March 2005: Abstinence

Training Abstinence Educators Married People are Healthier  Adults telling teenagers to hold off on sex before marriage is nothing new, but the high rate of STDs and pregnancy is prompting a growing number of people into abstinence education… TRAINING ABSTINENCE EDUCATORS — Despite their passion, educators sometimes do not always have the information, resources and know-how to craft an effective message, and many are asking for help. FL state officials are responding to the demand by offering free training seminars throughout the state aimed at helping educators get informed. “Abstinence educators want a level playing field,” said Vickie-Jean Mullins, director of the state’s abstinence education program. “They want the training that gives them the skills, the data and the approaches to be effective.” The state’s abstinence program, which is based with the FL Department of Health, is offering a dozen training seminars in several FL cities this year. About 30 people turned out for an 8-hour training session in Sarasota, including youth group leaders, teen advocates and health educators. State trainer Mike Worley, who also trains abstinence educators in 2 other states, reeled off statistics on STDs, discussed the federal guidelines that abstinence educators must follow and shared classroom activities that emphasize the consequences of premarital sex. To demonstrate the emotional consequences of premarital sex, he placed a strip of tape around the arm of one of the educators and then asked him to pull it off. “Kids want to know about abstinence,” Worley told the abstinence educators. “When they have sex, they wish they hadn’t. We need to give them more information to help them wait.” In FL,...