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TFTF Program: What’s it all about?

You may have heard about the new program, unique to DeKalb County, called Teens For Their Future (TFTF) and want to know what is it all about? After the first year with the program in place, we are excited to report where we stand with involvement and enrollment.

Teens For Their Future (TFTF) is an abstinence education program (formerly known as TGIF) for 6th grade. Teen Leaders are an integral part of the program as well.  They are juniors and seniors from DeKalb County high schools who are referred by administration and faculty, apply, and interview to be selected as Teen Leaders. Once selected, they undergo training that enables them to assist the TFTF Agent, Andrea Christenberry, in the classroom. The Teen Leaders serve as “the picture” of healthy life choices that preteens can relate to and bring authenticity to the abstinence message. Teen Leaders promote and establish peer-mentor relationships in which preteens greatly benefit from and enjoy!

TFTF teaches the importance of saving sexual activity for marriage and the consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage including STD’s, teen pregnancy, altered life plans, and emotional toll. TFTF utilizes a curriculum derived from Relationships Under Construction that addresses character development, goal setting, and recognizing healthy and unhealthy relationships. It teaches the refusal skills and assertiveness techniques for saying no (to any risky behavior, not just sex) and dealing with peer pressure. Sixth graders are also taught the (distorted) role sex in the media has in forming their opinions and how it affects their choices and behavior.

We are proud to report that after its inaugural year the TFTF program has been welcomed into every school in DeKalb County with enrollment numbers totaling 461 6th grade students and 83 Teen Leaders. The total hours spent in Teen Leader training was 1,328 and with the 6th graders over the year was 2,305.  We have been so proud of the hard work the Teen Leaders have shown in training and assisting in educating the 6th-grade students, and also with establishing relationships that have grown into further mentor opportunities. It is enriching for both students and Teen Leaders.

As a parent, abstinence education for your child can raise questions however, we welcome and encourage you to look into the program so that you feel confident about what your child is and is not being taught. This program has been developed to be age appropriate and is designed to empower today’s youth to think for themselves while giving them the tools they need to avoid risky behaviors and make healthy choices in the short-term that will benefit them in the long-term.

For more information please contact:

Andrea R. Christenberry, S.R.A.S. 
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
TEENS FOR THEIR FUTURE Agent Assistant
DeKalb County Office
500 Grand Ave SW
Fort Payne, AL  35967
Office: 256-845-8595
achristenberry@auburn.edu