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Alfred E. Smith Foundation Awards Healthy Respect a $56,000 matching grant for its proven abstinence education program
The grant will be used in the first year of a three-year Planning and Implementation Grant to develop and evaluate the abstinence education program in Yonkers, New York

New York (April 7th, 2005) -- Healthy Respect, New York’s character-based abstinence education program, has received a $56,000 matching grant from the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation to enhance its efforts to promote abstinence among students in the Yonkers Public Schools system. A portion of the funds will be used to develop a long-term tracking system to evaluate behavioral changes among students who participate in the program.

The foundation is named for the former four-term Governor of New York State, who was the Democratic presidential candidate in the 1920s. It is best known for its annual fund-raising dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan that attracts prominent national political figures as well as leading business and community leaders.

This is the second grant that the proven abstinence education program has received this year. Healthy Respect earlier received $40,000 for the spring semester from the Yonkers Board of Education and the City of Yonkers' Department of Community Development.

“We are grateful for the vote of confidence from the prestigious Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation and are anxious to use the funds to improve the long-term evaluation process of Healthy Respect,” said John P. Margand Esq., executive director of the New York abstinence program. “This grant not only underlines the effectiveness of our character-based curriculum, but also shows the confidence we all have in the students of the Yonkers schools to learn about healthy lifestyles and choices that will improve their prospects in life. Healthy Respect is all about better lives through better choices.”

The grant will be used for the Healthy Respect programs based in Yonkers at Gorton High School and Commerce Middle School where the curriculum has been taught for the past two years in close collaboration with the Yonkers Public Schools’ Medical Magnet program. The Medical Magnet Program, with its unique focus on preparing young students for careers in the medical professions, has been an ideal partner for program, which focuses not only on the negative consequences of risky sexual behaviors, but also on the positive aspects of character formation essential for achieving healthy family relationships and long- term professional goals.

Since 2003, the program has reached over 1000 students in six schools with a life-saving, life-affirming message. The schools have a high percentage of “at-risk” students who benefit greatly from the curriculum that stresses the theme “DO NO HARM” (to yourself, to others, or to your future). The Healthy Respect classes have improved attendance among students, according to Yonkers educators.

The program has many unique features. Healthy Respect hires and trains its own classroom teachers in male-female teams who file a report with the executive director and curriculum advisor after each class. Instant evaluation and analysis are possible, so teachers can incorporate suggestions into the very next classroom meeting.

An independent researcher is employed to administer confidential student evaluations at the beginning and at the end of the school semester. This gives Healthy Respect an unmatched level of scientific analysis of the program’s success, and locates areas for improvement.