WHY REAL ESSENTIALS?
The REAL Essentials curriculum equips students with life skills for a positive future. REAL, Relationship Education And Leadership, empowers teens with the confidence to discern and develop successful relationships.
Sexual activity is a risk factor unfavorable to an adolescent’s health. It increases the risk for STDs and untimely pregnancies, and it is associated with adverse psychological consequences such as feelings of disrespect, regret and a higher incidence of depression. Early sex is associated with other unhealthy behaviors such as multiple partners and condom misuse. From a public health perspective, teens are best served when their future outcomes are prioritized and they are empowered to avoid risk.
The Risk Avoidance (RA) public health model endorses abstaining from or avoiding behaviors that would likely keep individuals from completing their life’s goals, and it has been successfully employed with anti-smoking, anti-drug and anti-drinking campaigns. Similarly, research has found that Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) programs help teens to delay or discontinue sex if already sexually active. The REAL Essentials SRA curriculum includes interactive activities to help students develop healthy relationships and to achieve their future personal and professional goals.
- Self-discovery (e.g. personality strengths and challenges)
- Effective communication skills
- Decision-making skills
- Healthy friendships vs. toxic friendships
- Foundations of healthy relationships
- Refusal skills and setting healthy boundaries
- Risks of pornography
- Strategies to overcome peer pressure and bullying
- Relationship red flags/Break-up strategies*
- Sexual risk and sexual assault*
- Success strategies*
*These lessons are reserved for high school students
- Five sessions are recommended, but the lessons can be adapted to your school or organization’s schedule and needs. The curriculum is most effective when shared in individual classroom or youth group settings.
- The REAL Essentials Curriculum can be naturally incorporated into various classroom settings—including Health, Family and Consumer Science, Religion and Seminar/Discovery—or youth groups, community organizations, foster-care support groups, summer camp settings and correctional institutions.
ALIGNMENT WITH NATIONAL ACADEMIC STANDARDS
- Policy Priorities: Why Sexual Delay Should be the Goal in Sex Education…And Why Teen Pregnancy Prevention Isn’t Enough (PDF)