Equipping Youth

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Powerful Choices Series 2 is recommended for grades 7 thru 9.
This 10 lesson series lays the foundation for making healthy decisions about alcohol, drugs and sexual activity. Students acquire assertiveness and goal-setting skills, along with medically-accurate information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Wisdom

Awareness

Friendship

Control

Courage

Knowledge

Boundaries

Excellence

Ambition

Success

 

Wisdom -is essential to living a healthy and productive life. Wisdom involves looking beyond oneself for direction, advice, and insight. Wisdom is acquired over time and becomes more necessary as the challenges and risks in life gain momentum. Before joining in any activity, one should consider the consequences on body, mind and heart (emotional well-being). You should also consider the possible positive and negative effects (consequences) of the action on yourself, family, friends, community, and your future goals. Stopping to look beyond the moment of immediate gratification before becoming involved in any activity, brings balance and a clearer understanding of “why am I getting involved?” in decision-making.

Lesson:

Through interactive discussion students define risk behavior and discuss decision-making. They discuss the possible results, both the negative and positive consequences, to be gained by decisions. The students learn that Abstinence: Powerful Choices will afford them opportunities to gain wisdom.

Students will:
  • Be introduced to the Abstinence: Powerful Choices series
  • Define risk behaviors and understand that they exist throughout life
  • Realize that for every choice there is a resulting consequence, negative and/or positive
  • Understand that choices are a responsibility, and the person who makes a choice must also be prepared for any resulting consequences
  • Define “wisdom”
Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)
  • Discuss course direction (take note of students’ comments and expectations)
  • Ice-breaker interaction: Would you rather?
  • Discuss “risk behaviors” and “choices & consequences”
  • Play High, Low, or No Risk picture game
  • Brainstorm about the meaning of wisdom
  • Discuss Making Cookies
  • Assignments

Awareness -is being aware of the facts that are important for one to have a healthy reality view of the world around oneself. Awareness is being mindful that the media (TV, radio, internet, movies, magazines and advertisements) may give the impression that everyone is having sex – sex sells. FACT: the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2002) reported that the majority of teens are abstinent; 64% of youth, 7th—12th grade, reported that they have NOT experienced sexual intercourse. Your choice to be on the road of abstinence is the most popular choice. Abstinence is the expected standard for all school-aged youth for their maximum health, safety and future successes.

LESSON:

Through class activities and discussions students will receive the truth about sexual activity among their peers with medically accurate facts, statistics and research results. Students will discuss the psychological, emotional, social, financial, and educational consequences of sexual activity, and how their future children may be affected. Discussions will include the influences of the media and our culture that lead to believing the myth that sexual activity is the norm for most teens. The message “not everyone is having sex” is emphasized.

Students will:

  • Define “awareness”
  • Learn medically accurate definitions of sexual activity
  • Realize that most U.S. teens are ABSTINENT
  • Understand why teens have said they have chosen to remain abstinent until marriage;
  • Understand why teens say they had sex for the first time
  • Identify the physical, social, and emotional risks of being sexually active
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how being sexually active affects current relationships and how it can result in pregnancy and bearing children whose future, along with that of the student’s, will most likely be jeopardized

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Play The Phrase That Pays, based on popular game shows
  • Discover reasons why local, state and national teens chose to remain abstinent or to become involved in sexual activity.
  • Assignments

Friendship -Discernment is the ability to accurately recognize positive and negative elements of choices. It is important to understand that the friends you choose to hang out with can influence your ability to discern and influence your choices that predict both present and future successes and failures.

LESSON:

Students will learn to recognize friendship qualities and how healthy friendships assist them in avoiding high-risk behavior. They will understand the influence of friends in their current decision making and in planning for their futures. They will learn how to establish and maintain healthy friendships and how to handle negative relationships. Students will learn that marriage partners can become their best and most confidential friends for life. They will understand that a quality marriage will bring the greatest economic wellbeing, happiness, and successful children.

Students will:

  • Understand that desirable friendships are based on similar positive values
  • Identify healthy and unhealthy friendships
  • Define “discernment”
  • Recognize four levels of friendship
  • Understand the benefits of healthy friendships and healthy marriages

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Interactive discussion Qualities of Friendship
  • Four Questions discussion
  • Demonstration Up and Down
  • Four Levels of Friendship
  • Changing Unhealthy Relationships discussion
  • Assignments

Control – Self-Control over one’s body and mind empowers the individual to achieve his or her goals. Self-control must often be exercised when pressured by peers to join them in using drugs and alcohol. Such substances affect your ability to make informed decisions about other risk behaviors, such as sexual activity. When in a difficult situation (under pressure to take part in high-risk activities), one should use self-control to:

  • Stop
  • Consider any potential consequences
  • Regain control of emotions
  • Act within previously set boundaries

LESSON:

Youth will learn the effects of alcohol and drug use on self-control and decision-making skills as related to sexual activity and other risk behavior.

Students will:

  • Understand how substance use affects decision-making ability
  • Understand how substance use affects personal boundaries
  • Understand how substance use can make it difficult to attain personal goals
  • Identify the connection between use of alcohol and sexual activity
  • Define “self-control”

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Discuss Brain/body Disconnect, the effects of substance abuse on decision-making skills
  • Discuss Self-Control listing ways you can tell someone is under the influence and/or stories from the news relating to how substance abuse negatively affects peoples’ lives
  • Play the Dollar Jump, discuss difficulty in obtaining a desired goal when under the influence
  • Discuss how substance abuse incapacitates you as in being handicapped
  • Participate in “What is Most Important to Me” worksheet, defining priorities and understanding that loss of control affects your priorities
  • Assignments

Courage can be hard when one’s boundaries are challenged, but it is necessary if one wishes to retain their boundaries and self-respect. Learning the appropriate and proper use of self-assertiveness will help to retain self-respect and the respect of others. Having courage means that you do what’s right even if it is scary or uncomfortable at the time.

LESSON:

Through discussions with a guest speaker and/or in group work finishing scenarios of situations requiring courage, youth will learn creative and relevant ways to resist the pressures of negative influence, especially from peers and popular media.

Students will:

  • Experience listening to and discussing with a guest speaker his/her personal encounter with developing courage, or discuss episodes in the lives of persons who had to use courage
  • Define and distinguish the differences among passive, assertive, and aggressive behaviors
  • Identify effective courageous skills to resist the pressures of peers and culture
  • Define “courage”

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Interact with guest speaker through stories, demonstrations, and question & answer time
  • Brainstorm the endings of scenarios that demonstrate effective techniques of refusing pressure in situations commonly experienced by local youth
  • Discuss and define passive, aggressive, and assertive responses to situations
  • Discuss how refusal skills relate to sexual pressure
  • Assignments include identifying five ways of being assertive and developing a fictional situation where sexual pressure exist and creating courageous exit plans

Knowledge

 

Abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the only sure way to prevent STDs.

Compassion involves understanding why someone else is experiencing physical or emotional pain and wanting to help them with that pain. A confidential friend will be compassionate by listening to another’s heartache, not passing judgment, and not telling others about it. For many people, sexual activity before marriage results in emotional pain, especially when the relationship ends. Emotional and physical pain may also result from catching a sexually transmitted disease. It’s important to have compassion for others while understanding that how to avoid the same pain by abstaining from sex before marriage. By practicing compassion, the importance of making and keeping boundaries can be shared with your friends who need to know.

LESSON:

By discussing the most common STDs, youth will gain an understanding of the emotional, psychological, and health risks of being sexually active. The students will receive medically accurate information and will be given an opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions. Students will understand the importance of maintaining personal sexual activity boundaries.

Students will:

  • Identify the most common STDs and their symptoms, possible consequences, and treatment
  • Understand how STDs are spread
  • Define “compassion”
  • Realize that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of avoiding an STD or pregnancy

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • It Won’t Happen to Me story
  • Dice Game to engage students in understanding the common STDs
  • It’s All About Al overhead
  • Question and answer session with the medical expert
  • Discuss Sexual Exposure Chart showing the rate of STD exposure with multiple partners
  • Assignments

Boundaries—I need boundaries in my life to keep me safe and help me reach my goals. I need to understand the boundaries set for me by others, as well as know how to set my own boundaries for my life.

Students will:

  • Review the previous lessons
  • Define and discuss different types of boundaries
  • Understand the need for physical, personal, and emotional boundaries
  • Learn to identify what amount of information is appropriate for different groups of people (family and friends, acquaintances, etc.)
  • Discuss the harmful effects of bullying
  • Learn to set boundaries for their lives

Activities:

  • Review the Wisdom Bucket and its objects
  • Class discussion of different types of boundaries
  • Large group activity—Boundaries Bull’s-Eye
  • Individual worksheet—My Boundaries Bull’s-Eye
  • Group discussion—crossing your own boundaries, crossing other’s boundaries, and bullying
  • Directions for sharing take-home sheet with parents

Excellence is to understand the best and right thing to do in all circumstances and to make the best choices. It is also humility- the absence of pride and arrogance in knowing when one has failed to choose the best action and a willingness to make amends. Excellence is the use of self-discipline and self-control in keeping personal boundaries and achieving personal goals. By practicing excellence, you may become a role model to others, helping them to also make the best choices for their lives.

LESSON:

Peer presenters challenge youth to resist peer pressures and to choose abstinence from use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and especially to choose abstinence-until-marriage. With their personal messages that “we are abstinent and striving for excellence,” the peer presenters are able to make a difference for the participants of the classes. (This lesson is best presented by a group of teens several years older than those in the class.)

Students will:

  • Experience how to be role models for their peers
  • Identify ways other teens remain abstinent from risk behavior, especially risky sexual activities
  • Define “excellence”

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Personal testimonies from local teenagers who are living an abstinent lifestyle
  • Questions and answers with the peer presenters
  • Skits and games portraying ways to remain abstinent from high risk behaviors
  • Assignments

Ambition

Self-discipline through personal boundaries will enable you to achieve your goals.

Self-discipline is necessary when keeping and reaching boundaries and goals. If one knows where he/she stands before a difficult situation occurs, he/she will be able to remain within his/her boundaries regardless of feelings that seem overwhelming — like anger or sexual excitement. It is important to understand that part of self-discipline is acknowledging mistakes and setting new boundaries in order to continue toward one’s goals. For example, those who have become sexually active can stop having sex and exercise self-control until marriage.

LESSON:

Students discuss boundaries that currently exist in their lives and learn how to set their own personal boundaries.

Students will:

  • Recognize that boundaries exist all around us in everyday life
  • Learn that setting boundaries is important to avoiding risk
  • Understand the need for boundaries in sexual relationships
  • Define “self discipline”

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Discuss boundaries that students have in everyday life
  • Balloon Race and discussion of self-control
  • Marble Game and discussion of boundaries
  • Snowball Example
  • Steps to Intimacy use chart discussion
  • Self Discipline the redefinition
  • Fish out of Water boundaries demonstration
  • Renewed Virginity definition and discussion
  • Wisdom Bucket
  • Assignments include youth privately writing their Personal Boundaries List

Excellence is to understand the best and right thing to do in all circumstances and to make the best choices. It is also humility- the absence of pride and arrogance in knowing when one has failed to choose the best action and a willingness to make amends. Excellence is the use of self-discipline and self-control in keeping personal boundaries and achieving personal goals. By practicing excellence, you may become a role model to others, helping them to also make the best choices for their lives.

LESSON:

Peer presenters challenge youth to resist peer pressures and to choose abstinence from use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and especially to choose abstinence-until-marriage. With their personal messages that “we are abstinent and striving for excellence,” the peer presenters are able to make a difference for the participants of the classes. (This lesson is best presented by a group of teens several years older than those in the class.)

Students will:

  • Experience how to be role models for their peers
  • Identify ways other teens remain abstinent from risk behavior, especially risky sexual activities
  • Define “excellence”

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • Personal testimonies from local teenagers who are living an abstinent lifestyle
  • Questions and answers with the peer presenters
  • Skits and games portraying ways to remain abstinent from high risk behaviors
  • Assignments