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Healthy Respect Selected by Nassau County to Reduce Teen Pregnancies
Program brings together groups from diverse sides of abortion debate

Project REACH’s Healthy Respect Program has been chosen as a key partner in a groundbreaking program established by Nassau County that will provide nearly $1 million this year to reduce teen pregnancies in Long Island communities.

Announced on Tuesday (Feb. 7) by Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, the program brings together groups like Healthy Respect that teach young people abstinence in preparation for marriage, and organizations that advocate the use of contraceptives and legal abortion to combat teen pregnancy.

John Margand, executive director of Project REACH was at the press conference Tuesday announcing the grants for the program, which is part of Suozzi’s “Common Sense for the Common Good” initiative.

“We commend County Executive Suozzi for taking the concerns of the pro-life community seriously while seeking a principled way to establish common ground among those who differ passionately about the most divisive issue of our time,” Margand said. “It’s time for people on all sides of the abortion debate to collaborate constructively in dealing with the reality of teen pregnancy. We have been working effectively with underserved teens for six years, and we welcome the opportunity to expand our proven abstinence curriculum to schools in Nassau County.”

Healthy Respect will be working with the Life Center of Long Island, which received a $90,000 grant under the Nassau County program, to provide abstinence in preparation for marriage to public high school students in Westbury. The pro-life center has been operating on Long Island for 19 years, providing alternatives to abortion and other educational and social services to pregnant young women.

“We thank Lorraine Gariboldi, executive director of the Life Center, for choosing us as their partner in this important work,” Margand added. “We know we are working with a competent and compassionate organization that has been working for almost 20 years for the health and welfare of all women.”

Healthy Respect, which is headquartered in Manhattan, provides classroom and community-based abstinence education for teens. More than simply a curriculum, Healthy Respect trains its own instructors, who work in male-female teams to bring character-based abstinence education to underserved youth in the downstate region. The program, based on the concept of DO NO HARM (to yourself, to others and to your future), teaches students how to make healthy choices that will increase their chances for success in life.