wonder as to our mental
capacity.  The obvious physical results of sex outside of marriage
are unexpected pregnancy and STD’s.  The emotional and relational
consequences are often overlooked because they’re not as in the open
as the physical effects.  However, they are what drive people to keep
looking for approval in all the wrong places and to continue in their
promiscuous behavior.  The regret, hurt, pain, embarrassment, and
entire range of emotions felt by a person can be overbearing.  The
soiled reputation and lost relationships are also disregarded many
times yet felt heavily by the victim.

was very strict in His Word about the right time and setting for
physical intimacy.  In Hebrews 13:4 he says that, “Marriage
should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God
will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”  He knew
the hurts it would cause if the act were taken out of its purposed
place.  Yet God is always full of love, forgiveness, and compassion,
and He always offers the chance for deep-felt redemption.

disobedience to God’s Word and possible outcomes mentioned above are
the primary reasons that this trend must change.  Life would be
simpler, easier, and more peaceful if this destructive road were
traveled less.  Why?  Because that is how God intended for life to
be, that was “Shalom” in the Garden.  The message needs to
be relayed about how important it is that this commonality become a
rare occurrence.

need to make the teaching of sexual integrity a priority in their
life; whether it’s parents enlightening their children about God’s
truth or a friend being a wise counselor to someone they see
struggling in this area.  There are organizations all over the
country with the purpose to inform teens about this issue, encourage
them in their choices, and mentor them about past decisions.  One
such group is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with the title of
Prevention Services.  They focus on bringing the message of sexual
integrity to middle schools, high schools, and colleges in the area.
By being a peer-to-peer mentoring group, teens already feel at ease
when someone their age walks into their health education classroom to
talk to them about sex.  The students have an instant reverence and
respect for the speaker who is revealing such vulnerabilities and
honesties when sharing why they have chosen to save sex for their
marriage.  This involvement by dedicated teenagers to wait until
marriage and then to encourage others to do the same is so important
and could turn this issue around.

is sacred and precious and needs to remain in the context that it was
originally created for.  Although the world says it’s normal, fun,
and right to do what you want when you want to, the Lord challenges
us to have self-control.  By having patience for His plan to work out
in our lives, we’ll be ultimately blessed because He has the absolute
best and most beautiful desires for us.  Romans 12:2 accurately sums
up how we are to live, in complete trust in and reliance on God, yet
also doing our part to be in this world but not of it.  “Do not
be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect
will of God.”