Monday, January 25, 2010

30 Days of Justice: IMPACT

3:17 AM
It's a dirty word to some people. It's an outdated concept to others. But most just think it's completely unrealistic. Abstinence, that is. It conjures up images of stuffy old women or religious men who think sex is wrong. But that couldn't be further from the truth. I know this, because still at the age of 27, I am abstinent. For me, abstinence is the healthiest decision I can make with my body. I know that I am not at risk for STD or unplanned pregnancy. I know the guys I date aren't with me for a shot at some action. I know that I am not giving myself fully and completely to someone that I haven't made a lifelong commitment. And what's to keep him from walking out the door once we've had sex? And I know that the guy I will one day marry, will see my standards not as a challenge or an objective, but something of value. These reasons and more is why I do the job that I do.

At IMPACT, we encourage teens to live healthy lifestyles, which includes abstaining from pre-marital sex, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. If you believe the media, you'd think we're asking high schoolers to fly. But in reality, more than half of high school students are not having sex. Our program seeks to educate students on the realities of sex, possible consequences in engaging in sex as a teen, and the benefits of waiting to have sex in a committed marriage. We do 5 day classroom presentations which cover those topics as well as STD's, goal setting, personal strengths, love languages, defining love and infatuation, refusal skills, setting limits, personality profiles and more. We believe that students are capable of making these decisions, and need the correct information to do so.

In addition to classroom presentations, IMPACT offers the Teen IMPACT program. Once students decide to commit to this countercultural way of life, they sign a contract, and they are officially Teen IMPACT-ers. Within Teen IMPACT, we offer monthly club meetings (in-school and out-of-school), quarterly fun events, and retreats twice a year. We do this to encourage teens in their commitment. We know how hard it is to abstain from these things. And we want to see students succeed. So by equipping them with knowledge and skills, we are helping them follow through with these decisions. We also offer a Summer Staff program, in which we hire high school students for 8 weeks of the summer. We train them in skits, dramas, and presentations which teach the healthy lifestyle message, and they perform 3 day presentations to boys & girls clubs, rec centers, YMCA's, and youth groups all summer. I get to drive a really awesome 15-passenger van full of teen all around town to these locations! Jealous?? This Summer Staff program not only allows benefits the students we present to, but also the ones we hire. It helps solidify their commitment, and instills leadership qualities in them. But don't take my word, take theirs...

IMPACT also offers a Parent Program, in which we educate parents on how to talk to their teens about sex, and making good choices. It can often be a tough subject to bring up, and IMPACT provides facts, talking points, and examples on how to make that conversation a productive one.

So that's what I do with my days. I know that I don't change the mind of every student I talk to. I know there are students mocking me in their desks and going home to have sex. And that's their decision. But they can't say no one ever told them the truth. And even if only student is effected, then I've done my job. And what a great job it is!

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!


Dana Higgins said...

Thanks for doing this Joy. You have made such an IMPACT on the world, and being the example that you are is such an inspiration. I love you!!