Editor's Note: In an effort to highlight the prevention programs that are available in Mifflin County, Mifflin County Communities That Care offers this series that will focus on one service provider each month. CTC offers this information with the purpose of strengthening our families and community. This month the article was written by Sgt. Joshua Cesavice, a Drug Demand Reduction specialist with the National Guard Counterdrug Program.
LEWISTOWN - The role of the National Guard in our community is something most people don't know much about.
Did you know that the National Guard Counterdrug Program places National Guard members locally to help strengthen communities and prevent drug abuse? The Guardsmen use what the military has taught them to educate, motivate and teach leadership to young people in the community.
Here in Mifflin County, this is done by having National Guard members work directly with our youth through Communities That Care and in the PULSE clubs in the public schools.
Also, with a program called Stay On Track, the National Guard members educate students on the negative effects of drugs and alcohol not only to their bodies but also to the community around them. This free program consists of a 12-lesson curriculum that is targeted to students in sixth to eighth grades. The curriculum covers more than drug education; it also includes life skills necessary to become successful, productive members of society. A few of those life skills include goal setting, communication skills and learning how the media influences youth.
The program, which was developed by National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions, is an evidence-based curriculum and has shown great results in the schools that use this program. Each lesson is about 45 minutes long and can be administered in a school setting or an after-school program. These highly interactive lessons involve the kids in making an anti-drug or anti-alcohol media message, produce skits, brainstorm and foster positive character development.
The program also gets the students' caregivers involved and creates discussions at home with the take-home portion of the curriculum. This home-portion involves having the students spend a few minutes going over what they've learned, either through discussion or activity, and then writing about it.
The curriculum meets the national education standards for Health and Life Science and is currently offered at no cost to any school or organization who wishes to take advantage of this life-changing curriculum.