Kornerstone brings abstinence education to local teens

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Lisa Miller, Kornerstone teen advocate, and Jason Mackey, Cassville First Baptist Church youth minister, served as instructors for the Choosing the Best abstinence education program at Cassville Middle School this year. Pictured above, from left, are: Mackey and Miller.

Kornerstone, Inc., of Shell Knob has partnered with Missouri State University to offer the abstinence-focused curriculum Choosing the Best to students at the Cassville and Southwest school districts. During the 2012-13 school year, 86 Cassville Middle School seventh and eighth and over 100 ninth grade students at Southwest took part in the program.

"Kornerstone is so pleased to be the catalyst in bringing this evidence-based abstinence-centered education to teens in Cassville and Southwest schools," said Marlene Whitham, Kornerstone director. "I will continue to advocate for additional local schools to be included in the opportunity to receive this curriculum when funds are available.

The Choosing the Best program is designed to educate teens on the health advantages of delayed sexual activity and empower them to make healthy choices in order to reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

The program provides five age-appropriate, easy to use, dynamic and engaging lesson plans. Short videos, real life case studies, role play activities, interactive exercises and small-group discussions are also used to create a learning environment that encourages self-discovery.

"I was so impressed with the maturity of the Cassville seventh and eighth graders who attended the abstinence education program," said Lisa Miller, who serves as a local Choosing the Best instructor. "The kids were surprisingly open and receptive about the topics we covered. By the end of our nine days together, all of the young people understood the consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage and had the realization that sex is a serious matter in their lives."

Miller, who also serves as Kornerstone's teen advocate, served as the abstinence education instructor for girls classes at Cassville. Jason Mackey, Cassville First Baptist Church youth minister, served as the boys' instructor at the R-4 District.

Classes offered at Southwest were taught by the district's health instructors.

"We did the program with ninth graders, and we hope to do it again in the fall," said Stacey Hopper, Southwest High School counselor. "The curriculum was great. The teachers really liked it, and the instructors who came and presented information did a fantastic job."

Both school districts plan to offer the abstinence based education again during the 2013-14 school year. The program is funded through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and administered by the Missouri State University Abstinence Education Program (AEP).

For more information on the program, call Carrie Lines, Missouri State University AEP coordinator, at 417-836-5442 or 417-827-5689.

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