The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 23 with Amy Davis | Talking About A Unique Approach to Abstinence Based Education 

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 23 with Amy Davis | Talking About A Unique Approach to Abstinence Based Education 
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Listen to Amy Davis and Jacob Barr chat about The Peers Project and how it is helping prepare youth to be leaders in the prolife team universe by promoting healthy lifestyles and good life decisions.  Hear about how the high school students are embracing the program and teaching it to their peers.

Reach Amy at https://peersproject.org/contact/ to learn more.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr. In this episode of the Pro-Life Team Podcast, I had a conversation with Amy Davis about the Peers Project, an initiative empowering high school students to teach abstinence education in public and private schools. Amy, as the director of The Pierce Project, collaborates with PRCS in the tri-state area. She elaborated on how the project bridges the gap between pregnancy clinics and school campuses, highlighting the unfamiliarity of young people with pro-life resources.

The Peers Project, active in 14 high schools, involves students recommended by school staff. These students, demonstrating healthy lifestyle choices, become peer leaders. Amy’s role is to mentor them and guide them in imparting this curriculum, which is approved by the Department of Education, to middle schoolers. The curriculum, available in two versions, focuses on topics like healthy relationships, social media influence, and goal setting.

Amy shared the origins of this curriculum, created by Eve Jackson in Indianapolis, Indiana, as a response to the lack of adequate abstinence education. It’s noteworthy that this curriculum is open-source, encouraging wider usage without financial barriers.

Funding for the Peers Project comes from donations to the Right to Life of Southwest Indiana. High school students, trained to present this curriculum in middle schools, gain leadership experience and positive peer influence. The initiative’s reach extends beyond Indiana, with potential for national expansion through collaboration with pregnancy resource centers.

Amy emphasized the importance of establishing a presence in schools to create a supportive network for students, guiding them towards healthy life choices. This project not only educates but also builds a bridge between students and pro-life resources, fostering a supportive community.

#ProLifePodcast, #PeersProject, #AbstinenceEducation, #YouthEmpowerment, #HealthyChoices, #LeadershipDevelopment, #PeerInfluence, #SchoolOutreach, #OpenSourceCurriculum, #ProLifeGeneration, #StudentMentorship, #CommunityImpact, #PositiveChange, #EducationReform, #YouthLeaders.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m here with Amy Davis and we’re going to talk about the Peers Project where she is inviting and empowering high school students to impact their peers and middle school students through this unique way of bringing an abstinent education into the public and private school systems. Welcome Amy i’m so glad that you are here so we can hear more about the work that you’re doing in schools and helping students and young people. Would you please introduce yourself as if you were talking to a group of Tracy Clinic executive directors and leaders? However, you might introduce yourself to some a group like that.

Amy Davis :

Sure my name is Amy Davis and I am the director of The Pierce Project. We are an education fund from the Evansville Right to Life of Southwest Indiana, and I work with PRCS locally and in the tri-state area.

Jacob Barr :

Ok. So tell me about the work that you do that essentially comes alongside pregnancy clinics how do you connect the pregnancy clinic group with on a campus right? Tell us what you provide and do and we can explore how that’s beneficial and maybe all other clinics might want to, yeah, understand what you’re doing so they might want to adopt or follow in those kind of footsteps with their own projects and missions.

Amy Davis :

So we have found that students really do not know about the pro-life work that is done in the pregnancy resource centers. A lot of young kids have not heard of pro-life resources so as I have been in the schools with the Peers Project, it has allowed me to share about the services and the opportunity to be a part of pregnancy resource centers if needed for just general health and Well and WellCare and also for counseling and.

Jacob Barr :

Just for questions and if they had questions past what we’ve discussed in the peers project, so what Tell me about what does the peer project include or what are the how do students interact with your peer project?

Amy Davis :

Ok, so the peers project is in 14 different high schools locally and what I’ll do is I have an application that students are. Asked to fill out and they are also recommended by principals, teachers, counselors. And their answers show or reflect whether they’re making healthy lifestyle choices, staying away from drugs, sex and alcohol, and trying to be a student leader. And what I do in the schools is mentor them, help them with teaching this curriculum that then they go and share. At the middle schools on healthy relationships, protecting your heart with the social media that we are infiltrated with and then helping set goals and to be a success as we move forward in their life as they continue on.

Jacob Barr :

So is this a curriculum that has been used in the public school setting, private school setting, or both?

Amy Davis :

It has been used in both. It is the Department of Education approved curriculum, so we try to meet a bunch of the health and PE standards, but it is done in both private and public schools.

Jacob Barr :

Do you have this? Is it a the same version used in both or is there a alternate version for public versus private?

Amy Davis :

We do have two different curriculums, OK? But we let the school choose if they want to use the faith-based one or not.

Jacob Barr :

Has a public school ever chosen the faith-based option, or is that even an option for them to pick?

Amy Davis :

They have not chosen the faith-based option, and I don’t even know that they would because I tried to go in there as someone that is just wanting to give them just help their students. And so I don’t usually go in there with the faith. Agenda, because that’s usually shot down in the public schools.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, Now when you provide this curriculum, is it, is it come with like you or someone in your team, then providing like a teaching, like in person teaching or what does it look like for them as a teacher bringing you in or a school bringing you in what does that look like?

Amy Davis :

So I will work with the high school students to learn a script. That they’ll go and teach to the middle schools and I work directly with and I also have staff that works with me too. So that we can reach all of the schools here in the in our area and we work with the administration and the teachers in the middle schools. And that’s we will spend a day or two inside their classroom just teaching this curriculum to each of the students in their school, sixth through eighth grade.

Jacob Barr :

So did who wrote the curriculum or who was the Where did it come from? Did it come from an outside group, or was it written by yourself or someone else?

Amy Davis :

There was a lady from Indianapolis indiana that was a school teacher and realized that there was not a very good abstinence education curriculum up in Indiana and so her name is Eve Jackson and she founded it and then it was brought down to where I live in Evansville indiana and we’ve just taken it from there and just multiplied and. Tried to explode it into all of our school systems here.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome and does what is it? Did Eve Jackson make it so that people have to buy it or is it something that’s more like open source for people can have access to it without having to like pay for a licensed copy?

Amy Davis :

It is an open source curriculum, so if anyone is interested in using the curriculum, it is available for use because we believe that. If a if a teacher wants to use it and the student wants to hear it is an awesome curriculum.

Jacob Barr :

How do you fund your organization is it through donors or because it sounds like you’re or do you or is there a charge when you go into the school do they provide like some kind of compensation for that service?

Amy Davis :

So Right to Life of Southwest Indiana funds it through their donor funding throughout the year they raise funds throughout the year. And we offer it as a free service to the schools we just want to be a blessing to the schools and we don’t want to have charge them anything.

Jacob Barr :

We just come in and make it as easy as possible to be a part of their school and so does it. So essentially you’re teaching the teachers on how to use the curriculum more so than providing like the staff, because that would be very expensive i would expect to have like you know the manpower to actually be in person, providing that like in person, but training the staff seems like a more seems like that’s more cost effective or more of a way to is it or?

Amy Davis :

Yeah, the Peers project has their own personal staff that works in the schools, not part of the school corporation we’re just volunteers that come into the schools and teach the Peers curriculum to the high schoolers and then the high school students actually go and teach it at the middle school.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, so the high school students teach this at the middle school? That seems like a unique concept.

Amy Davis :

Yeah it’s so it’s not just me as a as a grown up that they hear grown-ups all the time, but it’s actually their peers, their high school peers that may be on the football team, may be on the chess team, may be on in the choir. They’re coming and they are teaching at to the middle school students. And those middle school students see them as leaders and want to. Be like them when they get in high school and actually say, well, if they’re doing it, then maybe I can do it.

Jacob Barr :

Wow so that’s so that. So was that part of the original plan that Missus Jackson came up with was she would have to have peers teach it to the younger ages?

Amy Davis :

It was and it was a really great design because she wanted to just instill like, I know what I know as a high schooler because. These high school students, they are abstaining from drug, sex and alcohol, the ones that are in the peers group, but they might not have known friends that were doing that. And so with this group that gets together, they get to see that I didn’t know that girl in my English class was also trying to make these healthy choices and now there’s a there’s a bond, there’s a friendship that can be formed because of like mindedness and they don’t have to feel like they’re. You know, a Lone Ranger out there just trying to make good choices and healthy decisions. They now see that I’ve got a group of peers that are doing that with me. And so it helps build accountability with one another in the high school. And they want to be good leaders because they know that they’re going to be going to the middle schools to teach this curriculum.

Jacob Barr :

Oh that’s so well, it’s got so much benefit because yeah, I can see the high school or you know taking it on at a greater level because of the responsibility and you know and what everything that comes with talking in front of a group and presenting that so they’re essentially learning it at that level, as a teacher would learn something, which is, oh, that’s beautiful.

Amy Davis :

Definitely.

Jacob Barr :

So when it comes to the high school or going to the middle school, is that over the course of a week, how many you know, how many classes or how much time do they spend in that health class or physical education, you know, classroom teaching it to the younger middle school age kids?

Amy Davis :

So they go and speak to one class and it’s a 50 minute presentation that we make. So they’ll spend all it could be. Part of the day to all of the day, depending on how many students are actually in each grade level.

Jacob Barr :

But each student only hears A1 hour, approximately 1 hour presentation during the year, but then that one that the high school students you know may end up doing that same presentation for sounds like many classes based on how big that school might be.

Amy Davis :

Yes, you’re right. That’s true.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, How many high schoolers are working together to instruct those classes is it a team of is it anywhere from one to five or what is that what’s that look like?

Amy Davis :

This is the awesome part so in Evansville we have 14 high schools that have the peers project and in total we have between 300 and 400 peer leaders in the high schools at any given year and. In those five high schools, I’m sorry, 14 high schools there’s over 25 middle schools that we present to. So thousands of middle school students get to hear this presentation.

Jacob Barr :

So and so how many. So there’s how many students again that actually are prepared or have done, you know, maybe there’s.

Amy Davis :

Approximately 300 wow all the schools at each school, it ranges because some schools are small, you know, with 100 students in a grade and so we’ll only have 20 or 30 at a school, But some schools have 30 to 50 leaders in a school just depending on the size of the high school, we can get more on our team because there’s more students that are can be a part of it.

Jacob Barr :

Well, what a good experience for a high schooler to have the opportunity to learn something to the degree where they feel confident To stand in front of 40 or 100 or some, you know, some number of students in a class and teach it and then to ask, you know answer questions and help people help those younger, you know two or three-year younger students understand it at a similar level. That’s really awesome. It’s Yeah. So this is in text. Well, what tell where’s the geographic bounds of where this program exists currently and are there any spin offs of other groups using that same like open source, sort of like Foundation?

Amy Davis :

So it started in Indianapolis indiana. It is now in Evansville indiana but it is in the surrounding 5 counties. So we’re down in Kentucky as well as in four counties in Indiana and it can grow as big as we wanted to it could be all over the United States we just have to find this is where the pregnancy resource centers really could be a part of the Pierce Project, because I see it as. If there is a staff member or a volunteer that could be willing to work with the schools and building that relationship and then doing the Pierce Project in the high schools, it’s just a great relationship between the school and the pregnancy resource centers. Really hard to understand it until you really just start talking it through And then you’re like, oh, that’s really what it is it really is a it’s just really interesting and I really this. I don’t know how to explain that, but I really do right now, right to life has it. At our in our location but I really see the Trotter house as we expand the Trotter house throughout our country i know it’s in Texas mostly we’re getting ready to have a Trotter house in Evansville indiana I see this as something that the Trotter house can offer to build that relationship and that bridge between the schools and the students and the pregnancy resource centers. So I want that’s why I think it would be great for all pregnancy resource centers to offer this as just part of a. It’s not necessarily like, you know, pregnancy care it is just let’s avoid being pregnant let’s avoid having situations where we’re making difficult decisions and we’re maybe not ready. Let’s build strong leaders let’s build people that have values that they can stand on and be encouraged by adult leaders.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, so now i’ve got some questions. One is when it comes so essentially it sounds like if someone in another state or a different county would like to explore this in their county, would they reach out to someone on your team or would they reach out who should they reach out to maybe do like a meeting or a zoom call to explore or is there video footage that’s essentially could just they could just email you and you can send them a link. How would they get sort of their feet wet with like what it looks like in order to do like a review of the curriculum so they could see if it’s something they would like to adopt and possibly put to use in their in their county.

Amy Davis :

Well, I am the director and so I flood, you know, take all of the questions that come in and I would love to talk to them and explain it’s a very easy process. Of just figuring out how to get into the schools, the best avenues to get into the schools and finding the correct advocates for each of the schools. That someone maybe that has that heartbeat and that passion for pro-life and I, but I would be the one that they could talk to and then get the curriculum to them and training and. Everything that they would need.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, so it sounds sort of like, let me see if I can recap this concept it sounds like you’re training people to then train the high schoolers and teach it to the high schoolers and then the high schoolers are then being trained to teach it to the middle schoolers so it’s almost like a training the trainers sort of a cycle is that is that what the it’s essentially training people well enough for them to then train somebody else, which is a beautiful way to spread messages by giving people tools and resources and confidence and education to then be able to help someone else come to that same place. Is that sort of your model?

Amy Davis :

I agree.

Jacob Barr :

I think that it’s that’s really exciting like that’s a it’s like you’re building a framework more so than just building a curriculum you’re building a way for it to be taught.

Amy Davis :

Sort of.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, let’s talk a little bit about awareness what how does a pregnancy clinic’s brand, let’s just call it Hope, you know, Hope Clinic. How would a pregnancy clinic brand like Hope end up being connected with the Peers Project and how might their brand become better known by people who don’t need help with an unplanned pregnancy today, but might need help in the future, or might know someone who needs help in the future?

Amy Davis :

So if Hope was to be associated with the Peers project, we would come alongside help them figure out how we can get the school. To have the peers project be a part of their school and start building that network and that relationship so that they would see the whole pregnancy center as a resource and not someone that is just out on the fringes, but actually as a resource to the students so we’re building a bridge of relationships everywhere we go. We want it to be working together we don’t want to be seen as pro-life as the enemy or pregnancy resources as the enemy, or taking away any type of healthcare we want to be just.

Jacob Barr :

We’re adding we’re just wanting to enhance and supplement we’re doing in the schools and so essentially the peers project would become a ministry of that Prancy of a Prancy clinic sort of like to how they have other ministries but this would be another like the Peers project by the name of the clinic.

Amy Davis :

Yes, exactly. That’s how.

Jacob Barr :

Yes, that makes sense and so then that, yeah, they get associated with providing education, providing tools or educational tool for someone to avoid STD’s unplanned pregnancy, abortion, etcetera, by living a healthy lifestyle, you know, striving towards a healthy marriage, you know, in the future for those who decide to get married, I mean that would make sense.

Amy Davis :

That relationship then with the with the PRC, with that, with that hope pregnancy center, they built that relationship so they’ve got a question. They’ve got a friend in the peers project leader that will be able to say hey remember I can, I can take you to hope I can take you to this pregnancy Resource Center. And so we’ve already built that bridge of relationship so that’s I think they’re really cool.

Jacob Barr :

Do the high schoolers get, like some kind of like educational class credit for teaching a class to the middle school on the middle school campus?

Amy Davis :

At this point it’s school by school basis. Most of the time it is just if they’re looking for volunteer opportunities, something maybe for their college resume, this is really wrong thing for them to use on their college resume. And I wrote scholarship letter because they’re rock stars in my book and I will definitely go to bat for them when they go to get a college scholarship or.

Jacob Barr :

This speaks highly that they’re able to teach something that they’re able to, you know communicate medical concepts they’re able to you know, you know some schools have like volunteer requirements that need to be met and this would definitely, yeah, help out with that. But I could imagine there being, you know a credit or some kind of educational. Yeah but essentially going on the resume is part of that i guess that. Yeah, like that because essentially it’s really good. It’s good work to teach and to help you know, help another class understand the concepts that’s such a good exercise, even if it happens to just be at the volunteer level at least now they have teaching experience, which is sometimes really hard to get it’s hard it’s hard to get the experience, which is then helpful to get a, you know, the next, the next, you know, paying project or professional project down the road. That’s really good.

Amy Davis :

Yeah. So when I know it.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, good.

Amy Davis :

No, go ahead go ahead.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, I was just going to ask about medical citations where which you know, how do you decide, you know, when it comes to medical citations and the content that you have, what was, you know, what’s your process? I guess well are they being updated since this was originally created or what does that look like?

Amy Davis :

So this point they have been, they are just staying as they are that it was updated about five years ago. So I still review the health and PE standards for their education department, but it is it’s still very.

Jacob Barr :

Fluid when it comes to the curriculum, I would, I would assume some parts are Evergreen, meaning they don’t, they don’t change and then some parts might you know when it comes to some parts they probably do change based on time, based on percentages of people who might have you know this or that and that you know that’s based off of polls or data that are based on a certain year and but when it comes to like abstinence being you know what abstinence is like that’s more Evergreen meaning that doesn’t change year to year but when it comes to the number of people that have chlamydia or you know or how to treat chlamydia or something like that would probably have you know that might change every five to 10 years I would expect.

Amy Davis :

Yeah and a lot of things that we talk about in our peers project is how to protect yourself from all of those things and I’m and I don’t mean, you know, with condoms and all of that, I’m talking about protecting your mind and protecting your heart and also what you’re putting in your body, whether it be smoking or dueling so, you know, when I started doing this ten years ago, dueling wasn’t even really a thing in the middle schools, whereas at this point, there’s a lot of dueling going on in the bathrooms, you know, at the schools or I didn’t even have to deal with Instagram and a lot of social media back ten years ago. So we really focus on, well, how do you protect yourself that way And the sexting that middle school students and high school students are very involved in that as the years have gone, different things become a focus where you know, whatever the culture is dealing with, we will try to implement that into the script because we see that one risky behavior leads to another risky behavior and so if we see them already trying dueling or drinking in high school, that one risky behavior leads to another. And a lot of the times, that leads.

Jacob Barr :

I’m starting to feel sort of old because I have no idea, like not even a guess as to what Julene is like what is Julene?

Amy Davis :

I have no Oh my Stars. Well, it is a vapor type of. Like a like AE Vape, It’s yes yes.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, it is. I know what E vapes are, but I didn’t know yeah, What why is it called Julian what what’s the what’s the connection there?

Amy Davis :

You’re asking me a question that I’m not really positive of what that answer is, so I.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, that’s fine.

Amy Davis :

I don’t know the kids just call it Julian. I don’t know, maybe oh the.

Jacob Barr :

Kids call it Julian oK, so that’s like this.

Amy Davis :

That’s what how they refer to it and I don’t know what the name of the actual vial that holds the product so that might be called a jewel and so you’re so I probably.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, it sounds like OK, so it’s some sort of slang for vaping oK, yeah that’s.

Amy Davis :

And that’s obviously less than, I don’t know when vaping came out, but it’s new obviously, right that was not very long ago so everything just continues to evolve and change. And that’s the cool thing about the Pierce Project whenever I work with the high school leaders, they’re able to then say, you know what we really need to talk about or focus on this year i see students really struggling with this year, whether it be at education from, you know, sex or it could be just something of, you know, I see a lot of girls sending inappropriate texts to people and those kind of things so we get to change the curriculum in that way.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and how helpful would it be for her to know, you know, what potential risks that, you know, she could avoid.

Amy Davis :

But you know, with that behavior, there’s so much damage and risk that comes with it that she would not know until she’s sort of already, you know that she may, she may have learned the hard way about it be so really, you know, so beneficial for her to know that this is what could happen in that situation and be really good for you to avoid all of that just by not getting engaged or involved at all, because it’s so dangerous, right that is true.

Jacob Barr :

Well, this is really good so how would where have you seen God’s fingerprints in this work of helping is helping students, helping young people, making healthier lifestyle choices and choosing abstinence and trying to, you know, essentially improve their health one step at a time? Where have you seen God’s fingerprints in this effort?

Amy Davis :

Ok, so I have grown up in a home that was very pro-life and I grew up in a church that was very pro-life and so I didn’t realize that was not just something that was just common knowledge for people so then whenever I got into the high schools, I realized they had never heard of the term pro-life They never knew there was an option other than abortion. Even in the faith community, these students do not know that. And so I saw that as such an opportunity to show them God’s love in a real way. Because a lot of times they’re taught a narrative or they’re shown a narrative that maybe isn’t all the way true and whenever you pull God out of that equation of life and just being a healthy decision maker and wise decision maker whenever you see that people aren’t doing that. It’s interesting as God just opens doors for me to be able to talk to these students and talk to these leaders. I’m able to share God’s love, God’s hope, God values them and values their life. And so I have seen His hand of just direction as I walk through this journey of growing up with these high school students and middle school students that even as they go to college and they hear things than their from their college professors about pro-life issues that they don’t really believe but the professors are saying are correct. They come and call me or they’ll text me and say what do you know about this what do you think about this what does the Bible say about this? And I’m able to still continue to share even with the college kids once they’ve I graduated from my program. So I see it not just as a one time dealing with these students, it it’s a lifelong relationship with each other and then with the Lord. I see him there a lot.

Jacob Barr :

Ok. So when it comes to the how speaking of you know, graduating from the program. So the first, the youngest person that gets exposed to this program seems like they’re in possibly middle school and they’re being taught by a high schooler. How much time does it take for that high schooler to get prepared to teach? Because you know if the middle schoolers getting a single class at you know at some point in that year, how much time does the high schooler have in this program and how much time does it take for them to be prepared to then be a part of that 50 minute middle school presentation.

Amy Davis :

So I work with them once a week during their lunch period or during a club hour, and we’ll meet through the whole school hour. And we do that for a couple of months. Just because we want to make sure that they’re prepared for anything that the middle school students might want to throw with them that they know what they know and they know it with confidence because this Pierce Project curriculum gives them the words to say that they knew in their heart and maybe they believed, but they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And so as we meet for those two months or so, preparing and practicing, it really gives them a foundation for being able to know what they know.

Jacob Barr :

When does the when someone is part of this when they see this presentation? What are some examples of when they might be? Introduced to Jesus at some at some point down the road like how does that possibly look like or when does that possibly happen?

Amy Davis :

So as I’m working with the high school students, we’re just doing a mentoring program as well i talk to them i build a relationship with them i just try to pour into them and love them like Jesus. And then a lot of times I will let that conversation come up. I’ll ask them, hey, what do you do what did you do this weekend as I’m building those relationships, as I’m with them those two months prior to our presentation, I just hey, what’s going on in your life what’s happening? And faith communication sometimes does get to the start there. And then also as the high schoolers are talking to the middle school students, the middle school students will be able to say, hey, you came to my class and they can start building that relationship and they’ll see them their sixth grade year their seventh grade year their eighth grade year possibly. And say, you know what, I want to know more about who this person is and why they believe what they believe. And it’s just an interpersonal relationship type thing it’s not necessarily a scripture being taught from the podium by these students. It is just inside these small group relationships that we have.

Jacob Barr :

So and part of that high school group do they start as young as a freshman presenting to the middle school or what does that you know or essentially do you have everywhere from freshman to seniors presenting the message to the middle school class.

Amy Davis :

Right so what we do is I usually do sophomores through seniors just because I’m trying to give the freshman a little bit of room to get their feet planted and know who they are cause freshman year so different than eighth grade. But whether a principal or teacher might say, hey this kids got it together and I think they’d be a great freshman to be a part of your team. Of course, I will definitely let them because I think it’s a great thing to encourage people to be leaders in their school.

Jacob Barr :

So how does a school decide oh, like what’s the process for a school to decide, to bring, you know, to allow you to engage with the students, or for this to be on campus is it? Does a teacher need to sponsor it or is this like a decision that the school board or the principal or you know I guess what are the different ways that this has been approved or brought into a school?

Amy Davis :

I’m just depending on the school if the school board gets involved but principal has to be made aware and approve it and then after the principal has approved it, me as the peer coordinator, the one that coordinates it in each of the schools i will find a teacher or some type of a leader in the school that will be the advocate for it and will be the one that helps me get the applications out and raise awareness in the schools as we’re just building the program.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, so it actually starts with you talking to the principal more. I mean, I was thinking maybe a teacher had to like, be the first step, but maybe it’s. The teachers, you can actually just then find someone who will assist and help. Yeah, be that, you know, the local person promoting it and helping me bring it in.

Amy Davis :

I don’t want to, I don’t want to work behind the back of the principal because I want to be a straightforward and be a part of what they envision for their school and so once they build that relationship with the principal, it is I’m always welcomed with open arms because I they’re they see me as part of their school year. And so that’s really a cool thing that we get to be a part of their school year.

Jacob Barr :

What time of year do you reach out to the principal is it any time of year or is there certain like certain months that seem to be ideal to start that conversation?

Amy Davis :

So whenever I have met and got the approval of the principal, I usually just need it one time. And so once he knows that the peers project has been in their school, then I will just work with the advocate that’s in the school and we will start gathering applications for peer leaders in August or September as soon as the school year starts. So it becomes a yearly thing that kind of just works like clockwork once you’ve done the hard thing of the first year, it just really becomes a well oiled machine after that.

Jacob Barr :

So the first time you talk to the principal it may just start the following school year.

Amy Davis :

It sounds like possibly it can or if the principal’s gung ho about it and sees the value. Other schools have seen it and they’ve heard about it that’s how it’s really happened a lot of to is principals are talking like, well why don’t I have that in my school And so they call me, which is pretty cool that’s another God thing. He’s allowed me to be in the schools and they’re calling me to be in their schools. And so they see the value of the Peers project it’s just being the blessing that’s all I try to do is be a blessing and so the Peers project is just a blessing to these schools and these schools want their students to thrive and survive and be the best that they can and that’s what we’re offering to them. And we are a free service to the schools we don’t charge the schools to have us there. We’re just, we just come to bless them.

Jacob Barr :

So. If a clinic in another county or state wants to bring this to their bring this into their schools, do they need to, you know, become affiliate affiliated with the Pierce Project or is it do they simply adopt the curriculum as like an open source piece and then they can start to use it can they use like the logo? Or is there what you know, what do they have to you know, is that all free for them to use they simply have to cover their own staffing or volunteer costs and or do they? Is there any financial or licensing at all for any of these pieces?

Amy Davis :

No we were given this curriculum from Eve Jackson as just something that her vision was just to multiply it throughout the country and so it is a free curriculum. Once I help train them, they can have the curriculum that and the training or just the help and getting it started is all free. We just want it to be a part of the schools and so however we can do that and whichever way the only thing that would cost if they which I do recommend having some type of a staff person that works for the peers project so that it’s a consistent thing it’s not something that just is in and out of the schools, but you know, making copies for the script that we use, that’s about the only real expense. One of the things that we do as an extra expense is we buy Pierce Project T-shirts and we give the students free T-shirts and they love T-shirts they love to promote us even though they don’t, you know, so that’s really cool we love to just and I’ll buy pizza or different things like that, but really it’s as much of an expense as you want it to be there’s nothing on our end that makes it an expense.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome. So it’s only in Indiana, so was So Trotter House has a couple locations in Texas.

Amy Davis :

Do they and they have one location in Indiana, is that right or they’re getting ready to open one and with hopes of opening 5 in this area. So, but we’re in Kentucky as well in this in the northern tip of Kentucky so we’re hoping to have the Trotter house and we actually had a pregnancy Resource Center in Kentucky help us to get into the Kentucky schools. So I’ve seen it modeled through the PRC and it really works well.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, so it sort of started with Trotter House though, right it sounds like.

Amy Davis :

No well, no, it did not it actually I work for right to Life of southwest Indiana. So Right to southwest Indiana started here locally, but then where the PRC piece came whenever I wanted to move to Kentucky and a Kentucky school contacted me. The Pregnancy Resource Center was kind of my advocate for getting me into the schools and how.

Jacob Barr :

So tell me, so how many pregnancy clinics do you currently? Out of those 14 counties, how many pregnancy clinics, different pregnancy clinics are currently connected with the Piers project.

Amy Davis :

Right now there are only two. We do not have the very big pregnancy resource presence in our area that’s why we’re so excited that the charter house is coming up and just raising the bar of pregnancy resource centers here in our area so we’re pretty excited that it’s going to be growing.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome yeah and I’m not sure if open source curriculums are normal or common i really that’s outside of my understanding but it seems beautiful as a beautiful idea to essentially, yeah, to make it, you know, making the goal or the mission education, more so than financial gain like that, just seems so awesome.

Amy Davis :

Well, if we know that the ultimate goal is to end abortion and to unexpected pregnancies. Then we just need to we need to be the hands of feet of Jesus and right now we’ve been able to offer this as a free service and Eve Jackson graciously created it to do that so.

Jacob Barr :

Well it’s so it’s so awesome to have someone who you know poured into a project and work and now it and now it’s being continued and used and it’s benefiting and people are you know still utilizing and promoting it and and it could grow like this. It seems like the potential for this would be for. Especially when it comes to it being open source, you know the potential for it to grow and be used by many clinics is tremendous. How would you describe the experience with the curriculum when it comes to how it helps communicate with the students or how it helps them, you know, choose healthier lifestyle decisions?

Amy Davis :

You know, one story that really sticks out to me was when we were in a seventh grade class and my students were talking about, you know, protecting your heart from things that you hear on the radio see on Internet, protecting your mind and just talking about the value of saving yourself for marriage and what does that look like and what does that mean? And there was a little seventh grade gal that raised her hand and she wasn’t being rude or disrespectful, but she said I’ve never heard of saving yourself for marriage. She said I had a boyfriend in sixth grade and we were having sex, had a boyfriend now in seventh grade and we’re having sex and I’ve never heard that this is wrong. Like I said, growing up in a church, that was always pro-life that just really my jaw dropped. So I think we have such an opportunity to just say you know what your value and worth is not in a in a boyfriend or girlfriend in fifth or sixth seventh eighth grade high school. Your value and worth is actually in the Lord. And so having the peers project be able to infiltrate into the schools and have them be a just a voice of hope and reason. And I’m hoping that we gave that little gal something where she could say, you know what i am worth waiting for. I am worth saving myself. And we gave her a little bit of, you know, straighter backbone she was she had some confidence to know what she knew after hearing these students speak on her worth, on who she was in God’s eyes.

Jacob Barr :

How many of your high school students that end up wanting to teach this to middle schoolers might have been a middle schooler and had it taught to them?

Amy Davis :

Most of my high school leaders have seen it in the middle schools. They were super excited about it. They always tell me, Oh my goodness, we could not wait to get to high school so that we could be a part of the peers project. And I just think that’s cool that’s that positive peer pressure we’re talking about they’re making good choices so they can be a part of something that will give them leadership skills and abilities. And I will say kind of the cool thing for the high school leaders is I treat them really special because they are special people correct. I’ll go and buy them Donuts when they go to the middle school to teach. I’ll get them Donuts i’ll buy them a pizza to this thank them for all their hard work. But they think it’s cool too because they get out of school for the day and they love that so you know, there’s perks all around for them they think it’s great.

Jacob Barr :

So there was a program in Tucson, arizona where I’m from. And it was called the Unified Students for Abstinence and it was a peer-to-peer skit team and they came to my school when I was a senior in high school and I remember wanting to I end up joining that group and was a part of it for two years. And I just remember it being so much fun to see this group, you know, performing skits that they wrote essentially encouraging people to choose abstinence and it was just it was had a lot of humor and it was also done by peers and it was really enjoyable And so I ended up joining that group and I can remember thinking boy I really want to be a part of that group. It’s an attractive fun opportunity to spread good messages and it just feels like your group has also you know I can I can relate to that feeling of the middle school student who sees the older. In my case, it was college kids coming to the high school. But in this case here, we have high schoolers coming to the middle school, which I can completely relate to just because of, yeah, my experience as a high schooler seeing college age kids presenting to the younger peers for them.

Amy Davis :

And there’s some gravity to that they want to listen to their peers. They want to see somebody making those kind of choices so that made an impact that you remembered that Oh.

Jacob Barr :

Definitely yeah, that’s cool. And so when you’re presenting this to the high school students and getting them to do buy in, is it your current high school students talking to their peers or is it you or an adult talking to the high school group?

Amy Davis :

A little bit of both. So if I’m in the schools already and there’s already been a PEERS project group already formed they sell it for me. The previous Peers leader sell it for me because they love it so much it is just it becomes the I don’t want to say the IT thing to be a part of but it is such a fun group and they get to do so many different things in the community right to life we actually let them be a part of our annual banquet and so it lets them meet local leaders and political people and they get to do special concerts that we’ll go to. So there’s things that are afforded to them just because they’re part of the peers project and so i will do a lot of the just encouraging them as somebody that’s coming in and doing the Peers project but the students are actually the ones that help with the buy in of just saying you want to be a part of this.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, so. And I My story of how I got involved in the pro-life world, actually. Sort of matches that same sort of story where I was a part of that Unified Students for Abstinence, which was a ministry of the local Presti clinic. And then I ended up eventually working with that Presti clinic on print design and then eventually worked on. I worked on websites for them and it just went from there working together. But I got essentially i was brought into the pro-life world through that peer-to-peer group and then that’s and that was my doorway. Into pro-life work and here I’ve, you know, been on it for well more than 20 years.

Amy Davis :

It’s a long time.

Jacob Barr :

But yeah, so that’s really, that’s awesome that you know you’re essentially you’re creating, you’re bringing people in and not just awareness for those who hear it at the middle school level, but you’re essentially giving people the opportunity to serve, which has got such long lasting benefits for those 300 high schoolers or however many high schoolers are at a time for school. That’s just amazing to give them the opportunity to serve and understand how to. Yeah and also to have that connection with those Precy clinics is yeah, that’s going to make a big essentially you’re creating leaders for the future.

Amy Davis :

That’s what it sounds like to me, right? And then that if you have that relationship with the pregnancy resource centers, you’ve got volunteer resources that you could start having one of the pregnancy resource centers that I work with in Kentucky, they have a group that come from their school and just serve as part of their class day. They have got that arranged in their school that they’ll come and actually teach or you know, work in the pregnancy Resource Center, whether it be filing papers or stacking diapers or whatever they.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, it could be a mail merge. You know, sometimes they send off so much mail it takes a team of 12 for like 2 hours to jobs to be done.

Amy Davis :

Yeah, always.

Jacob Barr :

Well, that’s really, that’s really good. I just love, yeah, I love that you’re promoting this message. I love the fact that there’s some open source content connected to it and you’ve got this beautiful system to engage the high school. Population in a way that they can then reteach and share it to their peers as well as to the younger middle school groups. Wow, that’s tremendous and so boy, you know, here we are in 2021 and you know, God willing, this can grow to other places that don’t have this educational, public school, private school. Abstinence curriculum. That and then and needs it like, you know, obviously every Clin, every school needs to be promoting healthy lifestyles that end in health and not in tragedy and in order to encourage more people to avoid hard situations, which makes a lot of sense.

Amy Davis :

That’s right i definitely think that this is for such a time as this our world is kind of topsy turvy and upside down in a lot of ways and we can be the truth that comes in and says, you know what, It doesn’t have to be so crazy you can make a difference in your community and your little circle of influence and your sphere of influence and the and the friends that you have and so it is a really cool program to be a part.

Jacob Barr :

Of it sounds like with it would Trotterhouse adopting this. Currently it sounds like it’s going to be brought into the Texas counties, some Texas counties soon, Is that right?

Amy Davis :

Oh, I hope so. That’s our goal i would love it to go all around the country. I would love for someone to just see the vision.

Jacob Barr :

There’s really no barrier for it to be brought all around the country essentially i mean the you know, the requirement is that you find people in those areas who will engage their local schools. And to be the liaison or the connection to the pregnancy clinic and but how beautiful would that be for pregnancy. You know the vision seems like it’s for pregnancy clinics to be connected to those schools as being a resource for health and for medical and for healthy decisions and for help when unplanned pregnancies are, when they do show up, for that to be the connection or the brand or the person that’s called. To get help from instead of it being a dangerous group that promotes death and just you know, it’s money first.

Amy Davis :

I agree. I agree wouldn’t it be nice if we were the first person they called, or the first person that they wanted to seek help from IS?

Jacob Barr :

And that’s an awareness is such a huge opportunity, but it’s also a long term game. Awareness doesn’t happen easily or quickly, but it does it needs to happen consistently we need to have. Consistent awareness building and this seems like a really a good opportunity to engage people before they, you know, when one of their when one of those high schoolers is now faced with their friend, has an unplanned pregnancy now they’ve been trained and educated and empowered to be able to not just provide referral, but to provide, you know, information and guidance and probably a helping hand to bring them to that pregnancy clinic who will?

Amy Davis :

Who will, you know, provide love and care in that hard time, right and there’s that, there is that liaison, there’s that helping aspect of it that just kind of is a great thing for students and for the PRCS, you’re right.

Jacob Barr :

So this podcast will you know my goal with this podcast is for it to help prancing clinic leaders across the country to identify new or good ideas that may not be commonplace. And I don’t know what the % is for pranky clinics who have an in school educational piece. And I also don’t know about, you know, how which of those pieces are open source versus have paid license costs. But this feels like, for those who don’t have a curriculum, this is obviously one to consider because of, you know, it’s available, it’s free, it sounds great. And then the model, boy, that model, just that model seems very unique i can’t think of any other program I’ve heard where the high schoolers are then engaged as the teachers of middle schoolers in order to get additional buy in from that younger group like that seems like a novel, beautiful idea. Have you seen any other groups that follow that pattern by using high schoolers as the teachers? Of the middle on the middle school campus is that something you see anyone else try through your experience?

Amy Davis :

So far I have not seen them where they actually teach the class. I have not at all, because really I’ve seen like if you’re tutoring or something after school, I’ve seen that. But this is they are taking that whole hour and just sharing the curriculum that they know and they are the teachers. So I’ve never seen that before you’re right, I’ve never seen it.

Jacob Barr :

So what does it look like when the high school or is teaching are they using multimedia are they using props are they using stories? Is there a book involved what does it look like?

Amy Davis :

So there are tons of games because we want to make it audible. You know the audible the people see it, people touch it, people. There’s candy kids there’s a lot of question and answer. There is a lot of good in depth teaching, but it’s sprinkled in with some humor and a lot of times we’ll let the students give their own personal experience and testimony. It’s just it’s very interactive because we don’t want them to. It’s just somebody standing up there teaching and just reading off a paper. Most of the time. It doesn’t have to be memorized their script, but they just know it because it becomes so ingrained and then they’re like, I’m owning this is this is what I believe and so they can stand up there and it’s very, it’s just very fluid it’s really cool, very cool.

Jacob Barr :

So do the high schoolers sometimes have, you know, the classroom dynamics where it’s hard to keep the middle schoolers attention? Or is it is it easier for them to keep the middle schoolers attention because of? Because they’re a few years older and they have, like this gravity about being a high schooler.

Amy Davis :

Well, that’s kind of the good thing about our Whenever a peer coordinator like myself goes in and works with the high school leaders, we work really hard on knowing what we know and being able to think how would we navigate if a student tries to act up or tries to throw them off guard? And so we don’t allow that to happen we are just so prepared for whatever could happen it is just it’s a very well oiled machine. And then that way my high schoolers have confidence that they’re not going to be you know not knowing what to say or what to do it’s a very controlled environment because the script is very compact and very organized it’s a IT. It’s just a very user friendly script.

Jacob Barr :

If you were to train. Someone on how to train these high schoolers and do that work. Let’s say you wanted to train a person in a different state would like to get trained to be able to do this in their area. How many days, weeks or months or how would that? What would what would it look like for them to go through that training. Would you do it through like zoom calls would you do? Would you send them videos would you send them you know? Documents or I you know how what would that look like and how long would it take?

Amy Davis :

And a little bit of all of that I think I would definitely if it was somewhere closer in the general area, states wise couple of states away, i would love the opportunity to go and work alongside them but the training, it just really takes a couple of hours or days even if there’s because it is a little complex in that how does it really work and what does it really look like? But once they get the scripts and then they work through it, i could do a zoom call, I could do face to face, I could make a video i’m very whatever they need is what I will work with and do.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome well, you apparently have a lot of passion for promoting and helping, and so have a lot of flexibility.

Amy Davis :

Reflects a lot of passion well and I want people because I want us to be the pro-life generation we are and these students want to be they just don’t even know that there’s a pro-life generation to be a part of. So if we can get the Pierce Project into the schools, then it just it’s a win for the pro-life movement.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, it definitely is a win for the pro-life movement because essentially it feels like you’re working to empower youth who will be leaders in within 10 years. We mean and what and what and the decisions they make in 10 years will be impacted by this by this opportunity in its education. And so they will end up making you know making different decisions and if they didn’t experience the Peers project in the abstinence message and this message of hope and how in this reflection of Jesus’s passion And so all of that just sort of seems to add up into like a grassroots sort of momentum building. Effort to give people you know the tools and empowerment and direction to make you know life minded decisions and decisions that will be more beneficial for health and for avoiding death. And she just, she seems so good.

Amy Davis :

Well, and choices matter and there’s repercussions for choices, so kids need to understand that. And so if we tell them in a loving way and in a way that’s not like a parent, which might be they might see as a confrontational type thing, but just as in it only makes sense to make these kind of better choices so that you can reach your goals. And then these people that were training and leading, they are going to be our future leaders they are going to be making these pro-life choices soon for our country because they are the ones that are going to be leading us into the future and i want to empower them to know truth and know the Lord and know the pro-life why the life is valuable from the beginning to end.

Jacob Barr :

It seems like that’s the key is that it’s coming from a peer to a peer. And so it’s not like this, you know, a parent coming down to a youth where it comes off as being, you know, that angle essentially, it’s more, you know, they’re trying to share something that they believe in with someone else. You know of equal age relatively well wait within two years.

Amy Davis :

But I guess a high score to a middle school is slightly going down, but it’s minimal compared to an adult to a middle schooler, right? And that’s why I don’t even sit up there and talk, ’cause I think they already hear enough of grown-ups in the middle school so I think having that high school stand up there and just say these things is so empowering and so encouraging to these middle school kids and. It’s also actually very encouraging for the high school and middle school teachers that see these kids coming back and giving back to students and saying, you know what, I’m so glad that these kids I had in middle school are making good choices, are trying to be leaders, are trying to be successful, are trying to make a difference, and they’re excited to see them back in the schools.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, and it seems like you you’ve identified or observed acceptance when a high schooler talks to a middle schooler. The information is taken differently than when the adult is giving it to a middle score so it seems like you’ve identified that it’s a better, a better vehicle when it comes to someone who’s closer in age for them to have a higher absorption rate or a higher acceptance of the information.

Amy Davis :

It seems like that. Yeah, and when you make it interactive and so fun with serious things sprinkled in and then throughout it, I think it just, it really makes the difference to them and they can soak it in and own it. I mean, it’s good. It’s just really great.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome well, thank you Amy for being on this podcast i can’t wait to share this i think people are going to enjoy hearing it and I hope that they reach out to you by phone or email we’ll I’ll include that as well and so they can, yeah, they can reach out and explore. To see if they would like to bring this to their county and invite you to connect either in person or via zoom based on your availability and options.

Amy Davis :

But I think that would be really i find it an honor i would be honored if they would contact me it’s very easy it is. It is it’s probably one of the easiest things they can implement into their schools to make the biggest impact of a difference it really is.

Jacob Barr :

I would guess. 20 % of clinics have a school connection.

Amy Davis :

Maybe it’s less, I don’t really know, but I was wondering. I’ve not found, you know, found it to be. They don’t have that.

Jacob Barr :

Mention in it, but I think it’s like it’s probably 10 to 20, maybe 10 to 15 %. It’s low, it’s definitely low, not common. Most pricey clinics don’t have that in their scope, but. They could, they could add it and they could be a volunteer who adds it, right?

Amy Davis :

Right and I always think if the make it the most easiest way to do it, make it simple. And if it’s a simple thing to implement, people will do it so that’s what I’ve tried to do with this is just make it as easy as possible to implement.

Jacob Barr :

Would you mind closing us in prayer and praying for this to impact those who hear it in a positive way and that they’ll help, you know, reach their campuses and so on?

Amy Davis :

Sure. All right. Dear Lord, I just thank you so much for this opportunity to speak today to those people that need to hear this message about the PEERS Project. Lord, you have used the PEERS Project in mighty ways throughout high schools and middle schools in over 2 States and five counties and Lord, I know that you have great plans for it. Lord, I know that high school students, middle school students, they need to know their value and their worth and their value and worth only comes from you. And so, Lord, I just pray that we as the pro-life generation will take this seriously and we will take it to the streets. Lord, I just thank you for using us in any way possible. We love you and we give you all the glory. Amen amen

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