Kathryn Lopez

In other words, Hannah's self-worth isn't determined by her scores in the "Love Game," as the Lady Gaga song crudely terms what is far, far from real love. Quonia, a student at Chancellor Avenue School, also understands this important lesson. "There are plenty of times when boys have told me things that I wanted to hear just so I would have sex with them. But I didn't and I am proud to say that I'm in the eighth grade and I am not sexually active," she declares.

Best Friends' abstinence-only mission would be deemed "unrealistic" by many well-funded sex-ed wonks. But according to a 2005 study in the journal Adolescent & Family Health, students in D.C. public schools who participated in Best Friends' program were 6-1/2 times less likely to have sex than their peers. But while Best Friends challenges children and teens to say "no," it provides much to say "yes" to as well; showing inner-city kids they can have a full life that doesn't get its purpose from sex. Imagine: sex could be a beautiful expression of happiness and love instead of a casual, reckless or desperate search for a shabby substitute.

As sixth-grader Hannah puts it: "it's about sisterhood. Best Friends is about teaching young girls how to be smart, successful and beautiful. Best Friends is about self-respect, self-control, responsibility and love. It's about respecting your body and not having sex at a young age. Best Friends is about being truthful and being yourself."

Maybe they should quote her in the next issue of a certain women's glossy. Hannah and her friends might be the inspiration that Cosmo girls need.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.