Local News

Sex Education Program Paying Off For Some Triangle Teens

Posted November 15, 2002

— Teens teaching teens is a method a local group is using to spread the word about safe sex.

Teen Talk is an education training program sponsored by Planned Parenthood. It is designed to teach teens how to be peer counselors.

The benefits are not just in the learning. Teens are paid $200 for completing the 12-week training course, and an additional $100 if they refer other people to the class.

The program talks about abstinence and advocates choices.

"I'm being educated on some things I may have not have known, and I'm able to differentiate the difference of what is wrong and what is right," said Allah-Patricia Bissahoyo, a Teen Talk participant at Chapel Hill's Iglesia Unida church.

Not everyone believes the training is the right thing to do.

"The foundation of sex education should be taught with the parents," said Lamont Cooper, Youth Pastor of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ Church.

Cooper believes teens should not be learning about choices, but the consequences of having sex. He advocates abstinence for teens and he said it is working for his ministry. After five years of serving as youth pastor, he said he has lost only one teen to pregnancy.

"We may not be able to give monetary compensation or incentives, such as $200 or $300, however, we're giving self-esteem," Cooper said.

Jenny Palmer, of Planned Parenthood, said Teen Talk also deals with life skills. Counselors believe if teens have a positive outlook on their future, they will be more likely to practice safe sex.


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