Character, not condoms

Character, not Condoms E-Newsletter, September-October 2007

From L to R; Marcus Barnes-Bowie State U., Milton-Eastern SHS, Rita Sinha-Ms. DC International, Lakia-Eastern SHS and Nicole-Eastern SHS.

View all of the photos in the Photo Gallery here.

        School Coordinators and STAR Guide Mentors needed: ULTRA Teen Choice is currently seeking School Coordinators and STAR Guide Mentors to staff the program for the 2007 to 2008 School Year. The need for this work is urgent. Washington, DC has the highest rate of HIV infection of any city in the nation, almost one out of every 50 adults is infected. Furthermore, over 50% of new HIV infections are in the black community, with almost 70% of new cases among women being in the black community. Roughly 1 in every 100 DC youth ages 13 to 24 is infected with HIV or has full-blown AIDS.

ULTRA Teen Choice provides classroom HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy prevention education, classroom mentoring by peer counselors, and ULTRA Teen Choice Service Club meetings to support and empower participating youth.

School Coordinators work at one of five school sites to provide ULTRA Teen Choice Service Club meetings, classroom presentations, and peer counseling. This is a volunteer position which involves six to eight hours per week. STAR Guide mentors assist the School Coordinators, and work two hours per week. A $10 per day transportation allowance is provided. Please see http://www.ultrateenchoice.org for position descriptions. Training is required for volunteers. (See immediately following)

Volunteer and Community Training: Classroom presentation, peer counseling & program training required for volunteers & recommended for all interested parents and community members
October 13th, 2007; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Howard University
Burr Gymnasium, Room 2013
Washington, DC  20009
Call 202-544-5081
for more information.
No charge, suggested $10 donation for course materials and $5 for lunch. Register Here
Follow Up training for School Coordinators only:
Sunday, October 14th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location on Capitol Hill to be announced. Register Here
Register by Wednesday, October 10th.

STOP HIV/AIDS Youth Empowerment Meeting: introducing ULTRA Teen Choice youth and the work of ULTRA Teen Choice to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and help DC youth succeed.
Tuesday, October 2nd, and every first Tuesday.
at the Urbans
250 14th St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.ultrateenchoice.org, or call 202-544-5081, or email rurban@ultrateenchoice.org.

The I am Abstinence Working video which premiered at the 2007 Reality Check Free Fundraising Breakfast is now online
at www.ultrateenchoice.org. Hear testimonies of ULTRA Teen Choice youth about why abstinence works for them and about how the ULTRA Teen Choice program makes a difference in their lives.

District of Columbia Public Schools propose teaching 6th graders about sexual orientation: The District of Columbia Public Schools have released a draft of new Health Learning Standards.

There is much that is good about the standards.  The majority of the material is appropriate in terms of age and learning standards.  However, there are serious flaws in the materials.  The standards lack an overarching directive approach that seeks the best for our youth by encouraging them to abstain from sex before marriage.  Youth should be asked, encouraged and supported to live up to the highest standards, not expected to fall to the lowest ones.

According to the 2005 YRBSS, 52% of Washington DC high school youth have never had sexual intercourse, down 16% in just 2 years! And 76% of middle school students have never had sexual intercourse down 9% in just 2 years.  Shouldn’t we encourage this positive trend, instead of rushing to provide ever more condoms (like the 1,000,000 condoms campaign) to any one who wants one.

 Considering that the District of Columbia government has been, and continues to emphasize distributing condoms as the primary method of HIV prevention, and that DC has one of the highest rates of HIV infection of any similar sized city in the nation, it hardly makes sense to emphasize more of the same. Read more
Let your voice be heard: Answer our brief survey about whether DCPS should be teaching about sexual orientation and whether abstinence from sex before marriage should be the expected standard for school youth. Take the survey here.
Contact Deborah Gist, State Education Agency Director, School Board Members, and City Council Members The city council now has authority over the DC public schools. The State Education Agency, which includes the School Board, oversees education standards.
Contact School Board Members
Contact City Council

Washington Informer religion writer Lyndia Grant interviewed ULTRA Teen Choice youth at the August STOP HIV/AIDS meeting. Grant writes

"Milton Meza, another member of this group said, “There’re not enough people out here with good advice, and there’s lots of peer pressure. I don’t want to have babies early and have to work two jobs when I can barely support myself. I don’t want my Mom to support my child. I want to take responsibility.” 
Nicole Jefferson, another member, said “I’m around others like me who have also chosen a celibate lifestyle, so I don’t feel any different. I’m not ready for the responsibility required for kids, and I don’t want kids to stop me from my goals.”
Richard and Stacey Urban, founders of “Ultra Teen Choice,” have as their slogan, “Character, not condoms.”  During the recent presentation held at the Urban’s home, astounding statistics were given about the District of Columbia on the latest status of HIV/AIDS" You can read her report at www.ultrateenchoice.org. Select "News and Issues" on the left. Or view the article on the Washington Informer website here.

Donate to ULTRA Teen Choice

 View the Reality Check Video: The video is superb!  I am really touched and inspired by the work you are committed to. I wish such a program existed when I was at Kramer. The mission and purpose is nothing but positive. The best things in our world sometimes seem to get the least support.  But I know that this program will expand and reach those who make it happen as well as those whom you service. Montrella Cowan: Catholic University Student and Kramer Middle School alumni.
Watch the Reality Check video by clicking here.