AIM targets patience, abstinence in teens

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2000

Staff Writer

April 5, 2000 10 PM

"I’m worth waiting for."

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That’s the message Pike County’s Abstinence Education Project is trying to get out to students in the area.

Abstinence in Motion is designed to teach seventh and ninth graders in Pike, Crenshaw, Bullock, Barbour and Coffee County schools that the "right" decision is to abstain from sex until marriage.

With the rate of babies born to teen mothers on the rise, AIM takes sex education and character education to the schools.

AIM is designed to: lower the pregnancy rate among teenagers, reduce the number of teens having sexual intercourse, decrease the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among teens and lowering the abortion rate of those between 15 and 17.

The programs teaches social, psychological and health benefits of abstaining from sexual activity.

"I didn’t realize just how significant this problem is," said David Long of Edge Regional Medical Center, which co-sponsors the program with the Charles Henderson Child Health Center.

"It’s one of the most important health issues in our backyard," Long said.

In an effort to get the message "I’m worth waiting for" through to students, AIM will be sponsoring "Doll’s," a play to help reduce teen pregnancy.

The play being produced by Pike County 4-H students will be at Goshen High School on Apr. 20 and Charles Henderson Middle School on May 11, said AIM director Terry Watkins.

"Nationally, 48 percent of teens are sexually active by the time they’re in the ninth grade.

AIM’s goal is to make an impact on that 52 percent who aren’t sexually active and reverse the decision of those who are by promoting renewed virginity.

She said AIM doesn’t just tell students to "say ‘no’" to sex, but gives them the tools to do so, such as promoting self-control and self-respect.

"We do know safe sex isn’t working, so what’s the next thing," Watkins said, adding abstinence is the only other and best choice.

In order to make the program possible, Watkins relies on grant money, along with financial and other donations, such as time and services.

Anyone who wants to help the program can contact Watkins at 670-5261.