Maze Of Choices

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The Teen Maze took place during school at Payson High School, May 10.

Michele DeRouin, Director for New Beginnings Pregnancy Center said, "It was a huge success."

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Payson High School student Lisa Bartoli reaches into a bag of consequences while participating in "The Teen Maze."

Two hundred twenty-eight high school students attended by turning in their permission slips to the school.

"I have been working on this project for years, hoping that one day the schools would allow me to host it here in Payson," DeRouin said.

The Teen Maze was a "game of life" where students navigated their way through real-life scenarios relating to choices regarding sex. They started with their first date. The teens would draw out of a bag their decision. The decisions were drawn randomly and the teens were told that even though they do not have a choice today, in real life, they can make their own choices.

These scenarios took teens through pregnancy, adoption, child care, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse and even death.

Payson High School students wandered through "The Teen Maze" May 10, in the old Payson High School gym, making decisions about whether to have sex or abstain. After their decision was made, they quickly learned the consequences.

"The mission is to help teens learn that sex should wait until they are ready to assume the responsibility for decision-making and the potential outcome," said Paula Medina, Gila County Health Department health programs manager.

New Beginnings Pregnancy Center in Payson and the health department were joint sponsors of the Maze. The event was also made possible through a generous donation from the Tonto Apache Tribe.

After the event, teens completed an evaluation form. Some of the evaluations stated that they enjoyed the maze and that it would definitely affect their decisions relating to sex. Many of them stated that they are already abstinent.

Although some teens were told by their parents they must attend, others were interested in attending, because they wanted to know the facts.

Local doctors, nurses and other health care professionals volunteered to run the booths. They shared real statistics and factual information. The professionals were surprised at the number of questions from the teens. They were also concerned that these students did not have current accurate information regarding health-related issues.

The organizers of the Teen Maze want to thank the Tonto Apache Tribe for its generous contribution. They also thank all the health professionals who took the time off work to participate, a thank you to the parents who supported the program by allowing their children to attend, a thank you to Payson High School for allowing the program to take place during school hours and a thank you to Gila County Health Department in Globe, for lending the materials and support.

Most of all, organizers want to thank students for attending.

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