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[excerpted from “Aim for Success with the A-Team”, Aim for Success]

Morning Announcement 30- & 60-second skits – Have students write short “skits” that 2-3 students perform, regarding “Did You Know” items about STDs, AIDS, and the benefits of abstinence.

Newspaper Articles – Students can write informative, researched articles, and letters to the editor, for the school or local newspapers. These articles can expound on the medical realities of STDs & AIDS, and on the importance of strong character traits and abstinence.

Find an Accountability Partner – Encourage students to find an adult they look up to, respect, and can talk to [a parent, relative, neighbor, church or community leader] about their dreams and goals, and about their commitment to strong character and sexual abstinence. This adult should be one who will encourage the student to set short and long-term goals, and who will make sure the goals are met.

Design or Select a Symbol – Have students select a piece of jewelry (ring, necklace, plastic bracelet, etc.) which they can all wear as an outward sign of their commitment to sexual abstinence.

Sign a Commitment Card – Each year, students should have the opportunity to sign a one-year pledge to sexual abstinence until marriage. Results from the AddHealth national gov’t study showed that students who sign virginity pledge cards are less likely to become sexually active (Journal of American Medical Assoc. JAMA, 10Sept97, and many recent studies).

Be Prepared – Having sexual thoughts and desires is normal and natural. No one should feel guilty about these desires; however, gaining control over these thoughts and desires is the KEY to remaining sexually abstinent until marriage. Help students to understand this, to learn how to drop these thoughts/desires by getting involved in helpful activities (service projects, volunteering at a hospital, nursing home, or pregnancy resource center, mowing lawns, weeding a garden, painting a fence or porch, etc.), and to be prepared to deal with difficult situations. Staying busy & being helpful to others are key solutions to avoiding sexual occasions and maintaining sexual control.

Discuss the Benefits – lead a discussion on the fantastic benefits of waiting until your wedding night [ex. freedom from STDs, no emotional scars, the ability to learn the art of being great lovers together, and forever.

Encourage Secondary Virginity – This is a group of people, with different pasts, committed to developing strong character and a chaste lifestyle from this day forward. Remind students that any of their friends who are sexually active could join the A-Team at any time. It’s never too late to choose the best for your life!

Understand the Difference Between Love and Infatuation – Hold a discussion comparing the difference between love and infatuation.

Design a T-Shirt Contest – Let students design the shirts and invite community businesses to pay for the printing so each student gets their designed shirt.

Design Posters – Students design posters about character traits and their importance in dating and in building strong friendships. Then, display the posters in protected areas around the school.

Critique Magazine Articles, TV, and Movies – Help students see how magazines (such as Seventeen & June 1996 edition of Cosmopolitan) often encourage sexual activity. Help them to think critically while watching TV and movies, and to see the positive and negative messages, as well as the hidden messages.

Critique Clothes – Using pictures from magazines, let a couple of young men explain why some clothes girls think are stylish are actually very seductive. Girls especially need to understand that men are visual, and that much of the present day clothing exposes their bodies to sexual scrutiny by male minds. Be careful that the photos themselves do not put male students in titillating situations. Again, if you have articulate students willing to talk with younger students, modesty in dress would be a great topic!

Sexual Myths – discuss these myths:
“Oral sex and anal sex are safe; they are not sex” – They are NOT safe and ARE sex. The chances of getting pregnant may be reduced, but STDs/STIs can be transmitted in the mouth, throat, and anal area. Also, if fluids containing sperm enter the vaginal area, pregnancy can still occur.
“If we just don’t ‘go all the way’, we will be “safe”. – No, they aren’t. A girl can get pregnant even without penetration (as above). If the semen that carries sperm is near the vaginal opening, pregnancy could happen. Many STDs [HPV, Herpes II] can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, without fluid.
“If we use contraceptives, we will be safe.” – Discuss various “contraceptives” (i.e. birth control) and their failure rates for pregnancy and STDs. Remember too, no form of birth control protects the heart.

Discuss the Natural Progression of Sexual Involvement – passion always begins with passionate kissing. Once they begin to kiss passionately, their bodies and minds are preparing for sexual intercourse. It’s very easy to move to the next step once they are involved in hot and heavy kissing. Urge students to consider a kiss as something very special and something not to be given away casually or thoughtlessly.

Date Rape – What is it? How does it happen? What can a girl do to help avoid date rape? What should she do if she is raped?

Differences in Men and Women – Make a list of the differences and talk about things such as: Men play at love to get sex while women play at sex to get love. Men are visual; women are tactile.

Invite Outside Speakers – especially those who have made good choices and excelled, such as beauty queens, business owners, and community leaders. Physicians could speak about the physical and emotional damage they see in people who make poor choices, including the real dangers of STDs.

Etiquette and Modeling Lessons – Help build students’ self-image by inviting a speaker to teach proper etiquette for meals, or specifically to provide modeling lessons for girls.

Purity Ball – The Purity Ball Planner contains everything you need to know to host a successful event. Setting a budget, selecting a speaker, finding entertainment, and decorating ideas are just some of the areas covered by this all-purpose planner. The Purity Ball Planner even includes space to write notes as you organize your event! This fantastic event reaches to the heart of young women, teaching the benefits of abstinence until marriage and encouraging purity in a way that will be remembered forever.  Price: $25.00  — a small price to help our kids stay pure and avoid so much pain…

Prepare Older Students to Become Positive Role Models – Train up older students to set good examples for the younger students. If you find exceptional students who are articulate, highly motivated, and totally committed to abstinence and a chaste lifestyle, allow them to
with younger students about why character counts, about the importance of saving sex for marriage, and about setting goals for the future.

After Game Activities – Sponsor parties after football and basketball games for students to have fun in a safe place without the worry of drugs/alcohol.

Make a “Spouse To Be” List – Encourage students to make a list of “Qualities I Want in my Spouse”. Then, invite the students to get in groups to share their list, and to add other qualities they hear to their own list. Then, provide each student with an envelope in which to place his/her Qualities List, seal it, and put his/her name on the envelope. You may either give the students the envelopes to put in a visible location in their homes, or keep them and return them to the students the following year to open, review, and discuss again.

Write a Love Letter – Invite each student to write a love letter to their future spouse (who they may not yet even know). (Try to provide them with attractive stationery.) In the letter, they should explain why they have made a commitment to save the gift of sex for this future spouse in their forever marriage. They sign the letter, date it, and seal it in an envelope. Then, let them take it home and place it in a safe place until their wedding night. Abstinence training generally began in the early 1990s, so many couples have now married and given each other their Love Letters and/or chastity rings on that special day.
Consider the Difference – Studies now show that there is a difference between the character of teens who have sex and those who choose to postpone sex. When a person chooses abstinence, s/he is building self-control, self-respect, and self-discipline. These strong character qualities spread to all areas of that person’s life.

Creative Date Ideas – Through the school year, come up with a list of creative date ideas – fun activities to do, preferably in groups. Each month, put a creative date idea in the local or school newspaper. See the webpage on this site for Creative Dating.

Develop Refusal Skills with Role-Playing – Have students make a list of “common lines” they hear pressuring for sex, drugs, or alcohol [ex. “Come on, just one drink won’t hurt you”; “If you loved me, you would have sex with me”; “Come on, everyone’s doing it”; “We won’t go all the way;, but let’s just mess around”]. Then, through role-playing, practice refusal skills. Do this often, so it is not a stiff and forced process, but a pro-active event.

Mentoring – for students with little home support, consider a weekly or monthly mentoring program between an adult mentor and 2-3 students of the same sex as the mentor.

Goal Setting – Help students understand the importance of setting goals for their future. Encourage them to talk about their career goals/dreams. Then, have them write down what they could be doing now to accomplish their goals. Urge them to work on long-term goal planning (5, 10 year goals) and short term goal planning (1 year, 1 semester, 1 month) in order to achieve the long-term goals.
     Have students locate an adult in that particular profession and ask them specific questions regarding that line of work; then, they will report back to the group about the career. This will help the particular student, and others who may also be interested in that career. They will learn how important it is to stay focused on their goals, and not get side-tracked with poor choices.

Preparing for College – Find a motivated and articulate college student to talk with middle school and high school students about college life. Prepare them for the drinking and sexual activity on campus. Let them know about the “good” groups on campus with which they can connect to protect themselves from negative peer pressure, and to continue moving forward to their goals. Review avoidance and refusal skills. Have counselors discuss basic requirements for college and financial aid. Let students again write down their goals and realizable dreams and their short and long-term goal planning. As they gain more knowledge through speakers and research, they should compare their initial short and long-term plans with these newer ones so they can fine-tune and become more highly motivated with a mental map of how to achieve all their future school, career, and relationship goals.

Beware of Credit Cards – High school students urgently need to understand the financial dangers of going into debt! Teach students about planning/maintaining a budget, balancing a checkbook, saving money, and avoiding credit cards (and check cards).

Note of Encouragement – as your students go to college, have your present students write letters to them to encourage them to hold fast to their principles and goals. Freshman year of college can be a very tough time for students, who will be under new levels of negative peer pressure and the desire to “fit in”; these letters may very well protect many students from succumbing to sexual & drug/alcohol activities.

Test Your Commitment – Offer students the “Test Your Commitment” challenge below, to determine their commitment to sexual abstinence.

Test Your Commitment

1. Can you quickly list at least 5 reasons why you are committed to sexual abstinence before marriage?
2. Are you proud of your commitment to sexual abstinence?
3. Do your friends, family, and those you date know about your commitment to sexual abstinence?
4. Do you dress stylishly without being seductive?
5. Do you strive to be modest in your speech, and in your actions, as well as in your dress?
6.  Do you have an accountability partner, someone you respect, someone who will encourage you to strive for excellence?
7. Have you set definite boundaries for “how far is too far?” (recognizing that if you have to ask, it’s too far). Are you willing to accept hand-holding and a simple good-night kiss as “enough”?
8. Do you have high standards for the type of people you will date/group date with?
9. Do you have a plan of action for those times when you are feeling weak?
10. Do you avoid drugs and alcohol? Abstinence requires always being in control, not temporarily losing control.
11. Do you know how to have fun while avoiding compromising situations?
[adapted from “Aim for Success with the A-Team”, Aim for Success]