Shows focus on sexual abstinence, bullyingFor the three days Keith Deltano is in Jamestown, he’ll be doing double duty as a youth speaker on sexual abstinence for the True Love Waits event and talking to students in area schools about bullying. Deltano is known as a Christian comedian whose message is about defying conformity by being sexually abstinent. Equally, he uses comedy to make his points with students when addresses the secular topic of bullying. “In front of young people you only have a few seconds to hook them,” Deltano said in a telephone interview. “Comedy is the hook. It’s a very effective tool to use to communicate.”
For the three days Keith Deltano is in Jamestown, he’ll be doing double duty as a youth speaker on sexual abstinence for the True Love Waits event and talking to students in area schools about bullying.
Deltano is known as a Christian comedian whose message is about defying conformity by being sexually abstinent. Equally, he uses comedy to make his points with students when addresses the secular topic of bullying.
“In front of young people you only have a few seconds to hook them,” Deltano said in a telephone interview. “Comedy is the hook. It’s a very effective tool to use to communicate.”
Deltano’s expertise is based on his background as a counselor and middle school teacher. He brings that experience and understanding of youth into his shows, talking with them, not at them. He involves them.
“He’s the wildest and craziest speaker you’ll ever hear,” said Troy Gunderson, executive director of Youth For Christ, the sponsor for True Love Waits. “He’s very hard hitting in his points, but very energetic and fun to listen to. Keith believes comedy breaks down the walls of difficult issues.”
Deltano was the dynamic speaker at a True Love Waits event here several years ago, Gunderson said. True Love Waits is an annual event in Jamestown, encouraging middle and high school students to be abstain from sex until marriage.
“I’d selected him for True Love Waits and thought: while he’s here why not have him address both issues?” Gunderson said. “Booking him to speak in schools is somewhat in reaction to the discourse on bullying going on around here.”
While most of the discussion has been among adults, Deltano goes to the source — the students. Gunderson has arranged for him to speak at assemblies in eight schools in the area, including Jamestown Middle and High schools. He said some of the assemblies will include students coming from other schools as well. The schools range from Ellendale to Kensal to Barnes County North. It’s a lot of driving Monday and Tuesday, Gunderson said, but he believes Deltano’s approach to bullying is worth it.
So does Deltano.
“I believe I’m effective and teachers tell me I am effective. They tell me things changed or the kids will tell me after the show,” he said. “I’m in their face and they tell me they want the truth. They don’t want it sugarcoated.”
He suggests people should go to his website www.dontbullyonline.com if they want to know more about how he deals with the subject. He has clips of shows he’s done in schools.
Gunderson said donations to cover the expense of driving Deltano to all the schools would be very helpful. The additional cost is hard on the YFC budget, he said, which was set up to cover Deltano’s True Love Waits show. Anyone wishing to donate can call Gunderson at 252-5501.
Deltano also has a site for sexual abstinence, www. defyconformity.com, and he’s written two books on the subject. The True Love Waits event is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Jamestown High School Theater.
“I’d like parents to know it’s not graphic sexual information,” Gunderson said. “It’s about decision making and staying abstinent from sexual behavior.”
Deltano and Gunderson encourage parents to participate in True Love Waits. Deltano will spend the first half of his evening with parents in the high school commons area. Gunderson said he’ll be providing parents with materials and information.
“Keith has clear, simple information to assist parents,” Gunderson said.
Meanwhile the students will be using their cell phones to play in a type of game show, he said. They’ll be asked to text their answers to a particular number. The answers will show up on a screen on stage. The contestant can go with his own answer or the audience. All the questions are related to the topic.
“They’ll text answers to yes or no-, true or false-type questions,” he said. “The results are immediate.”
Deltano will follow the game show.
“He’s not just a boring ‘don’t do it’ speaker,” Gunderson said.
Instead, Deltano focuses on defying conformity by being sexually abstinent. He’s written two books and now has a DVD called Defying Conformity.
“All my shows are about not conforming,” Deltano said. “True Love Waits will be faith-based and when I’m in the schools I’ll be secular. And parents are invited to either show. I love it when parents and other people in the community show up.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org