Our Mission

Our mission is to empower students to practice informed and healthy personal decision making.

How we accomplish this:

We provide age appropriate, relevant, factual, and interactive educational workbooks/journals for students in 5th grade through High School. Our curriculum addresses in depth 12 risky behaviors and 9 character-building skills as well as many other pertinent topics.

ESTEEM helps students learn life skills that: aid in setting goals, help them assess modern-day media influences, increase understanding and awareness of the risks and consequences of sexual activity such as teen pregnancy and disease, strengthen communication skills, and understand risky situations to increase their awareness of hazardous distractions to help them achieve their potential as positive, productive members of society.

ESTEEM is/contains:

Medically accurate

Proven effective in reducing risky behaviors (13 years of use in public and private schools, after school programs, & youth serving non-profits)

Parent and guardian friendly – includes ways for them to be involved

Direct sexual risk avoidance messages

Compliant with many state and federal mandates

5 age appropriate workbook levels

Revised every 3-4 years (the workbooks are always up-to-date)

Facilitator friendly training and leader kits

Created by collaborative teams of medical professionals, parents, teachers, teens, & and those in other youth serving organizations

ESTEEM Workbook Layout:

Each workbook contains 10 lessons that can be taught by a trained teacher in 45 to 90 minutes. Many of our school districts opt to teach one lesson every Friday for 10 weeks in a row while others facilitate the program over 10 consecutive school days. Since our first lesson guides the students in setting academic goals, the program achieves the best results when delivered at the beginning of the school year. Each lesson topic is presented in an age appropriate manner with each successive grade level increasing in content depth and detail, vocabulary word usage, etc. For example, in the Goal Setting section of Lesson 1, fifth graders will learn about higher education and character traits, while high schoolers will learn about deferred gratification and SMART goals.

When a school district purchases our workbooks and leader kits, we train their selected teachers in effective curriculum delivery. Our multi-grade curriculum includes activities to educate all types of learners – auditory, visual, kinesthetic. Each lesson includes a parent/guardian “talk about it at home” worksheet. This increases the interaction between students and parents/guardians and gives a segue into tough or sensitive conversations.

The more teens are aware of dangers and consequences of risky behaviors, the more prepared they will be to avoid such situations. Teens that choose to “wait” until marriage stay in school longer and have a higher graduation rate than those who engage in sexual activity. ESTEEM has been proven effective in helping students understand the impact of their choices.

Who we serve:

  • Students in public and private schools
  • Youth in: after school programs, foster care, juvenile justice system, and in faith-based organizations.

Program Results

The ESTEEM curriculum has a positive influence on all those involved, from the 5th grader to the high school coach delivering the education, to the parent using the take home worksheets! Below are a few results from students who have completed the ESTEEM program. To see the full evaluation reports visit our Research Page.


Do you think that abstinence (not having sex) as a teen would make it easier for you to get a good education in the future?


Do you think abstinence (not having sex) as a teen would make it easier for you to have a good marriage in the future?

If someone tries to get me to have sex, I feel confident I can say no.


Services we provide:

6-hour facilitator certification training (to facilitate/teach ESTEEM)

Parent Presentation Nights

Training for Service Learning Projects

SHAC or school admin presentations

Training for Student Campus Clubs

Grantee technical assistance


The ESTEEM Program, formerly the East Texas Abstinence Program (ETAP), has offered sexual risk avoidance education services to schools and communities in the greater northeast Texas region since 1999. During this period, abstinence education was funded in part via several means, including state and federal grants. Until 2004, ETAP primarily used various commercially produced abstinence curricula for the core education component.

Then in 2005, under the direction of ETAP Program Director, Tonya Waite, and with the extremely helpful input, resources, and stories of parents, students, school teachers and key school administration, ETAP set out to design a curriculum ‘in-house’ that would better reflect the social, economic, and cultural needs of the cities, school districts and students being served. From 2005 to 2008 ETAP completed ESTEEM workbooks for grades 6 through high school and this has been the sole curriculum used by ETAP since 2008. In 2016, the 5th grade workbook was created with the help from dedicated parents, pediatricians, school personnel, and community members. An ‘upper-level’ high school workbook for 11th and 12th grades is also being designed, along with a parent guide.

The five workbooks currently available include: EXCURSION for use with 5th graders,  ENVISION which is primarily used in 6th grade, EQUIP for 7th grade, EXPLORE which is generally used in 8th grade, and finally EMBARK which is utilized in high schools. The aforementioned upper high school book is slated to be titled EXPEDITION.

In addition to the creating the ESTEEM curriculum, which deliberately adheres to “A-H guidelines, ETAP worked with Dr. Tary Tobin, a Research Associate and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon to create a curriculum specific assessment tool called the ESTEEM Student Questionnaire (ESQ). ETAP has consistently found the curriculum to be as or more impactful in changing student understanding and comprehension of subject matters presented as compared to other curricula used by ETAP in the past.

The mission of the ESTEEM team has always been to create, support, and facilitate sexual risk avoidance education in a manner such that teens would have enough factual information upon which they could make the decision to wait to have sex until marriage. Educators that utilize ESTEEM are tooled to teach adolescents the emotional, physical, and social risks associated with pre-marital sex as well as the difference between risk reduction and risk avoidance. Our message is that abstinence is the only way to fully avoid risks that could cause severe if not life threatening consequences for teens and/or their future children.