The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) and Heritage Community Services are examples of progressive community-based sex-education programs. These curricula target students, youths, young adults, and parents. Importantly, these programs have impacted society differently; for instance, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Health saw a 50% increase in faith-based partnerships to expand the reach and continue facilitating sex education.
OVERVIEW OF SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS
- The current poor state of reproductive health education and training in the nation calls for significant reforms. Only 24 states mandate sex education in schools. Surprisingly, ten of those states require the sex curriculum to be medically accurate, while another nine demand it includes consent.
- Studies indicate that students exhibit more physical experience than knowledge about sex and sexuality. The lack of critical understanding regarding sex and sexuality exposes the students to health and relationship risks.
- The current sex education curriculum varies extensively from state to state, and from the district to the classroom level. These dissimilarities have spurred legal activities and activism to amend the existing policies.
- Nationally, many schools are not offering sex education to their students, and parents are showing no interest in changing the status quo. Nevertheless, on the community level, groups such as the RCRC and Heritage Community Services are offering sex education and training.
RELIGIOUS COALITION FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
- RCRC views sex and sexuality as a sacred gift and a component of human relationships. The curriculum approaches the idea of sex and sexuality as a regular topic, which is critical to social development and well-being. It also asserts that sex and sexuality deserve honesty, compassion, and respect.
- Unlike conventional approaches to sex and education that caused shame and blame, RCRC’s strategy is to support a lifelong process within communities and the religious domain. The curriculum teachings emphasize on creating new attitudes, beliefs, and values, about identity, intimacy, and relationships.
- RCRC’s curriculum features in-depth information on puberty, abstinence, reproduction, sexual orientation, gender identity, decision-making about sexual activities, relationships, contraception, and many more.
- While previous programs aimed at warning and causing fear around irresponsible sexual behaviors, the RCRC curriculum highlights the benefits of sex education, instead of cautionary approach synonymous with conventional methods.
- RCRC has achieved multiple milestones, including over 33% jump in interactions with reproductive health facilities and abortion care providers. It has also witnessed a 50% rise in state faith-based partnerships, and can potentially reach approximately 100 million.
HERITAGE COMMUNITY SERVICES
- Heritage Community Services offers the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program, which focuses on abstinence-outside-of-marriage and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
- The program has been reviewed and approved for medical accuracy by both the U.S. Office of Population Affairs and the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.
- The curriculum focuses on aspects of sex and sexual health. Teens are taught about sex, lies, and hook-ups to acquire the necessary skills they need to practice abstinence. The program provides scientifically-derived information that is valuable and approved for accuracy.
- Heritage Community Services aims at safeguarding the well-being of children, ensuring their parents have a healthy relationship, fostering stable family structures, and nurturing morally upright behaviors among teens. Likewise, it seeks to drive teenagers and youths towards seeking education, getting a job, then getting married, and starting a family. The program’s outcome revolves around forming and maintaining healthy families.
- The program uses an approach dubbed “The Heritage Method,” which is a logic model that focuses on the risky behavior of teens and youths from the context of improving the elements causing the problem as opposed to addressing the consequences of the risky decisions.
- The types of content addressed in this curriculum includes information on being patient to have sex, anatomy, seeking help from elderly individuals, avoiding risks and sexual abstinence, individual values and goals, cultural differences, protecting your body, refuting reasons why teens engage in sex, dating, sexual abuse, and other risky behaviors.
- Heritage Community Services aims at strengthening the traits of teenagers and youths, the communities, individuals, families, and institutions.
- Research shows that after one year of training, the students initiated sex at a rate of 67% lower compared to the rate shown by non-program students. This particular study involved 2,215 students in 41 South Carolina schools, and the composition of the survey was 63% African American students.
- Overall, the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program has resulted in strong program outcomes age, gender, and race in rural, urban, and suburban dwellings.
In finding examples of progressive sex education programs offered either by schools or communities in the U.S., we started by looking at national reports on sex and sexuality education. We examined multiple reports on the same, including those published by associations within the education ecosystem. In the course of the search, we came across a report dubbed, “Sexuality Education: An Overview for Independent Schools” with a pre-compiled list of resources about sexuality education. The list included the resource type, the organization offering the resource, and a link to that organization. We examined the list and selected only the resources with sex and sexuality education curricula, specifically progressive community-based sex education programs. We identified progressive community-based sex education programs as those doing something to transform or overhaul the way youth are taught about sex. On that note, we found out that the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) and the Heritage Community Services match the provided specifications and are analyzed above.