Kentucky: A Youth Sex Education Program That Gets Results
June 10, 2010
Gilt Edge Baptist Church in Jeffersonville, about an hour east of Lexington, has what it says is a winning strategy for providing effective sex education to area teens.
"We're open to everything that will help keep our children safe," said Shajuana Motley, the church's youth minister and wife of its pastor, the Rev. Douglass Motley.
Shajuana brings in experts from Planned Parenthood to deliver a curriculum that addresses date rape, unhealthy relationships, sex abuse, and pressure to engage in sexual activity. Her directive is to provide "the real, raw truth," including instruction on how to put on a condom. Teen mothers and those with HIV talk to the youths.
"Although we need to teach 'thou shalt not,' there are those who aren't listening to 'thou shalt not,' and they're dying from sexually transmitted diseases, or they're becoming teen parents," Shajuana said.
About 50 teens completed the seminar last year, and Shajuana said none has become pregnant or contracted an STD. She said she is confident that the church's youth ministers would know if the teens ever did run into such problems. "[The youths] know they can talk to the youth ministry team or the youth workers about anything," she said.
Shajuana has been youth minister since July 2009, but the church's sex education program dates back at least 16 years. She recalls only one family that declined to allow their children to attend. The Motleys' daughter participated last year.
Shajuana describes the comprehensive sex education the church provides as part of a larger mission to address all of a person's challenges. "If we talk about the spirituality, we should talk about all the other [things] that affect us as individuals," she said. "We shouldn't stay stuck on sex."
Courier Journal (Louisville)
06.09.2010; Mariam Williams
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