For the past 20 years Teen Straight Talk has been passionately educating children, teens, and adults regarding the importance of abstinence as a lifestyle choice. Much emphasis is placed on the consequences of participating in sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage and the numerous benefits from abstaining from sexual activities until entering the bond of marriage. Prime focus is also placed on personal worth, a belief system resting on absolute truth, exercising judgment based on evidence, clear decision making, understanding consequences and accountability for one’s actions and choices.
The psychological and emotional needs of young girls who were sexually active or abused were witnessed first hand by a volunteer counselor at a residential program for unwed pregnant teens. These girls were being deceived by their male friends through words such as: “I love you”… and the destructive, dishonest theory of “safe sex.” The need to expand the scope of abstinence education became necessary as a Volunteer, Mary Duke, quickly realized the consequences of high risk behavior were just as damaging to the boys as to the girls. The expanded program educated both young men and women in truth concerning their personal worth and value, and encouraged them to take responsibility for their lives.
The Early Years
Being prompted by the Holy Spirit, Mary launched Teen Straight Talk in 1989. The Teen Straight Talk program was developed by a group of individuals representing a cross-section of the community, yet united in the common cause of reducing teen pregnancies. In the same year, the Trumbull County Board of Health (in Ohio – United States) was looking for a total abstinence program that could be presented to the schools.
Three thousand students heard teens and peer panelists share the truth about sexual promiscuity and its possible long and short-term consequences. Teen Straight Talk provided the programs with sponsorship and support of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley (under the auspices of the Trumbull County Board of Health).
The following year, Teen Straight Talk became a separate entity with its own ECS1838 Director and Board of Trustees. The program was expanded to address sexually transmitted diseases and a doctor was added to provide medical and scientific expertise.
Growing + Expanding
In 1991, Teen Straight Talk became a non-profit organization and trained Abstinence Educators to present “abstinence” as both a lifestyle and the most excellent choice. The Abstinence Educators spoke in any and every available setting: public and private schools, churches, youth groups, civic and social groups, including presentations for OCEA 2006, a Christian Ministries Conference. During the National AIDS Awareness Week in 2002, Teen Straight Talk was one of only twenty-five abstinence organizations to be invited to the White House for a conference. Through the Teen Straight Talk web site and multimedia presentations, Teen Straight Talk has reached over 400,000 students and adults in every state in America! The Teen Straight Talk program has expanded into South Carolina with a sister program in Spartanburg.
Reaching The World
Mary has led three mission trips to South Africa, including one to Zimbabwe to head up a minister’s conference. She also lead a mission trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean where the Teen Straight Talk Abstinence Educators witnessed first-hand thousands of souls won to the kingdom and commitments to purity until marriage. In 1998, the YMCA and AAUW named Mary the Professional Woman of Trumbull County in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the community. In 2007, Teen Straight Talk travelled to Reseda California to present their unique and steadfast message of abstinence until marriage. In 2008, Teen Straight Talk was invited to present their God-given Living Out the Truth message to the Family Conference on campus at Auburn University in Alabama.