Prevention Education

The ACCA delivers prevention education to thousands of Capital Region children each year to help support healthy communities and prevent underage drinking, drug abuse and other risky behaviors such as early sexual activity, school delinquency and teen violence.

Our prevention programs include:

ACCA’s Evidence-based An Apple A Day© program begins in Kindergarten and is delivered each year, through fourth grade, so that we are able to reach children on a regular basis long before underage drinking behaviors are established. In middle school, when peer pressure to engage in underage drinking and risky behaviors increases, students receive the Grow Girl!© and Boys Only© gender-specific curricula to support the information learned in elementary school.

prevention-education-image1The programs are based on the Risk and Protective framework of Hawkins and Catalano (University of Washington) and the resiliency-building research of Dr. Bonnie Bernard. This research indicates that many children raised in the direst of circumstances, surrounded by alcohol and other drug abuse, violence, poverty and/or mental illness were able to overcome their hardships and become more “resilient” children. The authors describe key attributes and several “protective factors” that have the ability to negate risk factors and lessen their impact on a child’s life. Protective factors help a child to become more resilient and focus on the root causes of underage drinking and other risky behaviors. Some of these “protective factors” include the following:

  • Literacy
  • Goal Setting Skills
  • Social & Interpersonal Skills
  • Sense of Humor
  • Open Communication
  • Positive Peer Influence

The researchers also described several “risk factors” that increase a child’s vulnerability to undesired outcomes such as teenage pregnancy, underage drinking, substance abuse, violence and delinquency. Some of the risk factors include the following:

  • Illiteracy
  • Inadequate Goal Setting Skills
  • Substance Abuse by Child’s Family
  • Low Academic Aspirations/Lack of Involvement in School
  • Low Socio-Economic Status/Poverty & Disorganized Community
  • Social Isolation/Lack of Adult & Peer Support
  • Living in Single Parent Household
  • Poor Decision Making Skills

prevention-education-image2ACCA’s prevention programs use all aspects of literacy–reading, writing, listening and speaking–coupled with prevention information and interactive activities to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors.  The curriculums are tailored to teach to all learning styles; audio, visual and kinesthetic, by incorporating journals, music, videos, hand on activities, guest speakers and experiential activities.  All aspects of literacy are reinforced through the use of relevant books and literature, role-plays and worksheets.  Literacy is an important component as it is also a protective factor and has been shown to reduce risky behaviors.  In addition, all children also receive relevant incentives (i.e. stickers, lanyards, pencils, water bottles), which serve as reminders of the information, and concepts that they learned.  Each student who participates receives free books at the culmination of the program.

These curriculums continue to receive positive outcomes and reviews from children, parents, and educators. Part of their unique design is that they are delivered by professionally educated and trained prevention educators who serve as role models for the children. ACCA’s prevention programs are provided to elementary through middle school students in classroom and after school program settings during the school year, and in parks and playgrounds during the summer months. The curriculums are delivered once a week, during a 45-minute session, for eight weeks, because research shows that prevention programming is most effective at impacting attitudes, values and beliefs when it is delivered at a duration of at least seven sessions and is based on a proven research framework such as the Risk and Protective Framework, which our programs utilize.

ACCA’s Community Education program also delivers the following interactive workshops and presentations to schools, community organizations and corporations upon request.

  • Bullying Prevention:  Take a Stand, Lend a Hand
  • Cyberbullying:  The Wave of the Future
  • Alcohol Awareness:  Myths & Facts
  • Addiction Awareness:  Signs & Symptoms of a Deadly Disease
  • Current Trends in Substance Abuse

CLICK HERE for a Prevention Program brochure.

For more information about the Community Education Program, please contact Jennifer Vitkus, Director of Community Education at (518) 465-5829 or jvitkus@theacca.net

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“We believe that addiction is both preventable & treatable”