by Brianna Anderson
Sex education is approached from a biblical angle by the non-profit Christian organization Project Six19. Volunteers go into local churches and schools to speak about sexual integrity. Project Six19’s main objective is to point students to Jesus Christ by speaking hope into their lives.
Project Six19, formerly known as iPULSE, was originally part of a non-profit Christian organization called Life Services. Life Services values the sanctity of human life and offers a wide range of support to people with unplanned pregnancies. Project Six19 remains in a close partnership with Life Services, but is now its own 501c3 nonprofit ministry.
Project Six19’s executive director, Jason Soucinek, is a Whitworth University alumnus who graduated in 2000.
“Our main focus is on the church, using topics to deconstruct false ideas about sex, and equip people with the tools to speak honestly about sex and use these conversations to point individuals towards Jesus Christ,” Soucinek said.
According to its Facebook page, Project Six19’s goal is to promote biblical sexuality through culturally relevant education and initiatives. The name “Project Six19” comes from Timothy 6:19 when Paul said to “take hold of the life that is truly life.”
According to Project Six19’s newsletter, “Many of today’s youth and young adults are embracing a life that is not truly lived, especially when it comes to issues relating to sex, sexuality and relationships.”
“We want to help people find ways to be talking about this in an authentic and transparent way,” Soucinek said.
Soucinek and volunteers speak in a variety of different venues including public schools, youth groups and churches. In 2011 alone, they have spoken to 4,500 individuals.
Soucinek has developed a school-based curriculum called Life Up Close, designed to equip parents and church leaders with tools to speak about topics ranging from sexual activity outside of marriage to healthy relationships and media awareness.
Volunteer Jacqueline Adams shared her experiences working with Project Six19 and speaking in the schools.
“Never at any time do I have a teen approach me and say that they wish they would have started having sex earlier,” Adams said. “And while some chose to start having sex, more often than not, many had their choice stolen from them. Pain is unmistakable. And it’s that pain that drives me to understand more and more the complexities of adolescence and sexuality.”
Sexual activity among teenagers in the church is a rising trend. Soucinek provided some statistics in his newsletter taken from an article in Relevant Magazine called “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It.”
“Evangelicals are more likely to have sex sooner, get pregnant earlier and, maybe most startling, 65 percent of the 1 million abortions performed each year are by those that identify themselves as Catholic or Protestant,” according to Project Six19’s newsletter.
Project Six19 had a summer retreat this year during which students were asked to write on pieces of paper what was holding them back from fully pursuing a relationship with Christ. The responses covered a wide range of topics including stories of sexual abuse such as rape and molestation. Others wrote down experiences they had with their boyfriend or girlfriend, or random hook-ups, and some even wrote about harm they had done to themselves such as cutting. Most of the notes dealt with issues related to sex, but according to Project Six19’s newsletter it really wasn’t about that, it was about something much more: a desire to be found.
“Everyone has a voice and all voices are needed in this discussion,” Adams said. “Whether we are in complete agreement or not, what people contribute to that discussion is valuable.”
Junior Corey Zalewski was inspired by Soucinek’s message after hearing him guest speak at Mancation, Whitworth’s fall retreat for men. Soucinek asked the men to write down an area of struggle in each of their lives on a note card; they were later arranged in a slideshow for everyone to see.
“As I watched the slideshow, I saw every single note card reveal some sort of sexual sin that may have never been vocalized prior, but had now seen the light,” Zalewski said.
Zalewski is now a volunteer for Project Six19. He said Project Six19 is not only devoted to vocalizing purity, but also vocalizing the beauty of sexual relationships displayed throughout the Bible.
“Purity is going to be a life long struggle, but through Christ we have victory,” Zalewski said. “And He will strengthen us as we continue to put our trust in Him.”