With both thanksgiving and sadness, we announce that Reality Project, a program of First Image, will no longer operate after the end of this school year.
After more than 25 years of providing dynamic presentations on sexual integrity in tri-county public and private schools, we need to bring this arm of our ministry to a close.
We’re grateful for the opportunity we’ve had in making these impactful presentations to over 250,000 students over these years, in more than two dozen different schools each year.
Even though we teach a clearly counter-cultural message about sex and relationships, teachers and students have almost unanimously told us our presentations are encouraging, engaging, and interactive. We’ve helped students consider their thinking about sex and relationships from a perspective they’ve not encountered before, since the vast majority of students have never heard a view of sex and relationships that is rooted in the Image of God.
So, why are we ending Reality Project?
For some time, the local school administrations and the national and state sex education curricula have been increasingly contrary to the healthy view of sex and relationships we have offered. In particular, two years ago, Oregon reshaped its sex education curriculum in a way that we knew would eventually exclude us. Since then, we have received a growing number of notifications from the school districts that they will no longer be using our presentations in their classes. This trend will certainly continue. If we’re to serve in schools, it is important that we are invited, wanted, and do not have an adversarial relationship with school administrations.
We’re sad that this will leave the teachers, who have long welcomed and affirmed the positive impact we’ve had on their students, without an alternative to the kind of sex education that is increasingly harmful to students and their relationships.
Reality Project was a unique outreach to greater Portland area high school students. Most likely, the only way that the undermining of responsible, other-centered, marriage-directed view and practice of sex can be mitigated is through parents and people serving young people outside of Oregon’s urban and suburban public schools.
The other major reason for the timing of concluding Reality Project is to refocus and deepen the core mission of First Image, which centers on offering the compassion of Jesus to women and men facing unsupported pregnancy. In light of that mission, in the coming year, we will be focused on developing an approach to support early fatherhood and enhancing our services to support moms up through the first 24 months of baby’s life.
We are sharpening the alignment of the work God has always called First Image to do. While Reality Project contributed to that mission for the previous season, it has become clear that season is coming to an end.
While we may grieve the closing of Reality Project, we also rejoice in the lives that our presentations have been able to influence over decades. We see this new season we have entered as a season of opportunity and look forward to directing more energy and resources to our central mission with even greater intensity.
If you have any questions, please reply to [email protected].
In His Image,
Larry Gadbaugh, CEO