Each year, the trained prevention specialists of Preventionfocus serve nearly 5,000 elementary, middle, and high school students through multi-session model curriculum based programs – including “Too Good for Violence,” “Too Good for Drugs," SPORT and “Life Skills Training." These programs cover a range of topics such as empathy, communication, conflict resolution, building relationships, decision-making, self-esteem, and information on alcohol and other drugs and are all listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
Advantage After School Program
For three hours after school each day, Preventionfocus staff works with 7th and 8th graders on homework, arts & crafts, cooking, computers, physical education, and special projects while discouraging drug use, crime, violence and pregnancy through our Advantage After School Program. Currently, our program is running at PFC William J. Grabiarz School of Excellence #79 in Buffalo.
Supper Club Program
Preparing and sharing meals can help people to converse more freely. That's why food preparation is central to several Preventionfocus programs. Around 50 adolescent girls complete Supper Club every year. This ten-session program, facilitated in schools and community centers, allows middle and high school girls the chance to learn to plan and cook meals from scratch with nutrition and budgeting in mind while strengthening communication and friendship-making skills. Similar programs can be customized for males, co-ed groups, and special populations.
Workshops & Presentations
Preventionfocus not only serves the children of Erie County, but teachers, parents and other adults who care about youth as well, through various workshops. Topics include Children of Addiction, Nurturing Resiliency, Media Literacy, Teen Gambling, Gang Prevention, and a basic Substance Abuse Overview. Our staff has also been trained to facilitate several suicide prevention programs including “Lifelines,” “ASIST,” “QPR,” “SafeTALK,” and "Sources of Strength." Additional workshops on topics like anger management, reducing stress, healthy relationships, and parent-child communication are scheduled periodically and can be provided on request. (Some require fees.)
LifeSkills Training (LST) is a school-based program that aims to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors. LST is based on both the social influence and competence enhancement models of prevention. Consistent with this theoretical framework, LST addresses multiple risk and protective factors and teaches personal and social skills that build resilience and help youth navigate developmental tasks, including the skills necessary to understand and resist prodrug influences. LST is designed to provide information relevant to the important life transitions that adolescents and young teens face, using culturally sensitive and developmentally and age-appropriate language and content. Facilitated discussion, structured small group activities, and role-playing scenarios are used to stimulate participation and promote the acquisition of skills. Separate LST programs are offered for elementary school (grades 3-6), middle school (grades 6-9), and high school (grades 9-12); the research studies and outcomes reviewed for this summary involved middle school students. Preventionfocus provides Botvin’s LifeSkills Training in grades 4-8
SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness, a motivational intervention designed for use by all adolescents, integrates substance abuse prevention with health promotion to help adolescents minimize and avoid substance use while increasing physical activity and other health-enhancing habits, including eating well and getting adequate sleep. SPORT is based on the Behavior-Image Model, which asserts that social and self-images are key motivators for the development of healthy behavior. The intervention promotes the benefits of an active lifestyle with positive images of youth as active and fit, and emphasizes that substance use is counterproductive in achieving positive image and behavior goals.
Adolescents participating in SPORT complete a short, self-administered health behavior screen measuring physical activity and sport behaviors and norms, healthy nutrition, sleep, and alcohol use. During a one-on-one session with a fitness specialist--a teacher, coach, or other professional (e.g., fitness trainer, nurse)--participants receive a booklet and a personally tailored consultation that follows a written script. Participants complete a simple fitness prescription goal plan intended to encourage positive behavior and image change. In addition, flyers addressing key content of the intervention are provided to parents/caregivers for 4 consecutive weeks after the intervention.
Skill development is at the core of Too Good for Drugs, a universal prevention program designed to mitigate the risk factors and enhance protective factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. The program introduces and develops social and emotional skills for making healthy choices, building positive friendships, communicating effectively, and resisting peer pressure.
Too Good for Drugs teaches five essential social and emotional learning skills, which research has linked with healthy development and academic success:
• Goal Setting
• Decision Making
• Bonding with pro-social others
• Identifying and managing emotions
• Communicating effectively
Too Good for Drugs in Middle School empowers teens to meet the challenges of middle school life, fostering confidence and building resistance to substance abuse. In Middle School, the students set and reach more complex goals and, in the process, develop and practice strong decision-making skills and effective-communication skills.
Students also learn to identify and manage their emotions and the emotions of others so they can better relate to others and associate with positive peer groups. Too Good for Drugs Middle School addresses environmental and developmental risk factors related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, through the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes teens need to make healthy decisions and avoid drug use. Drug topics are discussed in the context of expectations, peer pressure and influence, and the role of the media. In particular, more complex social challenges and influences that present a greater risk for escapism and risky behavior are explored and met with strategies for managing those situations in a positive and healthy way. Interactive games and activities create an experiential learning environment so students can learn and apply the skills in the classroom setting.
Additional skills and developmental topics build on the core social skill set to broaden the student’s sense of self-efficacy and confidence and are tailored to the intellectual, cognitive, and social development of the student.
• Media Literacy and Media Influence
• Resisting Peer Pressure
• Understanding Peer Influence
• Understanding Addiction
• Complex Social and Dating Relationships
• Exploring Risk Taking and Differentiating Healthy and Unhealthy Risks
Substance use and its effect on the body are also introduced when it is developmentally appropriate to do so. More complex discussions are introduced at the Middle School level and progress in depth as the students mature.
• Safe Use of Prescription and OTC drugs - Grades 7 and 8
• Effects of Tobacco Use - Grades 6-8
• Effects of Alcohol Use - Grades 6-8
• Effects of Marijuana Use - Grade 6-8
• Effects of Street Drugs including Opioids and Stimulants - Grades 6-8
Too Good for Violence (TGFV) K–5 is a school- and community-based prevention program that targets all students in kindergarten through fifth grade. TGFV K–5 builds skills sequentially, providing developmentally appropriate curricula at each grade level. TGFV is designed to build self-efficacy, social competency, and problem-solving skills that lead to helping students 1) handle their emotions; 2) deal with disagreements, conflicts, and bullying; and 3) reduce risk-taking behaviors such as the use of verbal and physical aggression.
At each grade level, TGFV delivers lessons relating to goal setting; decision making; identifying and managing emotions; communicating effectively; bonding with prosocial others; respecting oneself and others; normative behaviors; strategies for dealing with peer pressure, conflict resolution, anger management, and bullying prevention; and learning about the harmful consequences of aggressive and violent behaviors.
Students at each grade level receive seven to ten, 30-minute to 45-minute lessons covering these topics. Each lesson uses interactive teaching methods that encourage students to bond with prosocial peers and engage them through role play, cooperative learning, games, small group activities, and class discussions. Students receive many opportunities to participate and receive reinforcement for their involvement.
In addition, students’ families are encouraged to participate in a family component. Each lesson includes a Home Workout activity set for parents/caregivers to complete with their child. These activities introduce the concepts taught in the curriculum and provide additional practice activities and guidance for parents/caregivers to model and reinforce the skill development and learning. Preventionfocus provides Too Good for Violence in grades K-3.