Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions): Mobilizing the Community: Youth Taking the Lead

Mobilizing the Community: Youth Taking the Lead aims to create a community-level, multi-pronged, youth-driven campaign to engage key sectors of a community to change the culture and social norms regarding underage drinking—with the long-term goal of reducing the number of underage youth consuming alcohol in the community. To date, the program has been implemented in five Massachusetts towns and three school communities in Illinois.

The Mobilizing the Community program provides technical assistance to communities over the course of one school year, giving them the tools they need to maintain the program on their own. Each participating community receives a kit with program materials, including a manual and a link to a password-protected website that contains a community readiness assessment, an outline of the program’s goals, timelines, and all templates and tools to complete the program. Youth are typically recruited from SADD chapters and are engaged in all stages of the program, which focuses on three key sectors of the community: youth, parents, and community leaders. Each sector has specific tasks and activities:

  • The youth component teaches youth about the negative consequences of underage drinking, corrects misperceptions about underage drinking rates, and demonstrates refusal skills.
  • Parents receive six electronic mailings throughout the year that offer information on underage drinking and the importance of parent disapproval of use for curbing underage drinking.
  • Select community leaders and stakeholders form a Policy Task Force to prioritize goals and create an action plan to address underage drinking in their community.

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, SADD will enhance the process and outcome evaluation activities for these three major components of Mobilizing the Community: Youth Taking the Lead. The enhancements will improve the program’s ability to demonstrate whether intended outcomes were achieved for each of these target groups, help make stronger connections between specific program activities and observed outcomes, and facilitate quality improvement. Specific activities will include:

  • Planning logistics for data collection and analysis
  • Developing data collection instruments
  • Developing data entry systems
  • Creating a detailed analysis plan
  • Documenting how to collect and record data for each component of the evaluation
  • Pilot-testing the evaluation of the Policy Task Force
  • Training staff to implement the evaluation enhancements


Julie Nussbaum
Director of Prevention
SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
255 Main St, Suite 208
Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone: (508) 481-3568 ext. 230

Penny Wells
President and CEO
SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
255 Main St, Suite 208
Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone: (508) 481-3568 ext. 224