My Future - My Choice is based on the belief that young teens should postpone sexual involvement. Teen Leaders, together with a classroom facilitator, present 10 classroom lessons to middle school students. Teen Leaders are recruited from local high schools, and are extensively trained by Deschutes County Health Services and Department of Human Services staff.
The interactive lessons focus on three main objectives:
- Inform young teens about social and peer pressures to become sexually involved
- Provide information about the consequences of early sexual involvement
- Model skills which will help young teens say “NO” to sexual involvement
The My Future - My Choice Program is presented to middle school students in an effort to help them develop skills to resist peer and social pressures to become sexually involved. Teen Leaders serve as powerful positive role models to the younger teens; their presentation of this abstinence-based curriculum helps the younger teens recognize the importance of postponing sexual involvement. Through interactive activities, the middle school students learn to identify the risks of early sexual involvement, recognize social and peer pressures, and develop assertiveness skills.
Three-Step Refusal Skill
This skill is taught in Lesson Five and reinforced in Lesson Eight.
Keep repeating: No
Reverse the pressure
State how the pressure makes you feel
Ask: “Why do you keep pressuring me after I’ve said no?”
Refuse to discuss the matter any further
Suggest doing something else
Walk away if necessary
The My Future - My Choice Program helps young teens:
- Identify the risks and consequences of early sexual involvement
- Become aware of the social pressures teens face to become sexually involved
- Recognize peer pressure and understand the importance of setting personal limits
- Learn how to deal with pressure situations and assertively say “no” to unwanted pressure, and
- Understand their rights within friendships and relationships.
The My Future - My Choice Program is an educational program offered by Deschutes County Health Services. It is part of a multi-faceted effort to meet the Deschutes County Benchmark initiative of reducing teen pregnancy. The My Future-My Choice program is based on the Postponing Sexual Involvement (PSI) curriculum developed in 1983 by Dr. Marion Howard of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The program is designed to be a 6th grade component of comprehensive human sexuality / reproductive health curricula for students in Deschutes County. My Future-My Choice meets the requirements for House Bill 2509 and OAR 581-022-1440 to be age-appropriate, comprehensive, medically accurate, promoting abstinence but not to the exclusion of other material, consequences of sexual health behaviors with regard to risk of pregnancy and STIs, emotional and physical consequences of early sexual involvement, and encouraging family communication and involvement. Parents and guardians always have the right to opt their children out of one or all of the lessons of My Future-My Choice at any time in every public middle school in Deschutes County.