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Girls’ Pinky Promise!

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Ciarra Henderson, a 21-year old student at Georgia State University, has taken a pledge of celibacy. A senior majoring in journalism with a minor in religious studies, Henderson hopes to do ministry for a living. She is also the president of Pinky Promise on Georgia State’s campus, an organization that guides young women on campus to not having sex before marriage.

A poem by Poet Janette called “I will wait for you” plays a significant role in Henderson’s life on why waiting until marriage for sex is important.

According to SafeTeens.Org, 7 in 10 sexually experienced teens wish they would have waited for marriage to have sex. Many say they were not emotionally ready.

However, some like Henderson are successfully waiting, by relying on their faith. Based on statics from WaitingTillMarriage.Org, about 3 percent of Americans wait until marriage to have sex. Three percent of the U.S. population represents 10,000,000. Statistics by Healthland.com, say 1 in 4 college students is a virgin.

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Those cautionary sexually active teens who wish they would have waited is what Pinky Promise is all about.

“Pinky Promise is an organization where we promise to honor God with our body and our lives. We are just a sisterhood of women where we meet each week. We have Bible studies, small groups for sleepovers, and different events to hold each other accountable. So we try to foster this sisterhood amongst each other as we grow closer to Christ,” says Henderson.

Henderson has inspired other Pinky Promise members, including Georgia State students Chelsea Adams and Tierra Fulwood, to continue on the road of waiting until marriage.

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Adams is a sophomore majoring in religious studies.

“Growing up I was always taught to wait until marriage to have sex, but no one ever explained why. It wasn’t until after I had sex and dealt with the aftermath of heartbreak that I learned the reason as to why we should wait until marriage. I now know that God loves me not because I love him or because I strive to live for him, but he loves me because that’s who he is. God is love,” says Adams.

Henderson wants to show other students her view of what true love looks like through Pinky Promise.

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“This world is skewed on what love is. We think that love argues, hurts each other, we think that love in a marriage can end in a divorce. But love does not give up.Love does not fail. There is no leaving each other in love,” Henderson says.

Thanks to Pinky Promise, Adams has been able to understand the value of love.

“Pinky Promise means that I am making a promise to God to honor him with my life and my body no matter the cost. Even though I will fail at times along the way, I make the decision to keep trying until I get it right. I know that God is more pleased with my effort to honor him than my desire to be perfect in honoring him,” Adam says.

Fulwood also a senior majoring in criminal justice, has made the decision to practice abstinence. As the vice president of Pinky Promise, Fulwood tries to encourage other young women in the organization to practice abstinence or celibacy.

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“I believe that sex is a sacred act and should only be done in marriage. Sex is essentially giving a piece of yourself to the person who you chose to engage in intercourse with, and I personally wouldn’t want to give pieces of myself to everyone,”says Fulwood.

Fulwood wants college women to know that practicing abstinence and celibacy isn’t easy, but they should never give up, and should surround themselves with other people trying to do the same.

Henderson agrees.

“It’s a man delighting in his wife, and it’s a wife loving her husband,” she says.

Check out the Pinky Promise video below to get a chance to see what the organization is all about.

The Richard Faust Story

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                                        Photo: Curbed Atlanta

Sweet Auburn, a historically African-American area, is home to many prominent buildings, businesses, and programs such as Big Bethel. The oldest congregation in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.

It is also the cornerstone of Trinity Community Ministries.

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                                           Photo: YouTube.com

Founded in 1981, due to the rise in homelessness, Trinity House is now the destination for those who seek stability and is on the road to recovery.

Richard Faust, a client at Trinity House and Randall Huff, a resident manager talk about the impact of Trinity House on their lives and in the Auburn District.

“I began to free based and get high and so forth. And over a period time, I was introduced to someone. That person and I was smoking and drinking together and had sex together. I ended up contracting HIV,” says Faust.

“When I found out about the HIV, I confronted the individual. When I confronted the individual, an altercation took place where I became incarcerated. I was incarcerated for about 14 months, and so when I got out, I found out about the HIV program,” says Faust.

“Then when I came to Trinity House on August 25th, I was introduced to Mr. Ali. So when I got introduced to Mr. Ali, he welcomed me here, and I began to talk more with him about the situation, and he just welcomed me into the house. Since I’ve been here, I found a lot of structure and a lot of support since I’ve been here,” Faust adds.

Huff discusses the progress Faust has made since coming to Trinity House.

“You know, he’s one of those people that I admire for what he’s trying to do. He’s doing it in a way that he should be trying to do it. You got people coming in here and all of a sudden they know everything. He’s not that, he’s still asking questions and still doing what he’s supposed to do,” Huff adds.

According to Faust, Trinity House provides AA meetings, NA meetings, anger management classes, and spiritual and physical growth for residents.

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                              Photo: Trinity Community Ministries

“Just a lot of support groups that encourage you to do better. Because of the spirituality of the program, it strengthens the inner man,” says Faust.

Faust has a few words for those considering to indulge in trying drugs.

“My word to the people who might be listening or what have you, I encourage you do not even give your mind, give into the curiosity of using drugs or getting high,” says Faust.

Huff says, “We’ve impacted so many kids and so many people who come and listen to the stories of the men that are here.”

Trinity House continues to help those like Faust receive a second chance at life while being an impactful landmark in the Auburn District area.

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The Atlanta Children’s Shelter

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                                         Photo: We-Get-Around.com

According to the Atlanta Youth Center, there is 3,374 homeless youth on the streets of Metro Atlanta. Here’s how the Atlanta Children’s Shelter is helping out the community.

The Atlanta Children’s Shelter provides quality daycare, emotional services, and educational curriculum for homeless children in Atlanta.

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                                                      Photo: Orkin

Samantha Foster and her four-year-old son Daunte Gardner are one of the many families benefiting from the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

“Atlanta Children’s Shelter is heaven and God’s sent,” says Foster. “They benefited me in every area that I can think of. It saved me a lot of money. It’s helping me transition into my place with my family faster because I don’t have to pay for traditional daycare.”

“I ended up in the women’s shelter at Solomon’s Temple due to some bad choices I made in my personal life with a failed marriage and domestic violence issues,” Foster adds.

Billie Walker, the Childcare Manager, wants to help many more like Samantha in the Atlanta area.

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                                 Photo: The Atlanta Children’s Shelter

“How I became involved with the Atlanta Children’s Shelter is that I was once a client. In 2006, I was homeless myself with my four-year-old son at the time so just like the parents that I get to serve every single day that parent in 2006 was me,” says Walker.

“So I know single handily and through my own experiences what it’s like to face homelessness or to be a parent and being homeless at the same time. It’s a very critical state to be in, very sensitive, very much at the mercy of the individuals that are supporting you and helping you,” Walker adds.

“We’re working tiredly to help to change families that are currently in a homeless state. We’re bringing stability to families every single year about 29 to 30 families and were helping them to move from being homeless to stable. Over 90 to 100 percent of our families leave here self-sufficient,” says Walker.

Due to the efforts of people like Mrs. Walker and the Atlanta Children’s Shelter to end homelessness, homeless families in the Metro Atlanta area have a haven for their children and a chance to reach stability.

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                                                    Photo: Red Tricycle

To donate and get involved with the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, head to ACSATL.org.

#OnAssignment Campus Carry Law

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                                             Photo: KTXS.com

Due to the Campus Carry legislation, people on Georgia State’s campus share their thoughts and experience with the Campus Carry Law.

Georgia State freshman majoring in pre-accounting, Dennis Williams gives his opinion on whether he agrees or disagrees with the Campus Carry Law and why or why not?

Do you agree or disagree with Campus Carry Law and why or why not?

“I disagree because someone almost…I did something stupid, and he almost pulled a gun out on me. So I was kind of terrified because I didn’t know he was carrying. So I was pretty scared,” says Williams.  

So the person who pulled the gun out on you, were they a student?

“Yeah, they were a student,” says Williams.

And that experience didn’t make you want to carry on campus to protect yourself?

“I didn’t really think about it until you asked me and it clicked back to me. I’m like yeah, I don’t want anyone to carry to try to hurt someone,” says Williams.

To see which states allow the Campus Carry Law, take a look at the full graphic shown in the video below.

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                                                 Photo: The Trace

More Than a Safe Place-Six Benefits of After-school Programs for Students and Parents!

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                                         Photo: Arkansas Dream Center

After-school programs aren’t just for students to have a safe environment while their parents are still at work, there are other beneficiaries of after-school programs. Check out six benefits of after-school programs for children and parents below.

1) After-school programs can help students build confidence who have learning and attention issues. An after-school program may be more forgiving than a school which will allow the child to learn new things and even take more risks.

2) A child’s parent(s) also has advantages of an after-school program. According to a study done by UCLA, 75 percent of parents surveyed said they felt more energy and less stress in the evenings since enrolling their children in an after-school program.

3) A good after-school program promotes respect, cooperation, and support. This allows a student to improve their social skills because they feel secure about joining a game or starting a conversation with another student at the program.

4) Since parent(s) enroll their child or children into after-school programs and it creates less stress, parent(s) are better regarded by their employers. Seventy-four percent of parents agreed that after-school programs made it easier for them to keep their job.

5) After-school programs allow students to build extra energy through physical activity. After-school programs may provide students with healthy meals and snacks. Staff members can also educate children on proper nutrition.

6) Children have already finished their homework by the time they get home because many after-school programs assist students with their work. This allows the parent(s) to simply just review their child or children’s work if they like and it leaves more room for the parent(s) to spend quality time with their significant other or children.

Children and parents can both benefit from after-school programs as you see above. So if your child or children are struggling in their learning, social life, and you want more quality time with the family, read the six advantages of after-school programs. It just might change your life.

Big Bethel’s Saturday School Creates Bright Future for Students

Liya Zenebe and Timothy Bledsoe, both fifth-graders attending Centennial Academy have been attending Big Bethel’s Saturday School since the program was founded in February 2012. Zenebe and Bledsoe say the Saturday School has impacted their young lives, especially academically for Zenebe, who aspires to be a chemist, and Bledsoe, who wants to be an astronomer.

“I started coming to the Saturday School when it first started. I like that they teach us a lot, and they don’t only teach us academics, but they also teach us life lessons that we need to learn. So we usually do arts and crafts, go outside. There was this one time where this guy came in, and he showed us how to do photography. It’s always something different, and it’s exciting,” says Zenebe.

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Zenebe also says that Big Bethel’s Saturday School help pushes her to become a better person.

“If I didn’t come to Big Bethel on Saturdays, I probably would not have been as creative as I am now. Because they usually want to push us beyond limits,” says Zenebe.

Big Bethel is important to many young children in the community because it allows them to have extra help beyond school and at home.

“Big Bethel is important to me because when I needed a little bit of help with math, they gave me help so that I can be better in school. At school I get tutoring, so that helps me out. And then I get extra help over here,” says Bledsoe.

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According to Benefits for Youth, Families, & Communities, afterschool programs bring benefits to children, their parents, and the communities they live in. These benefits include better academic performance in the classroom, staying out of trouble, and providing a more structured and safe environment especially for children who come from single-parent homes.

Benefits for Youth, Families, & Communities also mentioned that 40 percent of students that attend afterschool programs improve their reading and math grades, reduce the chances of them wanting to drop out, create more aspirations, encourage physical activity, reduce drug use and “parents usually concerned about their children’s afterschool care miss an average of eight days of work per year has decreased worker productivity costs businesses up to $300 billion annually.”

 

Bessie Donaldson, one of the ministers on staff at Big Bethel AME Church is responsible for the Saturday School Academy. The Saturday School Academy was birthed out of a ministry she started when she retired from Fulton County Juvenile Court.

“The ministry itself, the overall ministry, is a juvenile justice ministry and that’s a ministry designed to reach out to children who are at risk of getting into the system. The Saturday School serves as an intervention program to the children getting in the system and messing up their lives,” says Donaldson.

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“If there were no Big Bethel Saturday School, I believe some of the children would be in a juvenile court. I truly believe that was the path they were on because just from my experience in working in the juvenile court and tracing the path of those who entered that system, they started from falling behind in school in their classroom,” says Donaldson.

Zenebe feels as though the Saturday School program keeps her out of trouble as Donaldson said and on the right track.

“The Saturday School has tried keeping me away from trouble with other peers. When some people just agitate me, they tell me what to do. In academics, they’ve helped me with my struggles, with things I don’t understand, and they’ve just taught me to be more creative. They added an upgrade to who I am,” says Zenebe.

Donaldson describes the growth in Zenebe and Bledsoe since they started coming to the Saturday School.

“Liya started out a very quiet little girl. But eventually, we saw this gradual person coming out and over the years since 2012 we’ve seen Liya just grow by leaps and bounds. And so Liya stretched. In fact, she’s in the older group. I think the Saturday School has impacted her in a great way because she’s even now entering different competitions, reading, and speaking,” says Donaldson.

“Timothy is the same because Timothy, you couldn’t get Timothy to do nothing. He would never hold his head up. It took him a long time to start talking, but he’s smart as a whip. He gained his confidence, and he started talking. And Timothy was talking more to my husband than me, and I felt that it was like he doesn’t have a father image at home, so I think he felt comfortable talking to this male,” says Donaldson.

The children at the Saturday School are even working on a gardening project in the Big Bethel Amphitheater.

“We’re planning to make it nice looking, and it’s just to revitalize Auburn Avenue. Just like a project, we had at school,” says Zenebe.

Bledsoe is also a part of the project.

“We sometimes rake the leaves over there from here. When I look out the window, I always see that. First I see there’s this parking lot, and then I turn my head a little bit to the right. And then there I see the tires. It has a lot of beautiful tires,” says Bledsoe.

Donaldson hopes the students at Big Bethel will learn something valuable from the gardening project. She sees it as a valuable life lesson rather than just fun outside.

“My hopes is to use it as a teaching tool, a vehicle to teach them one about food, where they get food from. The other thing is discipline because we’re going to have to go up and care for that, so it’s going to take some discipline. It’s going to take some hands-on kind of thing, getting involved and working together with somebody else. So I’m hoping that team spirit, the development where team mentality, and working with others realizing that you’re not going to be able to do everything on your own comes into play,” says Donaldson.

 

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 Both Bledsoe and Zenebe would like to have more science related curriculums from the Saturday School.

“I want to be a chemist. We don’t often learn science. They try to cover the spots where we have the most trouble in, and it’s usually students from Georgia State University that come and do the math and reading, one-on-one with us. But we still have social studies and science, and if we’re struggling with that, some people depend on Saturday School,” says Zenebe.

Bledsoe agrees.

“Whenever a child expresses an interest in something like that like Liya and Timothy did, we try to find some place, some person to connect them with to help them get there. Now the science piece, thank God. We have a new partner who has a STEM program that’s coming in. We follow them and make sure they are connected with something that’s going to be productive for them to reach their goal,” says Donaldson.

Without Big Bethel, some of the students may have been headed down the wrong path, but because of Donaldson ’s vision, students have a chance of being successful and experience valuable life lessons like Zenebe and Bledsoe. The future is bright for the students at Big Bethel’s Saturday School.

“In the future, I want this school to become an accredited school and not only Big Bethel but other congregations. With the way, the school systems are going, and with the state trying to take control of the school system, it’s going to take the faith community starting schools to rescue our children and to help them to get to where they need to go, ” says Donaldson.

To get a glimpse of what the students do at Saturday School, check out the video below.

 

 

Five Ways To Abstain From Sex In College-A College Kid’s Guide!

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Photo:  Teen Health Source

College students are always faced with temptation when it comes to having sex. Some students struggle to fight this temptation on a daily basis while on campus but below are five ways students can practice abstinence while in college.

  1. Some partners aren’t willing to wait for you so choose a relationship with someone who shares the same values or commitments as you do or deeply respects your decision to wait to have sex.

  2. Emotions are high when you are dealing with someone. Those emotions can take over when you are extremely physically attracted to that person, so avoid places where you can spend extended times alone with someone that you’re physically attracted to.

  3. Everyone is human so turn your sexual urges into other positive activities such as dancing, exercising, cooking, studying, going out with friends, or any other activities that you personally enjoy.

  4. Seek support from outside sources. If you are struggling to abstain from sex there are programs and ways you can seek help to suppress those extreme sexual urges such as joining an organization that focuses on abstinence or celibacy; churches offer weekly meetings and seminars, parents, pastor, teacher, like-minded friends, and even online forums.

  5. Openly communicate to your partner or significant other what your goal is by abstaining from sex. For many people abstaining from sex is spiritual or maybe you feel it will make your relationship stronger. Whatever it is, make sure you let your partner know why you choose to abstain from sex and stand firm in that decision.

If you are struggling to fight temptation, then use the five ways above to abstain from sex in college. Use these tools and enjoy your college years. After all, it’s supposed to be one of your best experiences before entering adulthood.