The abstinence program, funded by federal grant money, is offered to the Tuscola County area schools. This is a curriculum based program using “Choosing The Best” for 6th through 9th grade students. 

The goal is to increase the number of youth who abstain from sexual activity and other risky behaviors by educating and informing teens about the benefits of remaining abstinent. The program provides medically accurate and informative sexual education and interpersonal skills to help prepare teens to become healthy adults and educators of tomorrow’s children. 

It covers areas such as values and goal setting, decision-making, healthy relationships, coping with social pressures, setting boundaries, assertiveness and refusal skills, and avoiding pregnancy and STDs. The students view video clips chronicling the lives of real teens and their early involvement in pre-marital sexual activities as well as participate in various relative activities to help reinforce the lessons and consequences of bad choices. 

The abstinence program also tries to involve parents, seeking to increase the necessity of communication between youth and adults on the topic. The program encourages parental involvement by having parents share their beliefs and values in an effort to help their children begin thinking about choosing the best path for healthy sexuality and living. 

With abstinence being the only guaranteed way to remain STD and pregnancy free, it is the best program offered and statistically proven to be working. 

February is teen dating violence awareness month

Dating abuse is a big problem affecting youth in every community across the nation. One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Abuse is not just about hitting though, it can be as visible as bruises and physical violence or as subtle as name calling and controlling who someone talks to; online or otherwise. Young people are especially vulnerable to dating violence, with females ages 16-24 being more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group.  Among young women ages 14-17, eighty percent of all girls who have been physically abused in their relationships continue to date their abuser, with only 1 in 5 female high school students reporting the abuse. 

Everyone deserves a healthy relationship and should expect to be treated with respect. Everyone deserves to be loved and cared about without having to deal with abuse or violence. Abuse can happen to anyone, including people who are smart, strong and popular. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are also at risk of dating violence. A relationship can be abusive even if you have good times together. Abusive relationships don’t always start out that way; they can become abusive over time. Violence often starts with little things that can be denied, ignored or forgiven. But from there, a pattern of violence can grow quickly.  People don’t always recognize the early signs of an abusive relationship, which usually begin with verbal and emotional abuse. If you feel like something is wrong in your relationship, take it seriously. Abuse won’t just go away. Be sure you know the signs and watch for them. If you think a friend is being abused, offer your support and ask how you can help. People who are being abused often don’t realize it is abuse or talk about it; possibly due to shame, embarrassment or fear. Do NOT keep abuse a secret. The sooner you notice potential dating violence, the easier it is to get help. Talk to a friend, family member, religious leader, health care provider or counselor, or call your local crisis line or national domestic violence hotline. Listed below are some helpful websites, detailing the signs and facts of dating abuse, along with some crisis centers and hotlines.



  • www.cic.gov/violence prevention
  • www.loveisrespect.org
  • www.futureswithoutviolence.org
  • www.rainn.org
  • www.talkwithyourkids.org/violence


Crisis Centers and Hotlines

  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:  866-331-9474
  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Hotline:  800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Domestic violence Hotline:  800-799-SAFE (7233)