Respect Media Release
New York Mayor and Schools Superintendent
Support Abstinence Education Program
Peer Educators Honored at Parent Teen Event
Yonkers, New York (April 25, 2008) --
The Mayor of New York State's fourth largest city and the Superintendent
of Schools came together last Wednesday to honor Healthy Respect Peer
Educators who successfully completed twenty hours of intense training
in preparation for their work with fellow student in promoting abstinence
and other healthy choices. The peer educators focus on subjects such
as communicating with parents, fostering healthy relationships,and countering
harmful media messages regarding sexual activity and violence.
Yonkers Mayor Philip Amicone and Yonkers Public Schools Superintendent
Bernard Pierorazio presented these same students with $500 scholarships
toward higher education. The scholarships are funded by Healthy Respect
through an abstinence education grant administered by the Abstinence
Education Division of the Family Youth Services Bureau of the Administration
for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Amicone, a long-time proponent of abstinence education, praised
the Healthy Respect program and emphasized the impor-tance of promoting
He also spoke about the close links between teen sexual activity and
other risky behaviors, including gang violence.
Earlier in the day he and Superintendent Pierorazio, along with the
Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett and other community leaders,
released the city's Juvenile Crime Prevention Plan. The strategic action
plan, said Mayor Amicone, "is the result of the hard work and efforts
of representatives from our police department, public schools, city
officials, service providers and other community advocates. It shows
how we can come together to be proactive in preventing juvenile crime
in our city."
Superintendent Pierorazio spoke directly to the Healthy Respect
Peer Educators, praised their achievements and made clear that they
are raising goals and expectations for all students. He also pointed
out that although many of the honorees come from undeserved neighborhoods
in southwest Yonkers, "they find themselves as the first in their families
to be accepted to our nation's best colleges and universities. They
are the hope for our future, and an integral part of the Yonkers Renaissance.
Their remarkable achievements are due, in no small measure, to the unique
partnership that the Yonkers Public Schools have forged with the Healthy
Respect program during the past three years through the federally-funded
Community Based Abstinence Education Program."
Fern Eisgrub, Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment
for the Yonkers Public Schools accepted the 2008 Healthy Respect
Appreciation Award from John Margand, Esq., Healthy Respect's Chief
Eisgrub is someone who really cares for the children," noted Mr. Margand.
"She is an educational professional who wants these children to succeed
and does everything she can to make sure that they have a chance to
do so. Her expertise has been indispensible in maximizing the positive
impact of abstinence education resources within the school district."
The awards presentation launched the dynamic and interactive Healthy
Respect Parent-Teen Event, part of an ongoing effort to foster
parent-child communication about sex, while supporting parents in their
role as the primary educators of their children in this vital area.
About 85 students and parents took part in the event, which featured
high-energy presentations by popular abstinence speakers Rashida Jolley,
a singer and former Miss District of Columbia, and Mark Tatum,
who is music director of the rock band Challenge. Ms. Jolley
spoke to the teen girls while Mr. Tatum addressed the teen boys.
Mr. Margand engaged parents separately in his presentation, "Talking
to Your Teen About Sex." He cited studies demonstrating the impact
of parents on the sexual behavior of their children. "Despite a common
misperception that peers and the media are the strongest influences
on young people," said Mr. Margand, "teens still look to their parents
for ultimate guidance. It is mostly when parents fail to communicate
their values and expectations that teens turn to peers and the media
for answers," he added.
"We are deeply grateful to Mayor Amicone and to Superintendent Pierorazio
for their support of the program and for recognizing its role in the
Yonkers renaissance," said Mr. Margand. "The strong and growing participation
by parents in the program gives us great hope for the next generation,"
About Healthy Respect:
The Healthy Respect
curriculum for students in grades 7 through 12 is
designed to guide young people in making good
choices and set them on a safe course toward
success. With age-appropriate lessons, it engenders
healthy perspectives regarding the use of alcohol,
tobacco and other drugs, and promotes abstinence in
preparation for marriage by illustrating the power
and delicacy of the human reproductive system, while
fostering attitudes of self-respect and
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