Celebration of Purity caps 10 week STAR Interfaith Leadership Training Program

Five parents half a dozen youth and a dozen friends and relatives celebrated the successful completion of STAR Interfaith Leadership training by participating youths.  The ten week leadership training program concluded with a Celebration of Purity on April 17th, 2013 at the Emergence Community Arts Collective in Northwest Washington, DC.
The purpose of STAR Interfaith Leadership training is to raise youth to be leaders who are confident in their decision to remain sexually abstinent before marriage.  STAR Guide Francoise Ngue commented “What I like about the program is that God is for it.  You cannot go wrong if it’s God's will.  When you are not married you belong to God.  When you are married you belong to your spouse.  It goes with God's will.  I like the ring exchange.  When you wear it, it is a constant reminder that you cannot just go ahead.  I wish you had more kids participating.” (Register Now).  Youth learn about risk avoidance, goal setting, HIV prevention, and preparing for successful family life.  Assertiveness techniques are modeled and practiced.  Participants also get a basic understanding of spiritual growth, a deeper understanding of the Fall of Man, and insight into living a meaningful life.

One unique aspect of the program is that parents are invited to attend with their children.  All of the parents participated at times, and some came virtually every week, offering a unique opportunity to deepen the parent child bond.   Parents read a letter to their child at the celebration of purity.  Lisa Cruel-Medley shared in her letter to 16 year old Alexis, “Always be a leader and not a follower.  Peer pressure can be tough, but stay strong. “Teresa Price read to her sons Alan, age 18 and Amir, age 15, “I pray that you will focus on knowing yourselves and God and become the leaders that you were born to be, with good character. I pray that you continue your search for the truth and understand that through this message that we’ve had over the past 10 weeks to understand the holiness of sex and real relationships, and not what the secular world is teaching through film, music and advertising, etc.”  Monica Utsey shared in her letter to Zion “I pray that you will find a good wife, and that your marriage will glorify God.”  I want you to experience the joy of being excited about your first child as opposed to feeling sorrow that you have disappointed your parents.”


STAR Guide Francoise Ngue shared in her testimony; “[When] I was 19 years old I met the man of my dreams.  I mean, he was just perfect, charming.  And that’s the first time I was really, really tested.   So I prayed.  He gave me an ultimatum.  Hey, we can’t be together if we don’t have sex.  So, I’ll give you up by the end of the week if you don’t do that.”  She prayed and opened her Bible and challenged God to “show me right here right now where you don’t want me to have sex with this man” She opened her bible to First Corinthians Chapter 1, versus 5 and 6.  “I called that man and said ‘sex is supposed to be inside of marriage’.  He said “well we can do that and get married later.  I was wise enough to say, well, we cannot go sin first and go ask God’s blessing later, so let’s go ask God’s blessing first, and then it’s not going to be a sin.”  She concluded with “What you have to do for God, do it well, with tears, because your blessing depends on it.”

The celebration concluded with the Urban Life Training pledge and a Ginger ale Toast.  If you or your child would like to benefit from this program, you can register now for the next ten week session beginning on September 29th, 2013.  Register now and save 20% off the regular.


Evaluation excerpts from youth participating in the HIPREP program


Grade 8 female, attended 13 sessions:

I walked into this program thinking it could teach me nothing I didn’t already know.  This program has taught me things beyond my grasp of knowledge when it comes to relationships and abstinence.  Coming into my teenage years, I feel I’ve been taught what to watch out for and the important “do’s and don’ts”. 


Grade 9 female, attended 13 sessions:

I feel as though this program has taught me to be a better person and better prepared for pressures on sex and etc.  It has helped me to understand why you should wait.


Grade 10 male, attended 5 sessions:


I think that this information was very helpful to me because I didn’t understand what abstinence really does.


9th grade female, attended 12 sessions:


(The program) helped me to find more about myself that I never knew before, and it gives me a chance to actually learn the concept of sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS/HIV so I can know what to keep away from.   I never thought that I would learn or know this much about abstinence before.  …. I can focus more on my schoolwork as opposed to focusing on boys or females that are in my perspective that have had… sexual intercourse and I learned that I can manage to  stay focused as opposed to feeding into that type of lifestyle.



11th grade female, attended 10 sessions:


I would tell (other teens) that abstinence doesn’t suck, and  you won’t be left out of anything, and just because everybody’s doing it.. and going out and doing things like having sex and drugs and alcohol … you don’t have to do it, you can be your own person and you will feel good about yourself in the end.



YOUTH Awakening Abstinence Revolution Kicks Off

By Richard Urban


Servants Without Borders and ULTRA Teen Choice kicked off  the YOUth Awakening Abstinence Revolution campaign last week at Washington Family Church National Cathedral in northwest Washington, DC.  The kick off event featured a panel of five youth speaking out on the importance of sexual abstinence,   as well as several speakers and entertainment.


 Servants Without Borders founder and program emcee Lynura Jones pointed out that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV infection, accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13 to 24.  Ms Jones reported that earlier this year she thought:


“God, what is my purpose, how can I make a difference in the world?.... I’m 25 years old and I’ve been abstinent all my life,  and I praise God for keeping me, because that is my testimony.  I said, Lord, What do you want me to do?  He said, this time, Let’s start an abstinence revolution, because that is what the word has taught us, to be abstinent until marriage. We’re to save ourselves.  And I was like, wow God, if that’s the case we would end pregnancy, we would end HIV coming from safe sex and then we would abstain from drugs, abstain from things that cause us to harm ourselves, because our body is our temple.” …  “The Christian community, if no one else needs to stand up, because we have been quiet for way too long”.


Diane Sims Moore, executive director of Families First DC (formerly the DC Healthy Marriage and Relationship Coalition), pointed out that “It is clear that young people are getting mixed messages.  They hear messages in programs or in schools like be abstinent or use condoms, pick one; quite a choice.  We need a different message, we need to talk about; be abstinent and delay sexual activity as a means to eliminating the risk to getting infections from sexually transmitted disease. “


Program speaker Kristi Love founded STAAND (Students against Aids and for the Abolition of National Denial) while a graduate student at Howard University.  She said “We come together  in hope and belief that abstinence is one of the ways that we can stop HIV and AIDS”… If we say that sex is one of the main ways that HIV is transmitted, what can we do to stop it?  What can one person do to stop the spread of AIDS.  One person can say ‘I will get tested for HIV’, one parent can tell their children, ‘you are worth the wait’, one child, one teenager can believe and say ‘I am worth the wait’, another can say and believe ‘I am abstinence working’.  One young adult can talk with their significant other and say ‘I am waiting till marriage to have sex’, one virgin can remain abstinent until marriage, one person who is no longer a virgin, like myself, can choose to become abstinent and say no to sex.  …. “A person who really loves and  likes you has your best interest in mind.  I believe that when you have an open and honest discussion about waiting until marriage they will respect you and your decision to wait.”


ULTRA Teen Choice co-founder Richard Urban collaborated with Ms Jones to create the program.  Mr. Urban shared  “What if every child growing up in the Washington, DC area, and beyond, had the goal of staying abstinent, with clear expectations, abstinence centered education, and adults and older peers to guide them in accountability relationships, starting in elementary and middle school?”


A highlight of the program was the youth panel.  Nykee Hider shared how he became committed to abstinence when he decided to take God seriously.  About 13 years ago he wrote down the qualities that he desired in his future wife and offered them to God in prayer.  He happily reported that on December 6 he was married to the woman of his dreams who fulfills all of those qualities.  

Angela Minto, a Howard University senior, shared how she wants to be an example for young women.  Capria Curtis Walker, who is a 14 year old member of the ULTRA Teen choice program and a peer counselor, shared that “if you start at a young age and work our way up and be an example for our peers that it will show them the right thing to do by staying abstinent; that’s  the only 100 per cent way to stay away from AIDS and drugs and alcohol.”


The YOUth Awakening abstinence revolution seeks to reach at least 25,000 people who will donate at least one dollar by December 19,  2009.  Ms Jones said that “I believe that I can make the difference, that I can make the change, … that we can join together and give one dollar”  She explained that just as the HIV virus has spread from person to person to become an epidemic, this campaign to make a difference and give one dollar can rapidly spread.  Ms Jones invited other churches to hold YOUTH awakening abstinence Revolution programs at their location.

The New Fundamentalists 
Media gatekeepers. 
by Joseph Loconte 
12/19/2007 12:00:00 AM 


AN ARTICLE OF FAITH among many liberals is that religion and tolerance don't go well together. In a recent editorial, for example, the New York Times matter-of-factly derided conservative Christians as "the most religiously intolerant sector of American political life." That's quite a sector. It includes tens of millions of believers in the African-American, Latino, and Asian communities, male and female, from every conceivable walk of life. Sure, there are plenty of crusty fundamentalists in the mix. But other actors are manifestly better candidates for theTimes's designation.

Take public education elites. Last week the D.C. Board of Education approved new Health Education Standards for the city's public schools, including guidelines for teaching about AIDS, sexuality, family life, and drug use. Ministers, activists, and parents complain--with good reason--that the standards are strongly biased against abstinence-only curricula. There are warnings about using "correct terminology" to discuss issues such as sexual orientation. There are specific guidelines for teaching about "different family structures"--gay couples, for example--to children in kindergarten.

That's going to make it tough for organizations that hold conservative views of marriage and human sexuality to continue their outreach programs to at-risk kids. And it comes at exactly the wrong time: New data show that the District boasts 12 times the national rate of new AIDS cases, the worst in the nation. One might suspect that school officials would welcome help from just about any quarter--yes, even from members of the faith community. "The chancellor has placed a moratorium on all external providers of health and consumer education," Richard Nyankori, assistant to the School Chancellor, reportedly told one abstinence-only group. "Her goal is to ensure programs are consistent with D.C. standards."

The chancellor's decision seems aimed at one particular category of provider: those uncomfortable with a boundless view of "sexual exploration" as the defining feature of childhood and adolescence. It does not matter to education mandarins that large numbers of parents in this city--mostly African-American and socially conservative--find the new standards offensive (as the comments from many of the 75 local ministers who attended a recent Clergy Leadership Summit on HIV-AIDS surely make clear). Nor does it appear relevant that many parents want their kids involved in community-based programs that uphold their values.

This moratorium on common sense finds support from a second candidate for the Most Intolerant Sector Award: media gatekeepers.

Earlier this month WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi took up the school standards issue, along with guest host Marc Fisher of the Washington Post, on Nnamdi's popular "D.C. Politics Hour." In the dock was Richard Urban, co-founder of Ultra Teen Choice, an abstinence-only program operating in D.C. public schools for the last four years. Urban's program is one of several facing possible expulsion. WAMU's listeners might have expected a discussion about the mechanics of these programs, their values, or why many D.C. parents like them. Instead, Fisher and Nnamdi staged a bare-knuckled assault on Urban's alleged religious views. Though Ultra Teen Choice is ostensibly secular--it "guides youth toward the formation of two-parent families and positive character development"--Urban acknowledges that he is a member of the Unification Church.

Fisher: While this group bills itself as a program that is simply promoting abstinence, in fact, Mr. Urban and his group are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the [Sun Myung] Moon organization. So there is an agenda here that you have not been upfront about with the District.

Urban: Well, I'm not going there. This is an outrageous personal attack If I'm black, if I'm Asian, if I'm Baptist what difference does that make? This is outrageous. I can't believe you even mention those things. I mean, are we in the United States? 

Nnamdi: What Marc, in fact, mentioned--is that in fact your faith belief?

Urban: No, it is outrageous the things he said. This is a program that I started with my wife I have never gotten one penny of money from the Unification Church. It is crazy. This is a personal attack and I'm not going there 

Fisher: Do you believe, as the Unification Church teaches, that homosexuality, that homosexuals are dung-eating dogs?

Urban: Marc, why do you keep talking about the Unification Church? I started this program. I have a right to my religious faith. This is irrelevant 

Fisher: Well, do you believe that the separation between religion and politics, as Reverend Moon says, is what Satan likes most?

And on it went. To be sure, there are good reasons to challenge the presence in public schools of certain organizations, such as those linked to radical Islam. After all, a tolerant society need not condone intolerance. And the Unification Church is not without controversy; it has been accused of brainwashing and authoritarianism. Parents have a right to know the identity and values of groups influencing their kids (just as they're entitled to know the agenda of public educators). Tutoring and mentoring programs cannot be a device for proselytizing on school grounds.

Yet there was no evidence of this kind offered against Urban or his organization. Instead, he was declared guilty--of extremism, presumably--only by association. The attack on his faith looked very much like a proxy for an indictment of traditional views about sexuality and marriage.

I raised this issue in an email with WAMU's Kay Summers, director of public information. "Mr. Urban did not initially answer the question as it applied to ULTRA Teen Choice, which is why Mr. Fisher and then Mr. Nnamdi continued to ask for clarification," she insisted. "Mr. Fisher did not ask about Mr. Urban's personal religious beliefs " Well, if we're looking for an exercise in obfuscation and deception, we have it: There were no untoward insinuations about personal religious beliefs, claims WAMU--just gentle prodding for clarification.

The saturation of presidential politics with religion has surely heightened sensitivities on all sides. Politicians and activists have a constitutional right to bring their religious values into the public square--and can't cry foul when they're questioned about it. But when education and media elites use their position as a kind of Star Chamber to blacklist groups they don't like, then we've taken a step backward, a step away from pluralism.

And there's nothing enlightened or progressive or tolerant about it.

Joe Loconte is a senior fellow with Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy and a frequent contributor to THE DAILY STANDARD.

Read this article on the Weekly Standard Website

Teens Choose Character, Not Condoms

By Lyndia Grant
All Nations Baptist Church
WI Contributing Writer
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marcus Barnes, a high school student, participated in a presentation conducted by Ultra Teen Choice, an Urban Life Training & Reality Assessment Teen Choice Education and Peer Counseling Club.

I’m not ready for a child. I’m not ready for my body to be sick with HIV/AIDS and other such diseases at this young age. I want a long life, and I think this program is great!” he said. 

Lakia Merriweather said, “I’m too busy to baby sit. I don’t have time for it. This program helps me to keep my head straight. It’s good.”  
These are comments made by high school students from Eastern High School who have decided to abstain from sex until they’re married, or at least, they said, “Until we’re old enough to make responsible decisions in this matter.”

The members of Ultra Teen Choice have decided they will respect their bodies as the temple it is, as indicated in 1st Corinthians, 6:19 which says “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.”   
A very special guest, Miss District of Columbia Rita Sinha, was among this elite group. She speaks around the country, telling her story of how she has lived a life of abstinence. And she’s only 24-years-old!  
“I’m saving myself for my husband. In fact, I decided as a young girl to become celibate,” Sinha said.
“There is so much emotion that comes along with sex, and I plan to go to law school this fall. Many of my friends have allowed some guy or girl to get inside their heads, but I believe that when you wait, you will meet who is destined to be your spouse.”  
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 Jeffersonanother 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.  
Richard Urban reminded everyone that it takes seven years before symptoms of HIV appear. His statistics further showed that 50 percent of the students in the District of Columbia have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, with chlamydia at the top of the list. 
There was some good news.
“There has been a 16 percent decrease in teen sex in the United States over the past two years, and 54 percent of U.S. teens are not having sex,” Richard Urban said.  
Richard Urban quoted the following statistics:  35 percent of teen girls become pregnant at least once and 66 percent of sexually active teens regretted having sex and wished they had waited.  
Wouldn’t it be great if the majority of students in high schools throughout the District of Columbia were members of such a group as Ultra Teen Choice or other such groups that teach abstinence? Wouldn’t it be simply marvelous if this celibacy thing just kind of caught on?
It would be marvelous if girls were not having sex, having babies, or dropping out of school to care for babies when they don’t even know how to care for themselves yet.  
A special thank you goes out to Mayor Adrian Fenty for proclaiming the week of March 10-17, as Abstinence Awareness Week. Let’s do it again!