Until I took a job with an abstinence education agency, I had no idea the passion I would have for this type of service, nor did I recognize the need for what we did. I took the job as Development Director in April, 2007. I had just left a corporate job, received several great employment opportunities, but in the end I wanted to do something that I felt mattered.
Let me give you a little background information on abstinence education. First, we (and by we, I mean abstinence educators in general on the national level) do not try to stop “safe-sex” ed. As a matter of fact, we discuss the pros and cons to different types of protection, we do not however teach kids how to use any type of protection, nor do we promote any specific type of protection outside of abstinence. We also recognize the importance of this topic and encourage schools to offer both our programs and other types of sex-ed programs. Second, we understand the controversy behind abstinence education, or sex-ed of any type. Many feel it is not the job of a teacher, school nurse, or even outside organization to teach kids about sex. That should be true for most families, but unfortunately parents are falling down on their job, and someone has got to teach kids certain facts when it comes to sex. That is why all our discussions are delivered by an expert in their field; doctor, psychologist, motivational speaker. Third, we do not just deal with sex, we teach abstinence from ALL high-risk behaviors. Fourth, we are very involved with the community, to try and address many different issues facing our specific areas.
Our services begin in 6th grade and follow students through high school. We cover any and every topic imaginable; peer pressure, ATOD (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs) self-esteem, self-image, violence, healthy relationships, eating disorders, prescription meds and finally sexual activities. Our 8th grade program, dedicated to abstinence from sex, is very intimate and is lead by professionals. Students are broken into groups of four and five with one mentor based on sex, we meet every day for a week, we talk about STD’s, pregnancy, abortion, adoption, dating strategies, etc. Wow, I learned so much. I had no idea that most STD’s are not protected by “protection”. I had no idea that most abortion clinics do not counsel young women, meaning a scared, 12 year old little girl has no idea what may happen to her physically and/or emotionally post-procedure. I had no idea the need that existed for a service like ours. I had no idea I would grow to care so much about each and every child I had the pleasure of working with.
We operate independently of the school district, having to meet with principals individually each year. We work with after school programs, like Boys and Girls Clubs and comparable organizations. We also work with other groups to bring safe alternative activities to schools for the hours of 3pm-6pm, when kids are most likely to get into trouble. Let me just say, you don’t know gut-wrenching until a gorgeous 12 year old girl tell you, “you have to do certain things, or the boys won’t like you”. They are not being taught self respect at home. They literally don’t recognize that they have a choice when it comes to what they do and don’t do with their body. That is where we come in, and make no mistake, our programs are successful. I could give all sorts of qualitative and quantitative data, but will instead simply say, teen pregnancies have decreased in the schools we exist in.
With all that said, we will be closing our doors this week. Planned Parenthood has been lobbying Congress for years, they have sponsored “studies” that show abstinence does not work, and they have won. Most of our government funding was cut about two years ago. One year ago, my organization hired me to raise private dollars to continue our work. We have held fund-raisers, hosted phone-a-thons/letter writing campaigns, diversified our services, pleaded with our local Congressmen (BOOOO “Dr.” Vic Snyder) begged churches, and proposed to many local businesses. But in the end, our efforts just did not quite cut it. In a scary economic time, Planned Parenthood has been able to prevail. Up until this last year, they were only receive TWELVE DOLLARS to every ONE DOLLAR “abstinence” received…but I believe now they will getting that one dollar too.
Congrats to liberals-your lying talking point, much like “we can’t drill our way out of this”, “abstinence does not work” worked well for you.