Students Teaching About Relationships and Success

Sometimes one lesson, or even one semester, of education in the classroom is just not enough to inspire a student to make healthy choices, build their character, and form healthy relationships throughout the rest of their young lives. The FRIENDS FIRST STARS Mentoring Program can make the choice of healthy relationships a part of their everyday lives through consistent reinforcement and support. When teens are involved in a year-round mentor program with their peers, avoiding high risk behaviors becomes more realistic and attainable. Through the mentoring program you are reaching a broad age range of students from 9th – 12th grades.

The STARS Mentoring Program is not just about learning to say “no” to high risk behaviors. The program is about learning life skills and building character that will be helpful in many aspects of a young person’s life. Students learn about goal setting, self-control, healthy relationships, positive communication, determination, safe dating, refusal skills, healthy boundaries, and the benefits of abstinence until marriage.

Best of all the STARS Mentoring Program offers fun alternative activities for students to participate in where there is no pressure to participate in high risk activities that could compromise their ability to pursue their hopes and dreams.

The STARS Mentoring Program…

  • is appropriate for public schools and community settings.

  • meets all of the national mentoring partnership guidelines.

  • is medically accurate.

Background

The STARS Mentoring Program was developed in 1996 in order to provide long-term follow-up and peer role-models for students choosing or wanting to return to abstinence. It is an effective follow up to your current abstinence curriculum. Designed using the criteria of the National Mentoring Partnership, the STARS Mentoring Program provides support to students from 6th-12th grade.

The American Journal of Health Behavior reported that, for 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds, the greatest factor contributing to the decision to delay sexual activity is the asset of peer role models. Ninety-one percent of youth in this age group with the peer role models asset were sexually abstinent compared to 77% without this asset. (Oman, R., et. al. A youth development approach to profiling sexual abstinence. The American Journal of Health Behavior, 27, S80-S93, 2003)

The STARS Mentoring Program utilizes primary theoretical frameworks including Positive Youth Development, Character, the 40 Developmental Assets, Bandura’s Theory of Self-Efficacy, and the Social Norming Theory, to create a youth-driven peer mentoring program.

Process level evaluation has shown the effectiveness of student mentoring.

Over the past 10 years, communities in 32 states have been trained in the STARS Mentoring Program demonstrating the adaptability of the project.

Goals

The FRIENDS FIRST Mentoring Program is designed to provide ongoing support to teens who have chosen (or simply want to learn more about) abstinence from high-risk behaviors including premarital sexual involvement, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. The mentoring program can work successfully with students from the 5th to 12th grades. The goals of the program are as follows:

  • To provide mentoring relationships between older and younger youth.

  • To provide alternatives to high-risk behaviors by sponsoring risk-free activities to youth at equal intervals throughout the year, especially after school, weekends, and school vacations.

  • To increase assets in the lives of youth.

  • To provide ongoing abstinence skills training and relationship education workshops.

  • To promote healthy passages to youth during high-risk transitional periods from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school.

  • To engage and educate parents to become the primary sexuality educators of their children and to teach their children to effectively communicate boundaries.

  • To develop the inner character of youth to make abstinence from risky behaviors a truly viable alternative.

  • To provide updated information and education about the epidemic rates of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and out-of-wedlock births.

  • To develop the foundation of skills necessary and conducive to stable, successful, long-term, monogamous marriage relationships.

  • To increase protective factors found to be effective in reducing out-of-wedlock parenting and risk behaviors.