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 Real Love Respects Program Information Page

New Hope Family Services (NHFS) is a prolife, pregnancy resource center and adoption agency. Our widely respected organization has provided valuable services to the Syracuse community free of charge for over 50 years, and our supporters come from a broad cross-section of people with diverse backgrounds, faiths, socio-economic classes, and public service.  

One of the free services we provide is our Abstinence Education Program, titled “Real Love Respects” (RLR), which we have offered to area school districts for over 18 years, reaching over 44,000 students.  RLR is a carefully thought out abstinence-based program that covers most of the New York State mandated sex education curriculum and is based on factual statistics taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although NHFS is a Christian agency, RLR is specifically designed for the public school system with no mention of religion or religious material. We offer two versions of our program, one designed for middle school students and the other for high school students. Our presenters are reputable, highly trained, and adhere to the script. This program is not, nor has ever been, government funded. We believe that educating our teens about the risks of engaging in pre-marital sex will help them make a more positive and rewarding choice. By encouraging our youth to abstain and teaching them how to achieve this goal, they will be able to realize greater opportunities for their future and a healthier, risk-free lifestyle. RLR is completely devoid of shame and/or shaming characteristics.  We devote a portion of our program to reassure those who may be sexually active that their intrinsic value has not changed whatsoever, and those who have been sexually abused that they were a victim bearing no fault. RLR is presented with humor, personal experiences, interactive demonstrations and truthful, accurate information taken from the Center for Disease Control.  We include teaching on how to develop refusal skills and setting healthy boundaries. The program is designed to reach all learning styles, and has been very well received by students and health instructors alike. 

We have been presenting our Real Love Respects program in Baker High School for the last seven years. This semester we presented our program to 188 students there and 184 of them responded positively to our presentations (according to their anonymous student evaluations) with comments like, “I liked learning about the positives of waiting,” “We need more people like you guys,” and “Thank you for taking your time to come in. You have no idea how much this truly means to me.”  They indicated the most memorable aspects of the program were “To think about decisions before you make them,” and “That everyone is valuable.” 

We are saddened that a small portion of our program was taken out of context and misunderstood by a parent.  The purpose of the Bubble Gum Skit is to demonstrate that sexual intimacy is something special and not to be treated casually. Throughout the years, we have received encouraging and positive responses to the skit, and it has always been our intention to empower students to respect their sexuality in their decision making. Because one parent objected to the metaphor used in this skit, we are reviewing and making adjustments to avert any further confusion or mischaracterization of our program. Over time, our RLR program has been vetted successfully by the teachers, administrators, and students of the districts we serve free of charge, and besides the high accolades received from students and teachers alike, the greatest testament to the value of our community service is our invitation to return year after year.