Quarterly Newsletter
April 2019
Our Mission: Promote healthy life decisions through family education and community partnerships.
Board of Directors
 
´╗┐Linda Raff
President
Joann Mickens
Vice President
Judy Wiener
Treasurer
LaShirl Wilder
Secretary
 
Kevin Bingham
Susan Hays Carson
Geraldine Chaney
Mary Jackson
Terrye Jones
Jeanne Luckett
Harriett Oppenheim
Brad Pigott
Ann Skelton
Corey Wiggins
LaShetta Wilder
 
Dana Larkin
Executive Director
 
Leah Wittenberg
Program Specialist
 
Betti Watters
Board Emerita
 
 
 
 
“In teaching both boys and girls at a young age about consent, saying no, and boundaries, I firmly believe children are equipped with a foundation that will follow them through their high school and college years. My Body, My Boundaries for Elementary School Families prepares children with definitions and an understanding of consent and respectable decision making if/when they are placed in a situation where the issue is questionable. This is both empowering and responsible and may possibly contribute to curbing future sexual misconduct.”
-Michelle Colón, SHERo Mississippi Project Coordinator and Growing Up Knowing Facilitator
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
54% of adults who participate in The 'Tween Talk were teen parents themselves.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How do we break the cycle of teen pregnancy?
 
At a recent session of The 'Tween Talk: Comprehensive Sex Education for Middle School Families, every parent in the room was a teen parent. And every parent in the room wanted to break the cycle of teen pregnancy by participating in Growing Up Knowing's crucial evidence-based program. 
 
At the third session of The 'Tween Talk, when adults and students come together to learn side by side, a 7th grade girl discussed the homework from the week before - "Talk to your parents about what they think and feel about the following topics: important qualities to have in a partner, teens having sex, teens having babies, and best ways to delay sex."
 
The student spoke to the group of families, "My mom told me that she had me when she was 19. She talked about how expensive babies are and how hard it was to go to school with a baby. She told that she loves me so much and doesn't want my life to be as hard as hers, which is why she wants me to wait until I have sex, and I want to wait."
 
A 6th grade boy echoed her sentiment, "I don't think my mom wants me to say how old she was when she had me," he glanced in her direction, "but she told me how important it is to wait until you've finished your education before you have kids; it's much easier that way."
How do we help young people create a culture of consent?
 
Over the course of four weeks, these families came together in a safe and trusting environment to learn about healthy relationships, strategies to avoid risky behaviors and peer pressure, sexual health, and effective communication skills. One of the most important lessons they learned? What affirmative consent is and how to have agency over their bodies. We're teaching youth what consent looks like, how it sounds, and how to respect each other. Growing Up Knowing is cultivating a culture of consent in our communities, starting with even younger children and their parents.
Why do three-year-olds need to learn about consent?
 
In February, we piloted My Body, My Boundaries for Early Childhood Families. Three and four-year-olds learned how to self-advocate for healthy behavior alongside their parents. With the help of anatomically correct dolls, young children learned the names of their body parts and how to distinguish between good and bad touching. Parents learned strategies to help their children understand their own physical boundaries and how to respect others' boundaries.
 
After attending the program with her dad, a three-year-old went home to her mom and pointed to her own body, "This is my space, Momma," then she pointed to her mom, "and that's your space." Two weeks later when they visited her mom's extended family, someone wanted a hug from the three-year-old. She replied, "I don't have to hug you if I don't want to, you can have a high-five." Learning simple things like how to yes or no to a hug, with family members, helps children know how to protect themselves from abuse.
 
The Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed both My Body, My Boundaries programs. Read why this professional organization thinks these programs are so important for Mississippi families here

Do you want to help break cycles of teen pregnancy and abuse in Mississippi?
 
YOU can help cultivate a culture of consent for families in your community. Do you know of a school, community, afterschool, or faith organization who would like to partner with us at no financial cost to implement one of our three signature programs (My Body, My Boundaries for Early Childhood Families, My Body, My Boundaries for Elementary School Families, and The 'Tween Talk: Comprehensive Sex Education for Middle School Families)? You can refer them to us by clicking here.
 
With a gift of just $25, you can sponsor a family to participate in a My Body, My Boundaries program; and with $300, one family gets to participate in The 'Tween Talk. Your tax-deductible gift of any size will directly help Mississippi children and families grow up knowing how to make healthier life decisions.

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Address postal inquiries to:
Dana Larkin
PO Box 16123
Jackson, MS 39236