SLICK TRACY CURRICULUM
In early March, I attended a two day training on Project Northland Curriculum, which is an alcohol and drug use prevention curriculum for 6th-8th grade students. It is an evidence-based program based on the idea that the influence of peers, family members, school, the media, and the community plays a critical role in promoting or discouraging alcohol and drug use among teens. The Project Northland curriculum focuses on engaging not only youth but also schools, families, and the larger community in one comprehensive prevention effort. Studies have shown that students who participated in Project Northland showed a 27% lower use of both cigarettes and alcohol by the end of eighth grade compared to control groups.
The 6th grade curriculum is called Slick Tracy and includes Peer Leaders in the classroom, family involvement with the Slick Tracy Home Team Program, and the Slick Tracy Poster Fair. Peer Leaders are students chosen by their classmates and play an important role in facilitating the curriculum, leading small group activities and introducing new materials to the class. The Home Team portion of Slick Tracy consists of four activity booklets, including comic strips featuring "Slick Tracy" and his sidekick "Breathtest Nobeera" (see above), that students complete with a parent or other trusted adult. The culminating event in the Slick Tracy curriculum is the poster fair, which gives students the opportunity to present their own alcohol-related research projects to their families and community.
The Pacific County Health Department started teaching the Slick Tracy curriculum in Willapa Valley, South Bend, and Raymond 6th grade classrooms in March and I have been helping facilitate. The students have a lot of fun in the lessons (and so do I), but I think the most important aspect of the curriculum is the at-home component. Slick Tracy really gives parents some guidance and support around talking with their student about alcohol and drugs, which we know is a key factor in preventing our teens from using. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Health Department to work with the 6th grade students.
TAC Town Hall 2016
March 8th was the culmination of a lot of the work I had been doing for TAC: our Town Hall event!
This year’s theme was Shine Online, featuring a community fair and dinner followed by a presentation by social media expert Josh Ochs. I was very excited to have over twenty community organizations at our community fair. It was a great opportunity not only for the community to learn about available resources, but also to increase connection and collaboration among those organizations. Plus it was awesome to see all of the good work happening in Pacific County!
The keynote speaker of the evening, Josh Ochs, is author of the bestselling book “Light, Bright And Polite” and he travels the country training 30,000 teens each year how to be safe and smart online. At Town Hall, Josh spoke with North Pacific County parents and community members for two hours, addressing questions around what makes apps unsafe for teens to use and how teachers, parents, and community members can help our teens to use social media positively and productively. If you are interested in learning more, you can find Josh’s Parent App Guide and additional information online at www.safesmartsocial.com.
I just want to say thank-you again to everyone who volunteered and attended for helping make TAC Town Hall 2016 a success!
Sources Of Strength
On March 11th, again in partnership with the Pacific County Health Department, the Peer Helpers, Peer Helper Advisors, and I were able to attend a Sources of Strength training. Sources of Strength is a best practice youth suicide prevention project designed to harnesses the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults. Sources of Strength utilizes an upstream model for youth suicide prevention that strengthens multiple sources of support (protective factors) around young individuals so that when times get hard they have strengths to rely on. The eight main categories of strengths include: Mental Health, Spirituality, Medical Access, Generosity, Family Support, Healthy Activities, Positive Friends, and Mentors. Our Peer Helpers will be working to bring the information they learned at the Sources of Strength training to their peers in the upcoming months. Check out the epic video below introducing our Sources of Strength team to the community:
The week of March 21st, I had the opportunity to help at the 2016 Willapa Harbor Business Week, which is a program for juniors from Raymond, South Bend, and Willapa Valley to teach skills needed to succeed in business.
Students are grouped into "companies" who are guided by a volunteer from the local business community as they learn how to run a business, explore career options, make ethical and financial decisions, and compete for investors. The culmination of business week happens on Friday when student companies have stockholder presentations to a panel of community members during which they explain their business decisions over a simulated two fiscal years. Also on Friday is the trade show, during which students attempt to get community member "investors" to give them money for the new product their company developed.
I had a ton of fun at business week- seeing students learn by experience and really step up for the stockholder presentations and the trade show. I had the additional opportunity to talk with all the students about leadership for about an hour on Monday. (See slides below)
Peer Helper Projects
My Raymond and South Bend students have been busy in March, too! Both groups are planning Self-Esteem Awareness weeks for their schools during the week of April 11th-15th. Additionally, South Bend Peer Helpers have planned a TAC Teen Night at South Bend High School on this Friday, April 8th. Teen Night is a safe place for teens to hang out, eat food, and play video games or sports, watch a movie, etc. and it is open to all North Pacific County high school students.
That was my March! Stay tuned to hear about all the exciting events we have coming up in April!