The Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond is hosting Presenter Training for KISSN (Keep It Simple, Say No) on Saturday, July 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Richmond. This training is for anyone who wants to become a presenter of the KISSN abstinence curriculum. Topics covered in the curriculum include "Building Healthy Relationships," "Love vs. Infatuation," "The Myth of Safe Sex," "Secondary Virginity," and "The Freedom of Abstinence." Programs like KISSN are especially vital in a culture in which 50 percent of high school students were reported to be sexually active in 2009, according to the Center for Disease Control. Worse yet, a Virginia based abstinence group reports that almost 70 percent of central Virginia high school seniors are sexually active and, of that group, 50 percent became sexually active between the ages of 13 and 15, and 22 percent before the age of 12. Abstinence is the only effective, 100 percent method to prevent STDs and pregnancy.

But these horrifying statistics aren't the only reason the KISSN and similar curricula must be taught to teenagers: The federal government recently made changes in abstinence education funding. These changes affect Virginia because, typically, this funding is in the form of state grants that states must choose to either accept or decline. Keeping true to his campaign promise, President Obama introduced a budget in the spring of 2009 that included a clause eliminating nearly all abstinence education funding and replacing it with so-called "comprehensive sex ed" funding. However, approximately $50 million was reallocated to abstinence funding during the Congressional health care bill debate — one of the few positives in that process. Currently, the federal government is providing state grants for all forms of sex education.

In 2007, then-Governor Tim Kaine, at the urging of Planned Parenthood, cut off state funding of proven abstinence-centered education programs, such as KISSIN. In fact, the second largest school district in Virginia, Prince William County, had contracted with KISSIN because of its effectiveness. The funding has never been restored.

Changes that occur on the federal level regarding abstinence education funding trickle down to the state. However, Virginia must also do its part to ensure that only fail proof sex education is presented to our youth. We encourage you to attend the KISSN training on July 17 to support a worthy organization and to learn more about an important abstinence curriculum that you could implement in your church or school.

To register for the KISSN training, please contact Sher Aker by July 9 at 804-673-2020 or at cpcrichmond6@aol.com. There is a $35 registration fee to cover the cost of the curriculum's manual and for lunch.