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CHHS program gets

$43,000 funding increase

By JAINE TREADWELL

Features Editor

Published Sept. 8, 1999

A program that AIMs to teach teens a lifestyle of integrity and self-control in their relationships has hit the bullseye with an unexpected additional funding increase from $35,000 to $78,000.

Terry Watkins, AIM director, said the local community had to come up with a 60 percent match which increased the value of the grant to $133,764.48.

This increase was attributed to community support, originality and extensive evaluation process of the AIM project, Watkins said.

The AIM in Pike County is to see high school students graduating with diplomas in their hands rather than babies.

AIM (Abstinence in Motion) is a county-wide abstinence education program cosponsored by Charles Henderson Child Health Center (CHCHC) and Edge Regional Medical Center through a five-year grant received from the Alabama Department of Public Health with collaboration with Troy State University.

The AIM Grant is now in its second year in Pike County. The first year more than 500 students in the Pike County school systems were exposed to the curriculum.

"All ninth graders in the city, county and private schools received classroom instruction by five trained AIM teachers," Watkins said. "Ten TSU students participated as peer mentors in the classroom while more than 65 community leaders were invited to attend the classroom sessions and share their relevant information."

The program was judged by school administrators in other counties to be so beneficial that they requested that the AIM program target their areas.

This year, the AIM project will be extended to four adjoining counties, Crenshaw, Coffee, Barbour and Bullock. The target group will also include seventh and ninth graders.

A regional training conference was held Aug. 26 at CHCHC for those interested in implementing a similar program in their schools with 35 attending.

Gary Brown, a national speaker, spoke on the topic of high-risk behaviors among teens and the need for teaching teens about abstinence in the areas of drug use and sexuality.

The AIM staff includes Sheri Labrant, Nur Abdur Rahmon, Sherry Starling, Missy Loving, Denese Flowers, Marilyn Harvey and Herbert Reynolds.

This year in the State of Alabama, there are about 20 other programs that received funding from the Alabama Department of Public Health for abstinence education programs.