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When it comes to the best for youth, we're all in.

What we stand for

All Youth Deserve a Bright Future

No matter their current life circumstances, their past choices, or their lived experiences. 

Facts Must Guide the Issue

In the debate about sex education, facts should guide decision-making, not agenda-laden sound-bites. 

We Are Stronger Together

We must work together to ensure all youth have the opportunity to achieve optimal sexual health.

What we do

Ascend is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that equips & unites the national Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) field to empower youth to make healthy choices about sex, relationships, and marriage.

SRA is an approach to sex education based on primary prevention, an established public health model used to promote wellness and eliminate risk.  

We Are Advocates

First and Foremost, for youth

We believe ALL youth deserve a happy and healthy future. Decisions they make about sex can have a significant impact on their health, relationships, and future. 

We believe that with knowledge, skills, and encouragement, youth can make choices about relationships and sex that will lead them toward optimal health and life success. 

We stand against the bigotry of low expectations. We believe setting high expectations for ALL youth is the right thing to do. 

We believe where youth live or what their current reality looks like should not exclude them from the tools for the best possible health outcomes and future success.

Teens are listening. And they are responding by waiting for sex. In fact, more are waiting today than at any other time in recent history. 

We don’t intend to give up on youth. And not on their access to the skills, information, and encouragement to eliminate – not simply reduce – sexual risk.

For parents & guardians, communities, and school leaders

We strongly believe that parents & guardians, community stakeholders, and school leaders have the right to choose Sexual Risk Avoidance education for their children. Respecting local control and community standards is in the best interest of youth. Because of our strong advocacy for parents, communities, and school leaders over the past decade, the majority of states - and even more communities - are teaching the health-affirming SRA message.

We Serve & Equip Those Who Reach Youth

Who We Serve

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  • SRA Educators
  • Parents & Guardians
  • Youth Programs
  • SRA Organizations
  • Health Professionals
  • School & Community Leaders

...and more

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Our services and offerings

Professional Development
Add to your knowledge and distinguish yourself in the field with our best-in-class professional development opportunities, including the SRA field’s premiere professional designation for SRA educators.
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SRA Tools & Resources
Use and share our SRA tools and resources to help support your personal and professional goals, including easy Member-of-Congress lookup, sex ed laws by state, articles, reports, infographics and more. 
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Membership Services
We understand the demands and challenges of reaching youth with the SRA message. Ascend Membership gives you the support you need with Member-only webinars, discounts on courses and consultation, and more. 
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We Raise Awareness


We believe that when there is a debate about sex education, the facts should guide decision-making, not agenda-laden sound-bites. That’s why we put such a high priority on communicating why SRA education is so important in addressing many of today’s social concerns. 

We work to raise awareness about the many optimal health impacts of SRA supported by ongoing research and evaluation:  
In national media
With parents & guardians
In Congress and state-houses across the nation
With health professionals
In schools & communities
In the cultural conversation about teens and sex

Our Team

Mary Anne Mosack, SRAST

President & CEO

Mary Anne Mosack serves as the President and CEO of Ascend, promoting an accurate understanding of and appreciation for SRA as an important primary prevention message for teens. 
She is responsible for ongoing development of educational materials and oversees the SRA certification training program offered by Ascend throughout the United States. She is dedicated to continuous program improvement, research, and public policy impacting the SRA approach. 

Mary Anne is the former Executive Director of Operation Keepsake, an SRA program that during her tenure served over 27,000 students in 140 schools in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area. As a result of her leadership, rigorous program evaluations provided one of the first peer-reviewed, published studies showing the effectiveness of SRA education for high-risk teens.

Mary Anne is frequently interviewed by various media outlets regarding SRA education. She has delivered numerous presentations on effective communication strategies including for conferences of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. She has served as an SRA program evaluation and development consultant to the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), working to engage stakeholders throughout the country in partnering to build cohesive community networks to support positive youth development at the local level. She is also co-author of The War on Intimacy, which demonstrates how explicit sex education negatively impacts the ability to develop healthy relationships.

As a strong advocate of Sexual Risk Avoidance education, she is committed to building the protective assets all teens need to ensure they are given the opportunity to reach optimal health and life success.

*Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist Trainer

John Lyman


John Lyman is the CFO for Ascend, a role he has held since Ascend’s founding in 2007.
Full Bio
John has over 30 years of experience in accounting and 20 years in the non-profit world where he continues to assist other organizations with financial oversight. John operates the Ascend financial office from Atlanta, GA.

Tracey Pike, SRAST

Executive DIRECTOR

Tracey Pike serves as the Executive Director of Ascend, helping lead the SRA field to achieve and maintain the highest standards of excellence for SRA programming nationwide.
Full Bio
Tracey is passionate about developing and maintaining partnerships with those dedicated to the holistic health of youth.   

Tracey has been an SRA educator since 2000 and received her SRAS certification from Ascend in 2012. She has authored and facilitated numerous SRA and holistic health programs, and in 2004 redesigned the delivery of the I Decide for Me SRA program, prompting a 630% increase in the program’s reach. In 2018, Tracey designed and launched a six-year longitudinal study (the Program Impact Evaluation (PIE) program) to measure the effectiveness of the I Decide for Me curriculum. 

Tracey is dedicated to helping youth reach their full potential and positively impacting youth for optimal health outcomes. 

Tracey’s zealous personality makes it hard for her to believe one can have so much fun and call it work. She is convinced she is a teen trapped in an older person’s body, although she has two adult children to prove otherwise.   

*Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist Trainer

Thelma Moton, SRAST

Sexual risk avoidance specialist trainer

Thelma's comprehensive understanding of the medical and social science that supports SRA education ensures SRA Specialists are equipped with the most current sexual health research available.
Full Bio
Thelma is the founder and executive director of Choosing to Excel (C2E) in Conway, Arkansas. For over 20 years, Thelma has been at the forefront of helping youth and families appreciate the benefits of making healthy choices. 

She has worked diligently to reduce non-marital births among teens in Arkansas. Over her many years instructing in SRAE, she has developed a multi-faceted program that provides quality programming that supports the goals of positive youth development for all youth.

Raymona Ellison, SRAST

Sexual risk avoidance specialist trainer

Championing holistic health for all youth with her focus on character development, Raymona Ellison equips SRA Specialists to empower youth with the information and skills to experience healthy relationships and opportunities to achieve their dreams.
Full Bio
As the Founder and Executive Director of Little Rock Life Skillz, LLC, Raymona Ellison has served the youth of Little Rock, AR for over a decade. 

The focus of the organization is to “battle social ills – one child at a time.” The organization teaches character development to pre-school and elementary-school children through regular visits by “The Character Queen.” Middle and high school students are equipped to make healthy choices in their relationships through Risk Avoidance Education curricula in conjunction with Choosing to Excel (Conway, AR).



As the State Coalition Project Director, Stephanie facilitates growth of grassroots SRA collaborative efforts at the state level.
Full Bio
Stephanie has worked with hundreds of teens and young adults teaching a sexual risk avoidance (SRA) and healthy relationships curriculum in local schools, after-school programs, juvenile justice centers and foster care programs. She also works with undergraduate students at Western Michigan University as a part-time Instructor teaching in the Human Performance and Health Education Department. 

A common theme in all of her work is the necessity to address the root cause of the issue at hand. One of her favorite quotes is, "We can never solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place."

Molly Mosack


As the Marketing Director of Ascend, Molly strives to ensure a positive user experience with the Ascend brand to better serve those who seek to empower youth with the SRA message.
Full Bio
As a former change management consultant for the Fortune 500, Molly is experienced in applying user-centered design, research-based content creation, and creative methodologies to design and implement solutions to engage and drive positive change among large-scale workforces at some of the world’s biggest companies.

With a background in scientific and technical communication and experience in data analytics, design and delivery of post-secondary curriculum and training programs, Molly also contributes to content creation and research in her role at Ascend. 

As a former SRA educator with the Cleveland, Ohio-based SRA program, Operation Keepsake, Molly is experienced in reaching youth with the optimal health message of SRA. 

Sarah Anderson, SRAS

Executive Assistant

As Executive Assistant, Sarah Anderson helps the Ascend team maintain organization and efficiency while bringing considerable expertise in curriculum content and implementation to the SRA field.
Full Bio
Sarah’s organizational skills and results-driven approach have been honed by her 15 years’ experience as a certified high school science teacher, including nine years’ experience as science department chair for a local high school, a role in which she developed and implemented programs designed to measure students’ mastery of course content, including the school’s first Healthcare Clinical class and a Science Lab Assistants Program. Sarah also oversaw the planning and writing of the school’s self-study, a critical component required for accreditation of the school.

In addition to her role at Ascend, Sarah is the Lead Teacher for a sexual health and relationship education program in her region overseeing a team of SRA educators and helping to expand program implementation across three counties. She also provides updates to the program’s curriculum reflecting the latest research and guidelines for optimal health.

Sarah thrives in a classroom full of teenagers and is enthusiastic about positively influencing the health and well-being of the next generation through SRA education.

*Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist

Our Impact

Despite our status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a limited budget, we have worked tirelessly to make significant impacts benefitting the SRA field since our founding in 2007. 
Since 2007, Ascend has demonstrated SRA as a primary prevention public health approach and continues to provide medical and social science research and theoretical frameworks to promote the widespread implementation of SRA education. 
Over Half a Billion Dollars Secured for SRA
Ascend has been instrumental in educating Congress, resulting in over half a billion dollars made available to fund SRA organizations in communities and schools across the nation, with impacts such as:
reaching hundreds thousands youth
SRA organizations across the country reaching hundreds of thousands of youth annually with the SRA message, giving parents and schools an alternative to explicit sex ed.
SRA grantees in all 50 states and the US territories receiving valuable technical assistance to improve program implementation. 
Significant national evaluations initiated to drive continued SRA program effectiveness.
Thousands of SRA Professionals Served
Over 2500 SRA instructors 
credentialed with the professional Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist designation since 2012
Over 300 graduates 
equipped with our SRA communication practicum, Make Your Message Matter, since 2019
Hundreds of SRA Organizations 
served, reaching millions of youth annually with SRA education. 

Our Work Is Not Done

We won’t give up on youth. 
And not on their access to the skills, information, and encouragement to avoid all sexual risk. 

Will you join us?

© Ascend 2024
[email protected]