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Yonkers Public Schools and City of Yonkers Award Healthy Respect $40,000 Matching Grant for successful Abstinence Education Program
Healthy Respect celebrates first year of Classroom Teaching Teams, reaching more than 1,000 students with interactive, character-based abstinence education

When educators see firsthand the success of Healthy Respect among students, they give their wholehearted support to the proven abstinence program. They know that Healthy Respect, a curriculum developed for New York’s youth, improves school attendance and provides students with the information and support they need to make healthy choices and avoid behaviors that can hurt academic achievement and future performance.

The lesson of Healthy Respect in Yonkers, New York, underlines all these facts. The city’s Board of Education and Bureau of Community Development granted the Healthy Respect abstinence program $40,000 for the spring semester. The grant was awarded in February, just as Healthy Respect celebrated the completion of its first year with full-time teaching teams.

Healthy Respect teaches abstinence in direct collaboration with the Yonkers Medical Magnet Program at Gorton High School and Commerce Middle School. 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.

Fern Eisgrub, Director of Magnet Programs for Yonkers Public Schools, called the relationship with Healthy Respect “a great partnership.”

Healthy Respect teachers are very well trained and have credibility with the students,” she said. “They are a model for trusted adults. Kids today desperately need information on growth and development and making good decisions. Healthy Respect meets a critical need,” she concluded.

Written comments that students have given to Healthy Respect teachers also tell a story of success:

                    ** “This class is great for learning about the real world.”

                    ** “I learned a lot about respecting myself.”

                    ** “I like it better than any other class.”

One student summed up the Healthy Respect message perfectly:

                    ** “I learned a lot and will be careful about what I do with sex, and what I
                          do with other people. I also will wait to have sex until after I am

The Healthy Respect Difference
The male-female classroom teaching teams make for the Healthy Respect difference. Healthy Respect recruits, hires, trains and supervises its own staff of teachers who file daily reports after each class as part of an ongoing evaluation of the program. This unique arrangement makes Healthy Respect accountable, adaptable and focused on excellence in the classroom, where the teaching experience counts the most.

Healthy Respect also employs the skills of an independent researcher who evaluates confidential student surveys that are administered before and after the classes. The evaluations document the changes in attitudes and behavior among students who take the class, and provide the foundation for tracking long-term behavior change.

In addition to the schools in Yonkers, Healthy Respect’s teaching teams present the character-based curriculum in schools in Brooklyn and Long Island.

Overall, the Healthy Respect program has reached more than 1,000 students during the past two years.