Young people are exposed to many mind and body altering substances, some of which – especially drugs and narcotics – pose risks to their health and development. Studies show that well-designed peer awareness and intervention projects are more effective than threat-based approaches in reducing risks and promoting protective behaviors. This is true equally for participants and those with whom they interact. A year-long series of in-class and extra-curricular activities are supplemented with workshops that guide and mentor students to: (1) research the causes and effects of substance abuse, (2) identify specific areas of interest through consultation with health care and social services experts, (3) design then implement informed action projects that engage their peer groups, and (4) develop skills needed to present their findings, plans, and accomplishments to community and global audiences. Participating youth develop empathy towards people most impacted by substance abuse, gain leadership skills in positive social action, and develop a commitment to local and global citizenship and service.
GRADE LEVELS: Middle School and High School