AIM speaks out for teens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 5, 2003

The aim of AIM is much more far reaching than abstinence.

Although the primary purpose of Abstinence in Motion (AIM) is to encourage young people not to become sexually active until marriage, the program also emphasizes the importance of making good choices in all aspects of life, said Terry Watkins, AIM project director.

The AIM project serves Pike, Bullock, Barbour, Coffee and Crenshaw counties. Watkins said that, in all five counties, she is finding that students are responding in a very positive way to young speakers who talk to them about the benefits of making good choices in life and the consequences of the poor choices one makes.

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&uot;We recently had a young man from Dothan, who is senior at Samford and a premed student, to speak to groups in Barbour and Crenshaw counties,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;Josh Maddox has a real interest in helping other kids to make positive choices. He is an attractive, athletic, down-to-earth

kind of guy who speaks their language. And, he has a real heart for the messages we share through the AIM project. He cares about the community and he cares about the students.&uot;

Watkins said Maddox relates to young people in a way that adults sometimes can't.

&uot;He is a very positive role model,&uot; she said. &uot;When young people hear the message of abstinence and the need to make positive choices from someone like him, the messages have much more credibility, especially for the guys.&uot;

Part of Maddox's message to the young people was that the media too often creates a disjointed and erroneous way of life.

&uot;Josh told the students the media doesn't demonstrate the dark side of making poor choices in life or the consequences of such actions,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;He was emphatic in telling them that the choices they make can impact them for the rest of their lives.&uot;

Choices young people are faced with include sexual activity and drug and alcohol use.

Taking a cue from the success of speakers like Josh Maddox, Watkins said AIM is enlisting the support of Troy State University students.

&uot;We are bringing TSU athletes on board to speak to students about making choices in life,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;They are great role models. Their personal testimonies of how their lives changed for the better when they began making positive decisions have a positive impact.

And, there are those who have never been down that road. They share the successes that have come their way because of good decision-making.&uot;

Watkins said the guidance counselors in Barbour and Crenshaw counties said the response to Maddox's talks was very encouraging.

&uot;The students responded positively to what he had to say,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;He could relate to him and they could relate to him.&uot;

Maddox will speak to students in Pike County at a later date through AIM, but he is also available for church or school groups. For information about the AIM program or speakers call Watkins at 670-5261.