Equipping Youth

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Risk Avoidance Education for Iowa’s Youth                                  June/July 2018

Dear Partners,

The above is the title of our project for the school year 2018-19.

Our goal is to provide the hopeful message of Risk Avoidance (abstinence) to many more of the youth in our Cedar Rapids communities and beyond. For this project we need your continued help. We are seeking to employ several full-time educators and to identify many more partners like you who have a passion for our vulnerable teens and unborn children. Informing our community at large of the added benefits Powerful Choices lessons can offer may help schools move forward with more support from their parents and community members.

The time is crucial for our youth! We thank you for your support. With this greater initiative we are asking you to join us by prayerfully considering assisting us to increase our number of partners. We invite you to co-host with us an intimate coffee for you and your like-minded friends at our office. Together we can share with them Equipping Youth’s mission. Give us a call to set a date and time including evenings if your day time is filled. As partners, would you also prayerfully consider what you may do to help us increase our budget to include two full time salaries?

The difference in SRR and SRA education The need for adolescents in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area to receive Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) health education such as Powerful Choices continues to increase since 2010. Since that year the turn over in our schools brought many new teachers and administrative staff who had never experienced the positive results of Powerful Choices curriculum. Their new curriculum was mostly Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) education stressing safer sex by using birth control.

Proof of the consequences of failed SRR education in our communities’ schools is evidenced by the severely increased teen birth rates and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) cases among our adolescents. The most recent live birth statistics for youth 15 to 19 in Linn County is 41.2 per 1000 in 2016, compared to 8.7 per 1000 in 2010.[1] The reported number of cases of gonorrhea increased by 145 % from 2013 to 2017 according to the Iowa Department of Public Health; and that 50% of these cases were among youth aged 15 -24 years. This increase in the number of cases of reportable STDs is frightening. While the Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed only 32% of youth aged 15-19 years indicated that they had ever experienced sexual intercourse this small population of sexually active youth evidently suffer from multiple cases of STDs each year.

Our SRA education, Powerful Choices, teaches primary prevention. Powerful Choices lessons share the hopes and benefits of waiting until marriage, making wise choices concerning friendships, positive group dynamics, personal health habits, character development, avoiding violence, consequences of negative habit-forming activities, how to deal with past and present childhood negative episodes, and making future educational and life goals. We continue updating PC lessons to include the latest Iowa Department of Education Health Standards.

The Staff and Board of Equipping Youth appreciate your investment in the lives of our youth.

May God bless you and yours!                 Ruth Anne Eccles, Executive Director

[1] Vital statistics of Iowa, Linn County, 2016



Equipping Youth is celebrating 20 years . . .

                 of teaching area youth ‘Powerful Choices’ lessons.

Open House

9-11 am Saturday, May 5th

1700 B Avenue NE Suite 209

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Enjoy light, morning refreshments as you learn more about the ‘Powerful Choices’ lessons and experience some of them up close.

Equipping Youth, founded in 1998, is a nonprofit dedicated to providing area youth and their families with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy choices.

Lessons in our communities’ health classes have served more than 70,000 students in grades 6 through 8. The curriculum, ‘Powerful Choices’, encourages the youth of Eastern Iowa to make the best choices for their optimal life time health outcomes. ‘Powerful Choices’ curriculum enables teens to build character traits and internal assets while gaining knowledge about risk activities that could have life time negative consequences. Research completed with the University of Iowa has proven that ‘Powerful Choices” lessons have lasting positive effects on the choices teens are making.

Come learn more about all that Equipping Youth has to offer to teens in our youth facilities, clubs and schools.

February 2018
Stop Advantage Discrimination in our schools!
What is advantage discrimination? When administrators and teachers of our youth in schools and in off site
school rooms decide that youth need to have information that may discourage their greatest potential and
success, that is advantage discrimination.

Most evident of this type of discrimination is the sexual health
education prominent in so many of our classrooms, Sexual Risk Reduction, (SRR). The myth that nearly every
teen will have sex is the reason given for promoting the use of birth control to reduce the risk of becoming
pregnant or being infected with a Sexually Transmitted Disease, (STD). These lessons normalize teen sexual
activity while teaching how to use birth control methods. There is danger in these instructions of leaving youth
vulnerable to the very consequences the lessons are to prevent youth from experiencing. There is only one
proven method of avoiding all consequences of sexual activity, abstinence from all sexual activity. In medical
terms reducing the risk through explicit education is secondary prevention of the diseases and consequences
that may follow teens throughout their life time. Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) education does not give youth
the benefit of optimal health by choosing the best for themselves and their future family. Those who teach
protection other than complete avoidance of these consequences through abstinence are guilty of advantage
Ruth Anne Eccles BSN MSN
Executive Director of Equipping Youth

and Equipping Youth, at the same time

Who do you know that loves to shop? This will bless everyone’s socks off!

Community Days is a fundraising event where $5 coupon booklets are sold for an event taking place Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3, 2018 and 100% of every $5 booklet sold will benefit participating organizations.  Coupons are good in the store or online!

Donate $5 and get over $500 in exclusive coupon savings including:

  • $10 off coupon valid on a purchase of $10 or more
  • Up to 30% off shopping pass that can be used over and over throughout the 3-day event
  • 70% off Ruff Hewn and Chaps for Women, Men & Kids
  • $60 off Spring outerwear for her
  • 65% off fine jewelry
  • 45% off coffeemakers
  • 39.97 8-pc. comforter set
  • And many more offers throughout the store!

Every dollar collected, when selling our books, goes directly to Equipping Youth’s mission.  Soon we will be sharing our new curriculum project.  Watch the Gazette’s Editorial page too!  You will see your dollars at work in Eastern Iowa.

Call our office, talk to a board member, or visit this page to purchase your Community Days 2018 Coupon Booklet.  

These coupon books make a great insert                                                            for any Valentines Day Card! 

Thanks from all of us at Equipping Youth for blessing us with your attendance at our event last week. Your donations have encouraged us to maintain the passion and mission of serving our Iowa youth.

Your Donations are Vital!    We have hired an Educator, Carolyn McCracken, to help with teaching in classrooms and to train teachers in the brain based methods of self discovery and discussion of our Powerful Choices Curriculum’s lessons.  Carolyn’s salary depends on additional monthly donations.

Dr Freda McKissic Bush, our speaker at the event last week emphasized that we need to help youth to learn to use their head before using their bodies to communicate love and affection. She warned of the threat of pornography and graphic illustrations in today’s sex education and media. She explained how the brain itself is molded by sexual behavior. Her Book, HOOKED, sold out at the event. This book gives the results of neuroscience research that shows what happens between your ears daily and how it affects your behavior.

May God bless you,                 For the Staff and Board of Equipping Youth,       Ruth Anne Eccles

It is time to select your meal options!  email your choices to mail@equippingyouth.org.  Choices are:  Vegetable Stuffed Chicken Breast, Herb Encrusted Pork Loin, Vegetable Napoleon (GF/ Veg option)

Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices

Fundraising Banquet September 21, 2017

At the Hotel Kirkwood Conference Center, 6:00 — 8:30 PM

Our Keynote Speaker is Dr. Freda McKissic Bush, MD — President/CEO

Freda McKissic Bush, M.D is a Fellow in the ACOG and a practicing OB-GYN. She is CEO of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MI) and has co-authored two books with Founder Joe S. McIlhaney MD,  HOOKED, and Girls UNCOVERED. Dr. Bush is a Clinical Instructor in the Departments of OB-GYN and Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Married to Lee Bush they have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a pioneer whose work is assisting youth to have a healthier and happier successful life.

Dr. Bush has been in our community several times in the past for Equipping Youth’s state wide trainings. Her lectures were appreciated by the attending medical and educational professionals and youth workers.    Dr. Bush will challenge us at our banquet to provide Sexual Risk Avoidance Education for our youth of Iowa.

Click here to download Volunteer or Ticket reservation form