Our continued diligent work is for the successful future of the children of the next generation. Our Powerful Choices lessons have been successfully taught for 11 years in the Middle Schools of this greater Cedar Rapids Area of Eastern Iowa. Powerful Choices lessons are also taught to youth in incarceration and treatment centers. Research shows that youth who participated in our Powerful Choices classes are significantly more likely to choose to remain abstinent until marriage. Additionally they are more likely to choose not to participate in other related risk behaviors such as smoking, using alcohol or drugs, violence and bullying. Powerful Choices is unlike traditional comprehensive sex-education programs that simply teach to reduce the risk of pregnancies and disease by using condoms, birth control, STD screenings, treatments and vaccines. The Powerful Choices lessons stress avoiding the risks inherent in early teen sexual activity and related behaviors that could result in lifelong negative consequences.
Because of the known physical and health risks of smoking, using alcohol or drugs, violence and bullying, it is accepted policy that our children are taught a no-tolerance standard for these behaviors. Why then is the same standard not applied to sexual activity? Why are children taught that there are ‘safe’ or ‘safer’ ways to engage in sexual activity when the risk of contracting an STD is at an epidemic level, and the results of pregnancy in the very young, even if terminated, may have life time consequences?
ALARMING STATISTICS – More than 65 million people in the US are currently living with an incurable STD. According to the National Center for Disease Control at
Many young people engage in sexual risk behaviors that can result in unintended health outcomes. Sexual risk behaviors place adolescents at risk for HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy:
*An estimated 8,300 young people aged 13—24 years in the 40 states reporting to CDC had HIV infection in 2009.
*Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15—24 years
*More than 400,000 teen girls aged 15—19 years gave birth in 2009.
Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. No protective method is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD or pregnancy.
To reduce sexual risk behaviors and related health problems among youth, schools and other youth-serving organizations can help young people adopt lifelong attitudes and behaviors that support their health and well-being–including behaviors that reduce (???) their risk for HIV, other STDs, and unintended pregnancy. (End of quote from the CDC website).
For this reason (to help youth avoid the risks, not just reduce them) concerned men are assisting Equipping Youth with Men Who Cook. Won’t you join us to share in the tasting and to learn more about our work?
Your support is vital to our work,
For the Board of Directors and me,
Ruth Anne Eccles