Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Youth to Youth in Health: Youth Smart Program

The Youth Smart Program is an early prevention program that targets primary school-aged children who are not attending school and their parents. It addresses two important factors that are linked to early substance use: school attendance and family issues.

The program consists of three four-hour weekly school sessions over the course of one school year that teach numeracy, literacy, and life skills. All of these sessions emphasize the value of education and attending school and the importance of making positive life choices. A special emphasis is placed on educating Youth Smart Program students about the dangers of substance use and the benefits of living a substance-free lifestyle. In addition to these weekly sessions, a youth center provides a safe substance-free environment for youth to engage in alternative activities every afternoon and evening after school.

The Youth Smart Program also works with the parents of the students, engaging with them in a number of ways, including an initial enrollment meeting, family counseling sessions, a parental skills workshop, and substance abuse counseling to individual parents. Each of these sessions is run by a certified counselor and designed to suit each family. The initial enrollment meeting helps the counselor to understand unique family circumstances and the reasons the child is not attending school. The family counseling sessions (including an initial session and then follow-up sessions scheduled, as needed) are offered to all families, and the parental skills workshop and substance abuse counseling is offered to all parents of children participating in the program.

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, Youth to Youth in Health will enhance the evaluation of the Youth Smart Program through a complete evaluation of the program and the development of a database. Specific activities will include:

  • Developing and distributing written surveys for all past participants
  • Conducting interviews with a representative sample of past participants
  • Conducting focus groups with schools
  • Performing a document analysis of past program documentation
  • Designing and establishing a database to track all aspects of the program that are currently not being recorded


Contacts

Peter Hopkins
Administrator
Youth to Youth in Health
P.O. Box 3149
Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960
Email: peter-hopkins@hotmail.com

Aluka Rakin
Director
Youth to Youth in Health
P.O. Box 3149
Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960
Email: aluka.rakin@gmail.com