OCTOPUS is the unlikely acronym for a church-centered sex-education program for teenagers and their parents.
Designed for use in any house of worship or by other community groups, it involves a network of health professionals, religious leaders, teens, and parents. The purpose of the program is to prevent teenage pregnancy by activating “Open Communication regarding Teens’ Or Parents’ Understanding of Sexuality.”
This manual was created to give not only information on birth control, reproductive anatomy, and sexually transmitted diseases, but also on responsible decision-making, adolescent development, and community resources. The fact that parents need more input into the sex education of their children is recognized and made an essential element of the OCTOPUS program. Included in the manual are activities, exercises, and homework assignments designed to enhance family communication skills. There are also group sessions on the values of love and relationships, churches’ perspectives on sexuality, and issues of decision-making and responsibility. The bibliography offers additional resources and suggested readings.
The church has proven an effective setting for sexuality training because of its traditional family orientation. OCTOPUS offers churches and community organizations a unique, family centered, sex education program based on three years of development and more than two years of testing in the field.