Keeping it Real!
A Faith-Based Model for Teen Dialogue on Sex & Sexuality
A Groundbreaking Curriculum
Online Technical Assistance available for Keeping it Real!
Please email us for help conducting the program. Our staff is available to assist you with running an effective, youth-friendly program. We can provide help with conducting activities, planning graduations ceremonies, organizing clergy forums/prayer breakfast's and more.
"Keeping It Real!" is a groundbreaking faith-based sexuality education dialogue model created for African American teens. Developed by the National Black Church Initiative of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, "Keeping It Real!" prepares youth to make healthy, responsible decisions as spiritual and sexual beings. The eight-week curriculum of facilitated dialogue and activities is one of the first organized efforts in African American faith communities to address sex and sexuality in both a biblical and secular context. African American educators and ministers now have a model to break the silence about sex and sexuality and begin an open dialogue with youth.
"Get real!" That's the typical response of teenagers to moral platitudes and scare tactics about sex. "Keeping It Real!" speaks to youth with respect and honesty and "goes where they are." Teens can talk about their own feelings and experiences, with the support and guidance of their church.
"Keeping It Real!" is for youth ages 13 to 18. Youth meet in small dialogue groups of 12 to 15 persons, with trained adult facilitators. Designed for maximum participation, the sessions help enhance communication and cognitive and reasoning skills through role plays, reading and active listening exercises, and interpretation of scripture and popular music and media.
Recognizing the Need
African Americans, who make up just 13% of the U.S. population, account for more than half of all new HIV infections each year and approximately half of newly reported AIDS cases. More African Americans are living with HIV and dying from AIDS than members of any other racial/ethnic group. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Year End Edition 2001)
HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted Infections (STIs), teen pregnancy and childbirth are adversely impacting the spiritual, social, political, and economic lives and the lifespan of African Americans. Recent statistics confirm that racial disparities continue to exist in sex education, access to medical care and even the willingness to have open and honest dialogue on the issue of sex and sexuality.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Year End Edition 2001)
In 2003 the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that African American teens (ages 13-19), who are only 15% of U.S. teenagers, account for almost two thirds (61%) of new AIDS cases in 2001. Equally frightening, the CDC reports that African American teens in the same age group accounted for 56 % of HIV cases in 2000.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States)
- In 2002, per 100,000 person Black population, 21% of Blacks were diagnosed with AIDS. Whereas, per 100,000 person White population, 11% of Whites were diagnosed with AIDS.
- In 2001, 16.3% of Black students versus 4.7% of White students under the age of 13 reported having initiated sexual intercourse. Further, 60.8% of older Black students reported having sexual intercourse, compared to 43.2% of older White students.
- In 2001, among currently sexually active students, 11.4% of Black students reported having been pregnant or having gotten someone pregnant, compared to only 3.3% of White students.
Praise for "Keeping It Real!"
There is hope! As parents, guardians, caregivers, ministers, Christian educators and clergy, we are called to lead youth with prayer, Bible study, and honest dialogue. Through "Keeping It Real!" we can help teens establish a firm foundation for responsible decision-making, trusting relationships, and self-respect within God.
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"Keeping It Real!"- Getting It Going
The full support of the pastor, parents or guardians, and ministry leaders is critical to the success of this program. Pastors are responsible for recruiting two or more facilitators with experience working with youth. Clergy and laity should partner and demonstrate a strong willingness to learn, grow and share in the spiritual development of young people in the church community. Ideally facilitators should be prepared to make an eleven-week commitment to the program: Week 1, Training and Preparation; Week 2, Parent/Guardian/Youth Orientation; Week 3-10, Dialogue Sessions; Week 11, Evaluation and Closing Ceremony.
"Keeping It Real!" is presented in eight sessions:
Session 1 - Sex and Sexuality: A Spiritual Gift from God (Genesis 1:26-31)
Session 2 - It's a Family Affair: The Role of Family in Understanding Ourselves as Sexual Beings ( Ecclesiastes 3: 1& 7)
Session 3 – Connecting with Spirit – Healthy Relationships (1st Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Session 4 – In Your Face: Media Messages About Sexuality (Romans 12: 1-2)
Session 5 – The Freedom to Choose: Making Decisions About Sexuality (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Session 6 – Not in My Church: Combating Sexual Violence (Psalm 55:12-14)
Session 7 – Doing the Right Thing: Promoting Justice (Micah 6:8)
Session 8 – The Influence of the Church (John 13:34-35)
Resources for Congregations and Facilitators
"Keeping It Real!" was designed for and to be implemented in African American congregations.
For More Information
To learn more about how your church can get involved, contact:
Black Church Initiative
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
1413 K Street NW, 14th Floor
Washington, DC 20005