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Not for Profit: Boys to Men and Sister 2 Sister

Jan. 07, 2007 — Ensuring the territory's youth are loved, educated and respected, Speak the Word Ministries has begun two programs: Boys to Men and Sister 2 Sister.
Each program takes an individualized approach to teaching young people their worth and preparing them for successful lives as adults.
"The goal of Sister 2 Sister is to teach teenage girls how to live successful lives through teachings that encourage development of practical and social skills," says the Speak the Word website. The program currently teaches more than 200 young women across the territory the importance of good attitudes, respectful behavior and intelligent conversation. Program founder Pastor Terry Skepple found a need in the community for an organization that emphasized education, taught etiquette and helped to reduce the epidemic of teenage pregnancy.
The main focus of the program is to stress abstinence to the 12- to 17-year-old young ladies in the program, says Director Cathy James: "We found that a lot of girls slip in that area. Once they cross that line, everything is haywire from there."
Since the program's inception in 2000, she says, many young women have moved on to accomplish wonderful things, but they still return to aid program leaders regularly.
Boys to Men is a "teen mentoring counseling organization," the website says. The program has two parts, according to Director Jermaine Dennis: an after-school tutorial and a residential program. Four young men reside in a three-bedroom home, where they are guided through everyday life through personalized male mentoring. The program is geared to families "who have trouble with young men." Sometimes they are mandated to take in these young men, Dennis says, and other times they are taken in after a parental request.
The program is geared to young men between the ages of 13 and 17. There are ways to avoid raising an emotionally imbalanced young man, Dennis says.
"Communicate with the young man," he says. "Set clear, distinct boundaries with clear consequences and stand by them."
Parents must be honest with young men, Dennis says. "Once a young man sees clear boundaries and experiences love," he says, they respond well and are on their way to becoming productive citizens.
The program has many success stories, he says, and the young men who have been in the program have moved on to accomplish great things. "They said the program opened their eyes to certain things in their lives," Dennis says.
The young men who have come through the program have learned to deal with emotional issues they may not have dealt with in their past, he says. Being able to successfully conquer their emotional issues has helped many of the young men that were in the program to become successful men.
Speak the Word Ministries is a multicultural, non-denominational ministry started in 1998 by Pastors Dexter and Terry Skepple. Located in Peter's Rest, Speak the Word touches more than 800 people in St. Croix. For more information on Sister 2 Sister, contact Cathy James at 778-TEEN or click here. For more information on Boys to Men, contact Jermaine Dennis at 692-7737 or click here.
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