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FOR RELEASE: September 25, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Abstinence Conferences Offer Free Training and Curriculum Vouchers

Five conferences focusing on abstinence educator training are scheduled around the state this fall in an effort to help lower the birth rate among Oklahoma teens. Currently, Oklahoma's teen birth rate is 13th highest in the nation.

The free trainings will equip, encourage and empower abstinence educators to teach abstinence education. The first conference is scheduled for Thursday, Oct.11, in Antlers. Other conferences will be held in Tahlequah on Oct. 25, Lawton on Nov.1, Tulsa on Nov. 15, and Ardmore on Nov. 29.

The Oklahoma Legislature's Interagency Coordinating Council for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (ICC), in conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, has contracted with “Choosing the Best,” a leader in abstinence-focused sex education curricula and training, to provide the training statewide.

In addition to free training, 125 school districts will have an opportunity to receive a voucher worth $400.00 to be used toward the abstinence curricula of their choice.

ICC Chairman Dr. Craig Evans said, “This is a great opportunity, especially for teachers, to become equipped to teach sexual abstinence in the classroom and contribute to lowering the birth rate in Oklahoma.”

To register or get more information about the trainings and curriculum vouchers, contact Paul Wesselhöft, project coordinator for the state health department's Abstinence Education Project, at 405-271-4477, or Leslie Marler with “Choosing the Best” at 1-800-774-2378. More information is also available on the “Choosing the Best” Web site at www.choosingthebest.org.

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