Make your message matter

Principles of Effective Communication

AN SRAE Practicum

Communicate the SRA message in the classroom and the public square with skill and confidence.
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Deliver the SRA Message as Effectively as Possible

Talking about sex education to parents, teachers, community stakeholders, funders, or the media can be challenging. The complexity and sensitive nature of the topic requires thoughtful messaging and practice if we are to clearly communicate the content and context of the SRA optimal health approach.

Experience hands-on application of principles of effective communication specific to the SRA field, designed and presented by Mary Anne Mosack, President and CEO of Ascend. See bio.

What You'll Learn

Identify the components needed to make a message stick with the intended audience
Recognize the elements of an effective elevator speech
Apply the elements of effective talking points to various scenarios
Recognize the difference between proactive public relations and crisis communication
Identify the common attacks on the SRA education field
Apply the Media Vetting Process (MVP) to prepare for an interview
For anyone delivering the SRA message
One day

Offered every
other Month



Practicum Description

Practicum Topics

Module 1
Communicate with SUCCESS
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Identify the components needed to make a message stick with the intended audience
Demonstrate the components of the SUCCESS method through practical examples  
Module 2
The Elevator Speech
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Recognize the elements of an effective elevator speech

Apply the effective elements in the creation of their personal elevator speech 

Practice their elevator speech among peers
Module 3
Talking Points
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Assess the need for well-crafted talking points ahead of a presentation
Identify the elements of effective talking points
Apply the elements of effective talking points to various scenarios
Illustrate the effective delivery of talking points in pre-assigned scenarios
Module 4
Media Vetting Protocol (MVP) and Crisis Communication
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Summarize the components of the Media Vetting Process
Recognize the difference between proactive public relations and crisis communication
Create effective holding statements  
Module 5
Common Attacks on SRA
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Identify the common attacks on the SRA education field
Assess the need to break the frame of false narratives
Examine factual information to correct misinformation
Assess the value of rhetorical questions to challenge misinformation  
Module 6
Preparing for an Interview
At the conclusion of this module the participant will be able to:
Apply the Media Vetting Process (MVP) to prepare for an interview
Summarize and outline key points to use in the interview
Develop effective strategies to derail “gotcha” questions
Identify the purpose of bridge statements on answering interview questions
Practice answering interview questions in front of SRA colleagues

Counts as SRA Recertification

Are you SRA certified? Recertification is required every two years to keep your SRA Specialist (SRAS) designation active.

Recertification allows SRA educators and instructors who provide SRA education at the school and community levels to maintain credibility and demonstrate a professional commitment to expertise.

For your convience, we provide two options for SRA recertification:

Successful completion of either option secures your SRAS designation for two years.

Note: The cost of taking Make Your Message Matter for SRA recertification is $350.

Have questions or want more info?


Course Structure

Day One

Modules 1 
Module 2-3 
Modules 4-5 
Module 6 
All modules include a presentation followed by group discussion and hands-on application. 

A participant manual is provided and will be shipped to you prior to the course.

Mary Anne Mosack, SRAST*

President & CEO

Mary Anne Mosack serves as the President and CEO of Ascend, promoting an accurate understanding 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.

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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.

Reviews Of Make Your Message Matter

Communicating the SRA Message Effectively
"It really challenged me and at the same time built my confidence around communicating the SRA message effectively."
Claire M.
A Must
"A must for anyone involved in SRA field!"
Joi W.
Communicate with Funders
"It was especially good to know how to communicate with our funders and those in the community."
Dani J.
Practical and Effective
"This practicum was practical and effective! I loved that we weren't just watching a presenter. We got to be involved and immediately put into practice what we were learning."
Claire M.
"The practicum was AWESOME! I was able to walk away with a lot of talking points to use NOW in my class."
Veronica A.
"The practicum helped prepare me for the conversations that are happening in the classroom. It also empowered me as a leader to fight for our program."
Rebecca S.
Thoughtful Communicator
"It will stretch you in a good way and make you a more thoughtful communicator."
Noelle K.
New Ways to Communicate
"I appreciated the opportunity to learn new ways of communicating the message of SRA, and better prepare myself to answer the difficult questions with confidence."
Mendy F.
Informed, Challenged, Empowered
"Informative, challenging, and empowering."
Emery P.
Refreshing Confidence
"Gave me more practice "thinking on my feet" and refreshing my confidence."
Sally B.
New Ideas to Defend SRA
"It gave me new ideas to help defend SRA and to effectively communicate to others what we do."
Jason M.
"Something that is needed in this day and time we live in where our message is getting challenged more and more."
Beth P.
Provided Individual Critiques to Improve
"It was cool being able to get individual critiques to know how we can improve."
Hannah C.
Re-ignite Your Passion
"Definitely worth taking! It is a great hands-on training to get you out of your comfort zone, and to re-ignite your passion for the SRA message"
Cassidee D.
Gateway Conversations
"This practicum is a gateway conversation regarding your program that you may have not spent a lot of time on, unaware or needing to reevaluate."
Dianka M.
Better Equipped
"I feel that I have answers to commonly asked questions regarding SRA and I also feel better equipped to formulate an elevator speech."
Leeann R.
Effectively Communicate your Knowledge
"It is worth it, and it well explains how to present statistics and how to effectively communicate knowledge you perceive in diverse ways."
Taylor W.
Come Ready to Grow
"Come ready to grow as a SRA Specialist."
Jasmine H.
Confidently Express Yourself
"It further equips me to confidently express myself when questioned by classroom students and teachers, school administrators and the general public."
Mendy F.
Defend your Purpose
"Loved coming up with a response to defend our purpose and educate others."
Jasmine H.
Informative, Challenging, Encouraging
"Informative, challenging, and encouraging."
Skylar L.
A First Priority for New Facilitators
"I believe that leaders and facilitators who are brand new to the SRAE programs should make this their first priority in entering into this reality of empowering and equipping young people."
Amos G.
100% Relevant
"I believe that the questions asked were 100% relevant to what we do, and I hadn't realized just how uninformed I was in being able to answer some of the questions."
Princess S.
Time Very Well Spent
"It was both engaging and challenging. The time went by quickly, and I felt it was time very well spent"
Ashanti H.
Opportunities to Role Play
"The purpose of a practicum is to give opportunities to role play and showcase your experience regardless of your level of expertise."
Bijoux P.
Be More Eloquent and Concise
"We are all people striving to become more eloquent, thorough, and concise with our communication regarding SRA.
Michelle H.
Good Practice
"Fun! It was good to practice my elevator speech and review responses to common attacks on SRA."
Aron R.
Be Prepared
"It is important to be prepared because anyone who promotes SRA will at some point be called upon to clearly state why it is the best approach to teaching young people about their health and their futures."
Wendy W.
Worth Every Bit of Critical Thinking
"This practicum is loaded with information that is very helpful and useful in the field of SRA education. It is challenging but worth every bit of critical thinking, money and time spent."
Madronica M.
Sharpen Your Skills
"Absolutely set the time aside to take this practicum. It will sharpen your skills, direct your future pursuit of information, and encourage you right where you are at."
Sue Marie W.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
"It provides practical resources/tools for improving communication skills and developing effective responses surrounding opposition to SRA content. This is a really great "get of your comfort zone" class that will equip you to answer the difficult questions effectively and concisely."
Mendy F.
Strengthen the Troops
"Take it! I loved, it although it was hard. There’s nothing like suffering with your colleagues to strengthen the troops."
Mary M.
Equipped to Address the Attacks
"The attacks on SRA are new everyday - as the culture changes - so do the attacks. It's beneficial to be brought up to date on the latest and then equip those of us in the field on how best to address the attacks."
Julie H.
"We really do want to be effective communicators and taking opportunities to reflect on how our communication comes across to others and refining it from there. Gold. So necessary."
Larissa F.
Be Challenged and Better Equipped
"PLEASE, TAKE THIS PRACTICUM and be ready to learn, be challenged, and equipped to better excel as an SRA presenter."
Princess S.
Be More Confident in Your Communication
"It's effective and will teach you how to be more confident in communicating what can be a really difficult topic. This practicum is a must do for anyone teaching SRA! "
Claire M.
It's a Must
“It’s a must”.
Amos G.
Inspirational and Motivational
"It inspired and motivated me to improve my communication and use more of the "communicating with success" components."
Elodie T.
Engaging, Informative, Practical
"The "Making Your Message Matter" practicum was very engaging and informative. I love the way that each module taught us something new and gave us the opportunity to make it practical."
Barbara J.
Beneficial and Educational
"Very beneficial and educational! A must if you are in this field!!!!"
Christy S.
Facing Pushback? The Course for You
"If you face a lot of push back toward SRA education in your public atmosphere with media, businesses and governing authorities this would be the course for you."
Taryn M.
Best Practicum I've Ever Experienced
"Take it! Be prepared to be challenged in a way that is going to stretch you. We all need more "stretching" in this area and the team at ASCEND are more than qualified to provide it. I would say this is the best practicum I've ever experienced."
Larissa F.
Well Worth My Time Despite a Busy Sched.
"It has helped me to be better prepared for when I actually get the questions in real life. Don't hesitate to take it! Sitting at the feet of Mary Anne was well worth my time despite my busy schedule."
Teri W.
Communicate Accurately and Responsibly
"Please take this practicum!!! It will prepare you as much as possible for how to communicate accurately, responsibly, and effectively about SRA education. "
Madronica M.
"I would describe this practicum as informative, challenging, engaging and important in every aspect to the field work we do in SRA."
Princess S.
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Resonate with your audience

Gain more confidence

Become an articulate influencer

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You Don't Have to Go It Alone

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Ascend Membership

Navigating the challenges of reaching youth with an optimal health message about sex and relationships can be demanding. 
Ascend Members enjoy the following benefits: 
Discounted consultation with Ascend when needed
Exclusive Members-only webinars and content
Discounts on SRA recertification
Networking opportunities 

Organizational Membership

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