I’ve Made My Decision
A Heritage Upstate abstinence educator was encouraged as she looked at her class. Having only taught at this public high school once before, abstinence classes were relatively new to this school. After having sparsely attended classes last year, she hoped her larger classes this year were an indicator that it was well received by the students. The principal of the high school had contacted the director of Heritage Upstate, voicing concern over some risky behaviors among students at the school. Looking for a program to address those behaviors, she turned to Heritage’s risk avoidance model in hopes of raising the standard of behavior among the student body.
The Heritage Program is a prevention program which provides medically accurate information regarding sexual health. Funded by Title V abstinence education funds for South Carolina, the Heritage Upstate program leaves no question that abstaining from sexual activity outside of marriage is the healthiest and best choice for avoiding untimely pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The lessons and activities are interactive and designed to affect participants at an internal level, which is the most effective way to produce behavior change.
- Medically accurate information on sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
- Brainstorming sessions to help students understand the importance of boundaries.
- Demonstrations that help students understand the uniqueness of the marital relationship and why it is the safest place for sex.
- An interactive day helping students set character standards for healthy relationships.
- Role playing behavior skills to avoid risk.
On the last day of class, before the educator could even begin instruction, a boisterous, out going girl shot up her hand. What she had to say caught the Heritage educator off guard in the best possible way: “I want you to know that from here on out, I am going to be abstinent,” she proudly told the educator (and the rest of the class). Sitting next to her a friend snickered and gave her a little shove, saying “yeah, right!” The girl turned to her skeptical friend, and with a serious look on her face said, “I’m not joking. I’ve made my decision.” The educator marveled at this young girl’s courage to announce her decision publicly and stand firm, even in the face of negative peer pressure. At the end of class the student came to her desk for a commitment card. One by one the girls followed, taking cards as a sign of their commitment, until nearly the entire class had taken cards. As the educator left that day she was gratified knowing that the standard for the student body was being raised, one student at a time.
Heritage Community Services, 1757 Clements Ferry Road, Suite A, Charleston, SC 29492
(843) 654-7740 ext 119. Heritage@HeritageServices.org