Program Goals/Target Population
The Woodrock Youth Development Program was a combination of intervention strategies and support systems to prevent substance abuse among at-risk and racially diverse youth. The program incorporated psychosocial family and community supports, human relations, skill-building workshops, and drug-resistance trainings to raise awareness of and reduce incidences of substance abuse, promote healthy attitudes, improve the quality of race relations, and develop self-esteem.
Program Activities/Key Personnel
The Woodrock Youth Development Program consisted of four main components. They included:
- human-relations and life-skills classes
- peer mentoring
- extracurricular activities
- family, school, and community supports.
Each component was selected to develop life skills and drug-use resistance through direct education.
Human-Relations and Life-Skills Classes
Classes were conducted by youth advocates. Youth advocates were selected based on their representation of different racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds. Activities focused on raising awareness of the dangers of substance use. Various curriculum units were titled:
- Drug Involvement and Awareness
- Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity.
Ten peer mentors, comprised of high school students from area schools, implemented the after-school program. The peer mentors served as positive role models who provided tutoring or homework help to individual students after school. Mentors monitored youth on an individual basis during this time.
Activities were voluntary and designed to improve academic performance, provide creative outlets, teach about other people and environments, and develop positive interpersonal relationships outside of school. Clubs promoted self-esteem and students were encouraged to develop their own skills by focusing on their achievements. Activities also included weekend retreats at Woodrock’s Training Center.
Family, School, and Community Supports
Woodrock youth advocates would meet regularly with students’ teachers and help them establish goals that were challenging yet realistic. Staff also worked with parents to establish trust in the program. Staff worked on building communication and ensured high levels of parental involvement by conducting frequent home visits throughout the year. Parents participated in monthly parenting classes (offered both in English and Spanish). The classes covered topics such as improving parent and child communication, building children’s self-esteem, improving parent and school relations, and planning summer activities for children. The program also acted as a referral source for parents when specific needs would arise.
6 to 14
In the younger subsample, behavioral measures of drug use indicated that the Woodrock Youth Development Program significantly impacted drug use in the last month. Compared to younger youth in the control group, younger youth in the experimental group reported significantly less drug use in the last month.
There were also slightly higher self-esteem scores and healthier attitudes regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) in the experimental group. However, these trends were not statistically significant.
Older youth in the experimental group also showed significantly reduced levels of drug use in the last month compared to older youth in the control group. However, there was no significant effect on levels of self-esteem and attitudes toward ATOD.
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