“There was no hiding any information — it was the truth,” said 16-year-old Jasmin Ramos.
The high school junior attended the WAIT workshop last year with Child, Youth & School Services. WAIT, which stands for Why Am I Tempted, is a three-day abstinence workshop for teens ages 14 to 16. This year, it will be held Monday through Wednesday.
When Ramos first heard about the workshop, she thought it would feel like a class with the mantra “don’t have sex” repeated over and over again, she said.
“But it’s not like that at all — it’s fun,” she said. “It feels like you’re hanging out, talking about something that’s important. It was a safe place where you could be yourself and ask any questions you wanted to without worrying about what other people had to say.”
Part of CYSS’s Middle School and Teen Program, the workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building 1056. Snacks are provided, and parents must give permission for their kids to attend the training.
“It has been very successful,” said Lori Amor, who has lead the workshop since its inception. “I’ve had young people write me letters. From what they’ve told me, life has been different for them.”
The workshop starts off with icebreakers, so students can get to know each other. There is plenty of time to talk and ask questions with complete confidentiality in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Teens also have the chance to win prizes.
“We do little activities to show how sex before marriage affects every area of your life: spiritual, financial, physical, social,” Amor said. “There are other things you don’t hear about diseases, the emotional part of it. Videos and friends don’t tell you everything that goes along with that lifestyle.”
Amor said she clears up misconceptions about what their peers are doing and provides students the opportunity to commit themselves as “second-chance virgins.”
“In real life, you can’t just make it go away, but you can change the behavior,” she said. Other discussion topics include pregnancy, safety precautions, peer pressure and health.
The information provided in the workshop is “straightforward,” Ramos said. “It was fun not boring. And it was a good way to see it. I saw it from an older person’s perspective. It helped me because I knew I wasn’t the only one thinking about sex but then she reminded me of the benefits of waiting.
“Before you judge the program, come and see it for yourself. (You) will walk out of the room knowing something new.”
The workshop is free.
To sign up, receive a permission release or for more information, call Amor at 706-545-3070.