A program of the Northern Hills Pregnancy Care Center here, and funded by federal and state grants, the Stop and Think (www.stopthinksd.net) program is designed to encourage middle school and high school students to delay sexual activity until marriage, explained Alisha Vincent, the South Dakota program director.
Based on testimonies from students and teachers, her
presentation rings true - not only because it is biblically based, but because she
, and the program's other presenters, are honest with students.
I think Alisha
has a way of putting the students at ease with a very difficult topic."Vincent
says the reason is simple.She's
been there."I am a firm believer in the statement that what the enemy has tried against you, God can turn around and use for His
insisted, "Young girls and boys are blinded about the truth about sexuality.
That shouldn't be surprising, said Vincent
acknowledged that some parents may at first be nervous about what is going to be presented, so they'll invite them to a presentation to see what they're child will be experiencing.The parent will respond, ‘Wow, this is good.' They are more than comfortable."
The program serves seventh- through 12th-graders in the area public schools.Presentations begin with sixth-graders on the Native American reservations, because said Vincent
, "The exposure is much more prevalent with the native culture."
said the students, because the program is so interactive, are the first to acknowledge that the culture, through television, magazines, peer pressure and other influences, is teaching that pre-marital sex is not only acceptable, it's expected.
When noting media influences, for example, the students will be asked what motive the media might have for promoting sex.The students will conclude the motive is profit."Then we talk about that motive," explained Vincent
."We'll ask if the motive is selfish or unselfish.Do they care about themselves or about you?"The students, she
said, will easily conclude that those motives are selfish.She
added that peers who say, "Everyone is doing it," also have selfish motives.Then, they'll talk about parents, pastors and others that encourage abstinence.The students will conclude that those people's motives are unselfish."They generate the answers.They really own the understanding of the influences."Vincent
said they also discuss the detrimental influence of drugs and alcohol and then share a real-life story, with the names changed, of someone who has made the wrong decisions because they've allowed those with selfish motives to influence them.
The presentation also includes questions that encourage the students to consider how they can control their own emotions, consider how poor choices will adversely impact their own life goals, and the pros and cons with every decision they make.
Presenters goes through an extensive training process than includes observing experienced presenters, reading a training manual, watching a training video, making and videotaping a mock presentation, having the mock presentation reviewed and evaluated, and then co-presenting with a seasoned presenter before doing presentations solo.Vincent
said, "We tell students we aren't going to be riding around with them.
, "The LISTEN presentation also reviews key aspects of the parent-child relationship during the teen years.