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April 16, 2010

Teen pregnancy educator TN .. Joi Wasill

Teen pregnancy educator TN... Joi Wasill

I was the one who nominated Joi for this honor and serve on her board. Joi is a friend and fellow laborer in the pro life movement. She knows it is not about her but about the program that is changing hearts and minds of our youth on the important life/death decisions that go along with teen pregnancy. How we both wish that teens would remain abstinent until marriage....this program (www.decisionschoicesandoptions.org) does not talk about how to put on a condom, we encourage abstinence but give them the reality of the tough choices that a teen faces if pregnancy does occur. This is not just a girl talk, it impacts the boy as well and is covered in the presentation. Joi started this as a one time presentation in her hometown and it has taken on a life of its own. The program has been fine tuned, updated and copy written and has received international attention. She formed a non profit and is taking this program nationwide and beyond. Go the website to see a sample of the presentation. Maybe it needs to come to your area.

Write up in Hendersonville Star News.....30 Most Influential People in Sumner County, TN
Joi was one of the 30 profiled .....

After giving a class on teen parenting, adoption and abortion, Joi Wasill was faced with an exhausted, sobbing teen mother.

She told Wasill: "I had no idea my life would be ruined."

"That was a child who had to make this decision without all the facts in front of her," Wasill said. "That we're expecting these 15- and 16-year-old girls to make the hardest decision of their lives without the facts or all the options in front of them is ridiculous."
A former Hendersonville High School teacher, Wasill began teaching teens about the three options every mother faces: parenting, adoption and abortion.
She started Decisions, Choices and Options in 2002 after hearing many misconceptions about adoption. The program covers things like open adoptions, stages of fetal development and the difficulties teen mothers and children of teen parents face over a lifetime.

Her program has reached 25,000 teens around Middle Tennessee and has been emulated in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Kentucky and Ohio.

"Teen pregnancy is almost at epidemic levels," she said. "It is not getting better out there. It is getting worse."

Sue Parker, CEO of Life Choices of Memphis, a pregnancy medical center and adoption agency, said Wassil's talks combat the negative messages kids hear.
"Joi comes at it from the perspective that she not only wants to share with the kids but she wants to hear back from them," Parker said. "That makes them feel like they're empowered and they have a voice."

--Matt Anderson




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