Right Choices Youth Prevention Corps

Supporter and parent Barbara Payne, Board member Yvonne Mckie, and Co-founders Richard & Stacey Urban met with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson today to propose formation and funding of a Right Choices Youth Prevention Corps in Washington, DC.  Chairman Mendelson was noncomittal, telling us that we should build more support from the Executive side, such as other Councilmembers or Public School officials.  Below is the text of the proposal.  Please let us know what you think by posting your comments.

Reducing Poverty by promoting Sexual Abstinence:
Outline for a Right Choices Youth Prevention Corps

Purpose:  To mobilize the 42 percent of youths in Washington DC who are abstaining from sexual intercourse to encourage even more youth to make right choices.  Twice as many DC high school youths are now abstaining as compared to 1991.

Need:  Washington DC has the highest rate of HIV infection in the nation, with 5.8% of all DC residents age 13 and older estimated to be living with HIV/AIDs.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Teens and young adults under the age of 30 continue to be at risk, with those between the ages of 13 and 29 accounting for 39% of new HIV infections in 2009, the largest share of any age group. Most young people are infected sexually.

Among young people, minorities have been particularly affected. Black teens represented 70% of new AIDS diagnoses among 13–19 year-olds in 2010; Latino teens represented 19%.

 If youths graduate from high school, don’t have a baby until they are married, and don’t marry as a teenager, there is an 8% chance that their child will live in poverty.  If they don’t follow any of these rules, there is a 79 percent chance that their child will live in poverty.

Cost Effectiveness:  Currently, the lifetime treatment cost of an HIV infection is estimated at $379,668.  1114 teen births in 2008 cost DC taxpayers at least $47,000,000.  Case management for one child in Foster Care costs more than $50,000 per year.  More youths waiting to have sex means more stable families in the future and fewer children entering the child welfare system.  If just one pregnancy is prevented and one HIV/AIDS infection is prevented each year, the program will more than pay for itself, considering the above stated figures.

 Background:  Urban Life Training raises youth leaders to develop good character and to model and teach about the benefits of sexual abstinence, in preparation for marriage and successful family formation.  We have provided classroom education for over 3000 DC public school youths, and have provided Urban Life Training Leadership Clubs to over 250 youths.  We have provided peer counseling for over 2000 DC youths.

 Outline of the Right Choices Youth Prevention Corps

Preparation:  Recruit a team of 5 to 10 youths per school who can be part of the Youth Prevention Corps at 12 DC public or public charter high schools during the 2013 to 2014 school year.  Work with each school’s Principal to provide Relationship Intelligence education to at least 200 youths at each school.

Prevention Training:  During the summer of 2014, provide a one week training program for between 60 and 120 youths interested in being on the Prevention Corps. 

Classroom Peer Counseling:  During the 2014 to 2015 school year, youth who have received training will provide peer counseling at their own school.  They may also partner with nearby middle schools to provide peer counseling for youths at those schools.

Special Events:  Right Choices Youth Prevention Corps members may also appear at assemblies or special events.

What we need:  Visionary leadership by the Council Chairman and Councilmembers to adopt this program as a DC Council special program, and to provide funding for the program.  

Compliance with DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education Health Standards

 High School Courses

Level 1

Sexuality, Reproduction & Health

L1.1.5 Describe the benefits of abstinence as the most effective means of contraception; then describe short-term and long-term consequences of adolescent sexual activity.

Level 2

Sexuality, Reproduction, & Health

L2.1.4 Describe short-term and long-term consequences of adolescent sexual activity, and the benefits of abstinence as the most effective means of contraception

Grade 6

Sexuality, Reproduction & Health

6.1.10 Explain the benefits of abstinence; postponing sexual behavior; and setting limits on sexual behavior

Grade 7

Emotional Health

7.1.2 Assess the effects of peer pressure and offer-effective ways to cope with negative influences and -bullying. 

Sexuality, Reproduction & Health

7.1.5 Describe short-term and long-term consequences of adolescent sexual activity, and the benefits of abstinence as the most effective means of contraception.

7.1.6 Differentiate healthy sexual behaviors (abstinence) from those that are harmful (date rape, sexual promiscuity); and identify barriers and supports.

7.1.8 Compare and contrast the major symptoms of most STIs, indicating that many have no symptoms, and explain the serious consequences of going untreated.

Grade 8

Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs

8.1.18 Discuss how the use of alcohol and other drugs impairs decision-making; increases the risk of violence; and places one at risk for sexual assault, pregnancy, and STIs.