Area youngsters learn ‘True Love Awaits'

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    NETCONG-Area teens recently participated in a ceremony pledging to practice sexual abstinence. The event was part of the "True Love Waits" program sponsored by St. Michael Church. Thirty-nine eight-graders from towns that include Andover, Byram, Hopatcong, Netcong, and Stanhope stood to take the pledge and to receive their silver ring, a sign and remembrance of their promise. This program, one of more than 700 throughout the United States, consists of five sessions covering various subjects from parent involvement to choosing friends. Discussion topics include setting life goals, and responsibility. The facilitators are teachers, young adults, and peers who supervise open discussions of sex, peer pressure, self-esteem, and physical and emotional well-being. The teens are also confronted with the negative medical aspects of early sexual activity, such as the increase in the types of sexually transmitted diseases. According to the statistics presented to the young adults there were two "significant" sexually transmitted diseases in 1960 compared with 25 today. The program stresses parental participation citing that teens are influenced more by the example and teaching of their parents than by any other adult. During the five-week program, parents are given literature to assist in their involvement and encouraged to continue discussions with their teens. They are advised to often question their teens about their friends, relationships and discuss of emotional consequences of intimacy at this point in their lives.