Arbor Circle’s Prevention Services Program involves a multi-strategy approach designed to address youth alcohol and marijuana use. The overall focus of Arbor Circle’s Prevention Services Program is to build capacity by directly strengthening and enhancing refusal skills and healthy coping mechanisms among indicated, high risk youth/young adults, and to enhance and support the community based process of the systems of which they are a part, including: neighborhoods, schools, community, and family. The program integrates multiple strategies and interventions aimed at developing and strengthening effective and sustainable prevention focused relationships, skills, and activities across the community, school, family, peer, and individual domains to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance use disorders.
Strong Voices, Bold Choices (SVBC) aims at educating individuals, families, and the community about alcohol and the effects it can have. The overall goal of the program is to prevent and decrease youth alcohol use. To do this, SVBC’s strategies concentrate on informing, empowering, and equipping parents to have discussions with their children regarding substance use, while providing youth with the information and tools necessary for them to make bold and positive choices. The program provides youth with school and community-based educational groups that provide accurate information regarding alcohol and its effects, while teaching refusal skills and encouraging youth to make healthy choices. The program also focuses on empowering youth to be a positive influence in their environment and among their peers. To achieve this, youth may participate in contests or other workshops, where they strengthen leadership skills and work together to create positive messages for their peers. Parents receive information through community events such as resource fairs and parent-teacher conferences.
• Native American Community Services (NACS) Prevention is a substance use prevention program that aims at educating individuals, families, and the community about alcohol and the effects it can have. NACS Prevention specifically aims at reaching and providing these services to the Native American population in Kent County. The strategies of the program include strengthening relationships and collaborations within the Native American population in order to provide prevention services. Services include educational prevention groups for youth, a Student Leader Program, workshops for parents and youth, and the dissemination of prevention material to the community at different events such as resource fairs and community celebrations.
Adult Heavy Drinking is an annual campaign informing adults about the potentially harmful effects and risky behaviors associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Short-term, the impacts of heavy drinking can include drinking and driving, aggression, and risky sexual behavior. Long-term, it can lead to obesity, a higher risk of certain cancers, and organ damage. Knowing these risks early and taking a proactive approach to prevent them can help individuals stay healthy. KCHD uses a broad-based, public health campaign, incorporating social media and education throughout Kent County. The target audience is residents over 21 years of age with a primary focus on the 21-34-year-old population. It is not an abstinence message; instead, it asks people to rethink how much and how quickly they drink.
Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a research-validated substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors. This comprehensive program provides adolescents and young teens in 3rd through 8th grades with the confidence and skills necessary to successfully handle challenging situations. Health educators coordinate service delivery with schools in urban, rural, and suburban districts throughout Kent County. The middle school curriculum includes modules on: pre-test and team building, self-image, self- improvement, goal setting, decision-making, tobacco and smoking, alcohol and binge drinking, marijuana, inhalants, prescription drugs, addiction and e-cigarettes, advertising, violence and media, coping with stress and anxiety, communication skills, assertiveness, social skills, and post-test and graduation. The elementary school curriculum includes modules on self-esteem, decision-making, stress, advertising, communication, assertiveness, social skills, and tobacco, alcohol & marijuana.
The focus of the LifeSkills Training is for KCHD Health Educators to:
- Teach students the necessary skills to resist social (peer) pressures to smoke, drink, and use drugs
- Help students to develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence
- Enable students to effectively cope with anxiety
- Increase students’ knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse
- Enhance cognitive and behavioral competency to reduce and prevent a variety of health risk behaviors
- Enhance positive decision making skills
- Data Service aids the Kent County Prevention Coalition.
Data Systems: Since 2008, KCHD has coordinated the collection, analysis, and reporting of data surrounding local substance use behaviors to support the work of the Kent County Prevention Coalition (KCPC). KCHD staff is actively involved in advocating for school districts to participate in the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY) Survey to enhance the representativeness and availability of data on substance use behaviors among Kent County adolescents. In support of these efforts, KCHD epidemiologists help school administrators analyze their district-specific MiPHY data, which is used to help inform need-based programming. KCHD staff also collaborate with the Kent Intermediate School Districts to train district staff on how to effectively use MiPHY data. Through its partnership with KCPC, KCHD plays a key role in the coalition’s efforts to share local data with KCPC member organizations and community stakeholders. KCHD epidemiologists help to craft KCPC’s annual Substance Use Indicator Report and organize locally available statistics on the KCPC website. In addition to providing data to the greater community, KCHD also assists KCPC’s continuous journey of going from “good to great” by providing evaluation support for coalition events and activities. Examples of these supportive activities include creating evaluation tools for the annual Youth Summit and Lunch and Learn events and assessing the overall health of the coalition through an annual member survey.
Kent County Prevention Coalition (KCPC) is a coalition committed to People, Passion, Partnerships, and Performance. Its vision is to promote a healthier community for all by developing a substance abuse prevention system that fills gaps in services, prioritizes resources, and reduces overlap. The role of this coalition is to impact community-level change via a change in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The KCPC brings together a team of 30+ member organizations from various sectors who share a genuine concern for building a healthier community in Kent County by preventing and reducing harmful substance use behaviors with a special focus on youth. This village-like framework has changed community conditions, norms, systems, and policies in landmark ways.
ATI-Kent County Youth Summit—an annual town hall-style youth summit, is a youth-driven conference of the KCPC “Above the Influence-Kent County” initiative. Annually, KCPC Youth Summit serves nearly 1,300 teens from urban, suburban, and rural communities within West Michigan. Birthed out of a vision to empower community youth, the Summit is designed to equip, educate, and engage middle and high school students to think critically about personal choices and future ambitions, emerging community health and wellness trends related to underage substance use, and the power community teens have individually and collectively to impact peers, family and community norms and the world by making a personal commitment to live Above the Influence.
ATI-Kent County Youth Coalition—powered by network180, spearheads the Above the Influence- Kent County Youth Coalition. The purpose of Youth Coalition is to expand and enhance the vision and reach of Above the Influence-Kent County under the umbrella mission of the KCPC. Youth Coalition aims to see students share their gifts, expertise, and resources to birth and support the work, and authentically care about the wellness of the community we call home.
ATI-Kent County Mobile Experience, facilitated by KCPC, facilitates high-octane, Generation-Y oriented, ‘ATI-Kent County’ days within area schools to inspire and empower students to make positive decisions and commit to living ATI as a lifestyle. These in-class sessions feature music, technology, art, and prevention messaging, and have proven effective among students of all demographics.
Community Lunch and Learn Series: Annually, the KCPC sponsors interactive educational forums to educate, empower, and engage all sectors of the community in the effort to reduce and prevent substance use disorders in Kent County. Lunch and Learn Community Forums are meant to help us uncover issues and work together to improve health outcomes for all who call Kent County home, with a special focus on youth and underage substance use.
Family Day is a national movement based on years of research that prove children and teens whose parents are engaged and hands-on in their daily lives—relaxing with them, fellowshipping over a meal or family activity, etc. perform better academically and are significantly less likely to drink, smoke, or use drugs. The KCPC, powered by network180, in partnership with community stakeholders such as Grand Rapids Public Schools, John Ball Zoo, and Brann’s Restaurants, serve as event sponsors of the event in September as a collaborative venture in celebration of families. To date, the event has served over 10,000 Kent County residents.
Project Sticker Shock is designed to reach adults who might purchase alcohol legally and provide it to minors. Stickers warning about the penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors are on multi-packs of beer, alcopops, and other alcohol products that might appeal to underage drinkers. The project represents a partnership between youth, retailers, concerned parents, community members, prevention professionals, and law enforcement with the goals of educating potential furnishers, raising public awareness about underage drinking, and strengthening the deterrent effect of the law against providing alcohol to minors.
Red Ribbon Week includes activities at several area middle & high schools including urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout Kent County. Students receive a budget with which to create a week of programming and interactive activities designed to empower and engage their student body to live ATI as a lifestyle. Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.
Project SUCCESS is an evidence-based multi-strategy approach designed to prevent and reduce substance use among youth based on the following principals: Increasing perception of risk of harm.
Changing adolescents’ norms and expectations about substance use.
Building and enhancing social and resistance skills.
Changing community norms and values regarding substance use.
Fostering and enhancing resiliency and protective factors, especially in high-risk youth.
The target population of the program is Kent County youth between ages of 12 and 18 in school and community settings. Problem areas addressed include:
- Youth alcohol use
- Binge drinking
- Youth marijuana use
Intervening variables include social norms that support alcohol use, media depiction of alcohol use and lack of perception of harm.
There are five program components to Project SUCCESS:
- The Prevention Education Series
- Individual Meetings and Small Intervention Groups
- School-wide and Community Awareness and Outreach Activities
- Parent Programs