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Becky Mosby, R.N., Education Director
McLennan County Collaborative
Abstinence Project
Waco, Texas

“In 1995 McLennan County ranked #1 [in Texas] for combined risk factors, which included total teen pregnancies out of wedlock and STDs in 13 to 17-year-olds. We knew we had a tremendous problem and began putting together a local collaboration. The school districts we serve grew to 30 in seven counties, and in 2001 we introduced all three Choosing the Best [LIFE, PATH and WAY] curricula in those districts.

“We wanted something very credible, test-driven, and that stood up under the test. Dr. Jeff Tanner at Baylor University is our evaluator, and our research shows that 7th, 8th, and 9th grades are the critical years. We’ve seen shifts in attitude and a 5% decrease in out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies. You’ve got to do the relationships first with kids before the science. A 14-year-old girl wants to know how to keep her boyfriend without having sex. That means teaching boundaries and refusal skills. Choosing the Best does it well, and kids are so eager and so receptive to having safe boundaries in their lives.”