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Teens will pledge abstinence at the Paramount

RUTLAND-The topic of pre-marital and teen sex will take centerstage at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Rutland on Wednesday, April 28, 7-9 p.m. Local students in 6th through 12th grade will hear a powerful message about sexual abstinence.

"You really have to be strong in your belief and in the promises you've made to yourself," said Martha Mitchum, who signed the Silver Ring Thing promise in 2008 to remain a virgin until she is married.

Silver Ring Thing, or SRT, is a national Christian ministry helping young people to avoid pre-marital sex and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and HIV.

"The program means a lot to me personally, just with remaining abstinent and God calling me to do that. Biblically, he has called us to have a pure lifestyle," said Tara Caldwell, a 19-year-old student who took the SRT vow in 2008.

Sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy are addressed as part of the program. It's the first time the program is coming to Vermont.

"Statistics tell us all the time that kids are jumping into sexual promiscuity at a very young age, and they don't really understand the consequences. That's why we, as a church, wanted to tackle a pretty tough subject," said Rev. Brent Freeman who has been involved with the program outside Vermont.

The SRT programs invite participants to wear a silver ring until they get their actual wedding band. Then, they turn the silver ring over to their spouse. If they change their mind along the way, they're asked to get rid of it.

"You have to watch your actions, and if you're going to go out and live an unpure lifestyle, people are just going to be calling you hypocrites, so it's pointless to wear the ring," said Mitchum.

The program will reach out to young people who are already sexually active, inviting them to take a new vow of celibacy.

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