Healthy Respect Begins Second Year of Inner-City Abstinence Education
Following a successful first year of teaching abstinence education to students in five high-needs public schools in New York City, Yonkers and Long Island, the Healthy Respect teaching teams are back in the classrooms this fall. Healthy Respect’s proven curriculum, designed by New York educators for New York students, teaches self-respect and healthy choices as a way to academic improvement and future success.
Surveys of students from the last school year show that the Healthy Respect classes
• Significantly raised the educational aspirations of the young men and women,
with many more students who completed the class saying they planned to finish high school.
• Students also indicated that the Healthy Respect curriculum provided them with the personal and interpersonal skills to make healthy choices regarding drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex and intimate relationships.
The Healthy Respect abstinence-until-marriage message, which conforms to the federal A-H guidelines for abstinence-only education, is presented in a positive way that is designed to affect all aspects of a student’s life, inside and outside the classroom. With two teaching teams, including one married couple, working in areas that report some of the area’s highest rates of teen pregnancy and school dropouts, the Healthy Respect program shows that no teen is beyond help and no social situation beyond repair.
The evaluation report for Spring 2004 showed that the majority of students in the five Healthy Respect schools welcomed the abstinence message and thought it will have a significant impact on their lives.
“The Spring Evaluation showed the impact the Healthy Respect program had on the students. The fact that so many young people in high-needs schools saw the importance of education in attaining their goals was an indication they understood that the choices they make clearly matter. The Healthy Respect instructors did an excellent job in creatively reaching out to young people with a message of hope that was relevant to the student's lives.” Dollene McLemore, Director of Curriculum and Programs.
Student and teacher evaluations of Healthy Respect’s first year also showed that although the abstinence message was new to many students in public intermediate and high schools, it is not alien to their hopes and goals in life. In fact, a common statement of students in class and in confidential surveys was that they wished the message of abstinence had been presented to them earlier.
“The class is very good, educational, and has truly helped me in my personal questions, which have been answered,” one student wrote. “I think that it should be mandated for this class to be in the curriculum because it’s very influential.”
The student added, “They really teach you a lot and make you think twice about things that may change your life.”