Kansas City Star (01.07.09) - Thursday, January 08, 2009
This fall, the Wyandotte County-based Haven Center Inc.
learned its federal abstinence grant will not be renewed. The
center, which was founded in 1995 as a home for pregnant teens
and evolved into a life-skills program, had provided the
Kansas City, Kan., School District with an abstinence-only
"Even though the main focus was abstinence education, we deal
with overall health as well as teaching social skills," said
Pat Tramble, Haven's former executive director. She no longer
works at the center due to a lack of funding.
The curriculum was given over a three-year period to students
at Rosedale and Arrowhead middle schools and Wyandotte,
Sumner, and Schlagle high schools. It was presented to
students once a week over a nine-week period.
"They just do a really good job of connecting with the kids,"
said Terry Messenheimer, a physical education instructor at
Rosedale Middle School. "The kids really liked it because they
could open up with them and talk about dating and
relationships. I'll be really upset if they can't continue the
program; they really cared about these kids."
In 2005, Haven received a federal grant totaling more than
$670,000 annually to bring its life-skills programs to youths
ages 12-18 in Wyandotte County. It unsuccessfully applied to
have the grant renewed this fall, said Tramble. That forced
the center to put the school program on hold.
"Abstinence education is an important part of our
comprehensive sex and HIV/AIDS education curriculum," said
Jean Ney, a district education coordinator. "Pat and her
trainers met kids where they were and provided important
supplemental education about the consequences of careless
sexual behavior." Ney said the district will look to see
whether curriculum adjustments are needed.