TRUSSVILLE — CEO of sexual risk prevention ministry Decisions, Choices and Options (DCO) Joi Wasill spoke to members of the Trussville community at CrossPoint Church Tuesday night about the challenges children face in today's cultural and ideological climate.

DCO started 21 years ago and began partnering with Alabama schools in 2009. It now serves schools in Chilton, Jefferson, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan Counties, providing resources to help them teach students about life choices, STDs, pregnancy and the costs of teen parenting. 

Wasill titled the Tuesday night event "Designed for More."

"Out of all the things that we do, that is our heart's desire, for every one of those seventh graders and eighth graders and tenth graders and twelve graders to understand that they are designed for so much more than this culture is giving them," she explained.

Wasill criticized efforts to offer sexual education entwined with ideology.

"We spend a lot of time in classrooms and schools of all sizes and demographics," Wasill said. "I've been in education for 34 years now, and I've never seen youth in such mental despair and distress as they're in right now of all ages … So many outside voices speaking lies and confusion. The ones who should be protecting them are silent."

"When I was a teen in Killen, Alabama, all of those entities from those parents, my church, my school and any other organization I was involved with were basically all saying the same message," she continued. "Our kids today can't imagine that. They can't imagine the world we grow up in. We've got to wake up to what their world looks like. We've got to work in unison to replace the protective shield around them. Or we're going to lose this generation of children. We are so perilously close."

But Wasill did offer hope.

"I know that if you tell them the truth and treat them like they're valuable and that they have worth and dignity, they're going to make better choices because you've set the standard for them," she said.

Following Wasill's presentation, DCO communications manager Claire Fluts announced the organization's new resource for parents to teach at home, also titled "Designed for More." The online program features five segments in which married couples share their journey.

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