Title V Meets Character Education

North Carolina’s Title V State Abstinence Education Program and the state’s Character Education Initiative have teamed up to bring leadership training and service learning to young leaders from across the state.

The program started last year with a two-and-a-half day Summer Leadership Institute for 4th- through 11th-graders on the campus of William Peace University in Raleigh, NC. The Institute prepares students to take active roles in their schools and communities. To that end, teams of four to six young people from public, private and charter schools across the state received hands-on training in leadership, character-building and community service.

Nakisha Floyd is an administrator of North Carolina’s Family and Youth Services Bureau-funded Abstinence Education Program at the Department of Education’s Healthy School’s Section. She began partnering with her colleagues in the Social Studies Section, which oversees character education, because she noticed that many of the school districts were incorporating character-building activities into their abstinence education programs.

“When I started looking at the elements of character education, I saw a natural blend with abstinence education,” Floyd says. “Character education components are foundations for what abstinence education is. You’re talking about honesty, you’re talking about responsibility, you’re talking about respect, you’re talking about integrity—the list goes on.”

After last year’s leadership program, the student teams began service-learning projects that they have been working on throughout the year. For example, Floyd says, one high-school team created a teen pregnancy prevention campaign, and an elementary-age team promoted health and wellness at their school. The teams will return to this year’s leadership program, to be held June 23 to 26, to present their projects to a new batch of young leaders.

“We’re always trying to find ways to make health relevant,” Floyd says. “The whole thing is to have young people make positive decisions so they can develop into healthy adults and make positive contributions to society.”

The Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Title V State Abstinence Education Grant Program provides funding to states and territories for abstinence education, and where appropriate, mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity. Projects focus on those groups most likely to bear children out of wedlock, including youth, ages 10 to 19, who are homeless, in foster care, live in rural areas or geographic areas with high teen birth rates, or come from racial or ethnic minority groups.

Learn more about the Title V State Abstinence Education Grant Program.