by Paul Murano • ChurchMilitant.com • December 18, 2019
Values-based curriculum challenges Planned Parenthood agenda
CARACAS, Venezuela (ChurchMilita.com) – A curriculum centered on values and virtue, “Alive to the World,” has been taking the world by storm. Under the radar of the mainstream educational and media establishments, this K-12 curriculum is based on the work of Pope St. John Paul II and Victor Frankel, and has found its way into 22 countries and four continents and is published in eight languages.
For the past 20 years, Alive to the World has been introducing millions of students to an integrated understanding of the human person that enables them to choose what is true and good, now and in the future.
Christine Vollmer, president and founder of Pro-Life of Venezuela, was for 16 years a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family. Her dream was to eradicate in schools the anti-life agenda of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
“My mission is to supplant ‘sex education’ as it has been conceived by IPPF, with something infinitely better and more attractive,” she told Church Militant.
The curriculum has found its way into 22 countries and four continents and is published in eight languages.Tweet
After 15 years of preparation, Vollmer and her team came up with the story-based, values-laden “Alive to the World” curriculum. “It is growing everywhere,” she told Church Militant. “It is always promoted with passion by people who think as we do.”
The curriculum, strongly endorsed by Cdl. Raymond Burke, teaches self-mastery in story form. The children in the stories “grow up” each year with the students who are reading them. Through them, important life lessons are learned. While the stories are permeated with Catholic philosophy and values, the curriculum stays clear of specific religious references. The goal is to reach all children regardless of upbringing, income or religious formation.
“Virtue begins with a pedagogy that is “aimed at the integration of the three levels of the person: the spiritual level, (intelligence and will), the emotional level, (sentiments and impulses) and the corporal level, where behavior is centered,” Vollmer explained.
Catholic teachers have told her how much it helps, “especially the adolescents, to live the Faith they have learned when small and are in danger of losing to the surrounding culture.”
The curriculum is not afraid to confront issues plaguing our young people today. When asked if it mentions Internet pornography, for example, Vollmer added, “Yes, including sexting and porn with its effects. We cover contraception and abortion — all scientifically, of course — which is very convincing.”
When asked whether students are open to the integrated message of chastity, Vollmer responded with enthusiasm:
It certainly does make sense to them! In El Callao, Peru, an organization called Coprodeli has 15 schools with the program since … 2014. They have no pregnancies now, while the Peruvian average, according to the Ministry, is 14%! We have found where we can keep records, such as in Venezuela, that pregnancies disappear in a school after only two or three years of the program. School violence, bullying and destruction are the first things to disappear.
Marian Olavarria, director of International Operations for “Alive to the World,” also reached out to Church Militant with comments. “There is extensive use of the Knowing-Accepting-Doing technique,” she said, “which helps students evaluate a situation (knowing), understanding what is needed … which value is necessary for the specific situation (accepting) and how to be proactive (doing).”
Prevention, Not Correction
Olavarria said the curriculum also includes examples relating to bullying, peer pressure and other concepts young people face, and assists in students making good life decisions. In response to a query about whether she thought a program reaching K–12 was enough to combat the modern world’s all-pervasive materialist and hedonist influences, she said:
ATW is a preventive program. It is not a corrective program. The earlier the implementation, much higher the chances of avoiding issues growing up. We firmly believe values should be taught at home, but since we are all aware this is not happening, with both parents having jobs, etc. we went to the classroom, where the children spend most of their waking hours.
The message of integration of the human person was a central theme of Pope St. John Paul II, before and after he became pope. Original sin is a primary cause for our disintegration, he said, and with knowledge and grace we can learn to become re-integrated and attain genuine happiness. The 12-year ATW series is intended to incorporate the way of virtue and self-mastery needed for integral human fulfillment.
“In Venezuela, for which we developed this product, we have about 500 schools using it, mainly in poor areas, where the need is recognized,” Vollmer told Church Militant. “Another 500 are on the waiting list. We depend on donations for this.”
More information about “Alive to the World” can be found here: https://alivetotheworld.org/en/give/