“You are the hardest person to explain that I have ever met.”
—High school student, Oakland, CA

“As part of my research, I sat in on the classes of a woman named Charis Denison who is based in Northern California. The thing about her classes was, while they were certainly discussing sex (I open the chapter with an image of Denison manually stimulating her vulva hand puppet), the students were really talking about honing their personal values. And Denison teaches in a way that works whether those personal values mean that you want to remain abstinent until marriage or whether they mean that you’re hooking up every weekend. What she says is that her whole job is to help her students make choices that end in integrity and joy rather than shame and regret. I think all of us could use some lessons in that!”
Peggy Orenstein, Author of Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

“I recently read Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex, and it inspired me to visit your website, watch your TED Talks, and read some of the articles on your website. Thank you for the work that you are doing. Your insight has helped me to be a better parent (even though my kids are only 3 and 5).”
Youth parent

“You are one of those rare people who serve as a touchstone for others, who helped them find themselves and remember themselves. Thank you for helping our daughter become more of who she is. That was your love and skill and your own compassion at work. Your influence lives in her now and will live in her always. You have given her the tools, the language and confidence to grow her emotional life. It is something that is of supreme importance to me, something I have tried to teach her, but there is nothing as powerful as the influence of the teachers outside your family. You have been a profound one.”
Parent, Marin Academy

“Your down on the ground knowledge is so helpful for parents and bringing in teens themselves [to speak from their] perspective is so valuable and so important.”
Parent, Sir Francis Drake High School

“Thank you for taking the time to walk me through a conversation with my daughter that I felt unprepared to have. Your advice and wisdom were so incredibly helpful and gave me the clarity to approach the subject with a full heart as well as with the love and respect I have for her, no matter what.”
Parent, San Francisco Bay Area teen

“I focus on teaching character development in schools and have been following you ever since I discovered your Ethical Dilemma series some years ago. Thank you for your efforts in this field and for making Ethical Dilemma available for use. May your passion just keep on driving you forward.”
Character educator, Cape Town, South Africa

“Charis Denison has an amazing rapport with adolescents. Part of it must be the way she exudes, at the same time, both empathy and authority. On one hand, she’s a keen listener, one who never condescends to students, but treats them like fellow humans; on the other hand, she speaks with the clarity and assurance of an expert. One gets the sense there isn’t any crisis she hasn’t dealt with before. She also has a near-magical quality of realness, an authenticity devoid of contrivance, to which teenagers (and people in general) respond immediately. She is by turns irreverent, challenging, startlingly direct; she brings insight, compassion, and fearlessness to her work. She is that rare educator to whom adolescents want to listen, and with whom they want to be honest.”
Sam Reed, Urban School of San Francisco alum

“I have been using your ethical dilemmas in my US government class and the kids love it. For many, it is their favorite assignment of the week and the dilemmas are creating the most incredibly thoughtful and wonderful conversations in class. Thank you for the work that you have done and are still doing!”
High school teacher, North Oakland, CA

“I almost wanted to cry I was so inspired. It’s not often that you come across people … who [offer] an ear and such un-biased information.”
High school student, British Columbia

“I just listened to your podcast, [and] I really respect your perspective in teen-education. I had a pretty tumultuous adolescent journey, [and] I really wish there more people like you when I was growing up.”
Recent high school graduate, South Africa

“I’m not very good at listening to my parents and having you in our house working [directly with all of us] really helped me understand where they are coming from. … I know that you are on my side.”
Jordan, high school junior

“We all had a wonderful time [at the Slumber Party]. After you left, the girls stayed at my house until 12:30 am, discussing everything from car keys that alert the driver if there are people nearby to our favorite methods of attaining orgasm. I hope that in the future you are much more involved in my school. Both the boys and the girls need your unbiased information and motto (guilt, shame, regret… SUCK). You have inspired me and given me so much confidence going into college.”
Chelsea McGettigan, University High School senior

“You changed the dynamic of the group in such a positive way. … We all [enjoyed] ourselves much more than we would have had you not come. You are so inspiring. There’s just something about you that always makes me think that you’ve just got ‘it.’”
Talia Seidman, Branson School Women’s Retreat

“[My son] had nothing but positive comments [about Charis’] straightforwardness. … I got the feeling that there was a mutual respect between [her] and the students.”
Parent, Sonoma Academy

“My sophomore thought Charis was a great speaker. She [called her presentation worthwhile and] talked about it after school. As a result, I have been able to bring up some of these issues in a normal way.”
Parent, Sonoma Academy

“I have used your dilemma scenarios to deal with problems that come up in our camp. They have allowed us to have discussions and solve situations without finger-pointing between kids. … Thank you for your relevant writings. [They] allow our kids the freedom to problem solve without blaming [and help me] to prepare them for hard places in their lives.”
Program Director, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Lexington, KY