Adolescent substance abuse remains a persistent and serious problem in the United States, and bullying and interpersonal violence have become increasingly problematic across New Mexico and the nation. Adventures in a Caring Community is an experiential program for youth that focuses on bullying, violence, and substance abuse prevention. Participating students take part in adventure activities designed to increase resiliency, promote life skills, delay the first experience of substance use, decrease the likelihood of future substance use, and promote non-violent pro-social attitudes and behaviors.
The core components of the program’s strengths-based resiliency curriculum emphasize the internal assets of positive values, social competencies, and positive identity development. Throughout the school year, program staff work with all fifth-graders in two elementary schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a class and in small groups, students participate in nine 2-hour activities (e.g., cooperative games, problem-solving activities, experiential lessons, role-plays, reflection) and three 4.5-hour low- and high-ropes course events. During the following year, students receive two additional 2-hour booster sessions to reinforce and support the resiliency skills and caring community concepts emphasized during the first year.
With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-Based Interventions, the Santa Fe Mountain Center will enhance the evaluation of its Adventures in a Caring Community program to increase the validity, reliability, and usability of its evaluation findings by refining the program’s logic model and theory of change, evaluation design, survey instruments, and data analysis processes. Specific activities will include:
- Modifying the logic model to be more inclusive of violence and alcohol-, tobacco-, and other drug-related outcomes
- Strengthening the pre- and post-intervention survey developed during participation in Service to Science to include reliable and valid measures of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, as well as risk and protective factors appropriate for this age group
- Identifying process and fidelity outcome measures to include in evaluation instruments in order to assess the extent to which the program is consistently implemented across various study sites
- Improving data analysis strategies to account for differences at baseline between program and comparison groups.
Santa Fe Mountain Center
P.O. Box 449
Tesuque, New Mexico 87574
Phone: (505) 983-6158 x13