School Based Prevention Programs
The Substance Awareness Center of Indian River County (SAC) is CARF Accredited and licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide Universal Direct Prevention Services. SAC believes that all youth are capable of success. Our prevention programs aim to build the skills necessary to achieve success and reduce the likelihood of substance use and other health risk behaviors. Our team of trained prevention specialists deliver evidence-based programming in the classroom at their dedicated schools.
LifeSkills Training (LST) is our Universal Direct Prevention Program. LST is an evidence-based prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, violence, and other health risks by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance and other high-risk behaviors. This comprehensive program provides adolescents with the confidence and skills needed to successfully handle challenging situations. The program uses developmentally appropriate and collaborative learning strategies taught through lecture, discussion, coaching, and practice. This enhances the student’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and ability to effectively cope with anxiety, decision making, and resist peer and media influence/pressure.
LST was developed by Dr. Gilbert Botvin and is backed by over 30 years of scientific studies. It is recognized as a model or exemplary program by the U.S. Dept. of Education and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. If the program is implemented with fidelity, it has been proven to reduce drug use and violence by 80%. At the end of each workday, each facilitator completes an implementation log and a survey to ensure fidelity to the program model is maintained. In addition, the Prevention Program Director conducts classroom observations to monitor fidelity and provide feedback.
The Universal Prevention Level 1 Program, LifeSkills Training, serves students in Indian River County. The program is implemented in the following:
- 5th grade once a week for 8 weeks: in all 13 county elementary schools (in partnership with local police departments)
- 6th grade once a week for 16 weeks: Sebastian Charter Junior High and St. Helen Catholic School
- 7th grade once a week for 10 weeks: Sebastian Charter Junior High and St. Helen Catholic School
- 8th grade once a week for 5 weeks: Sebastian Charter Junior High and St. Helen Catholic School
During the summer months, the program is implemented through summer camps offered at the Boys and Girls Clubs (all three locations), Gifford Youth Achievement Center, Youth Guidance, Dasie Hope, and Feed the Lambs.
Prevention Plus Wellness for Youth (Sport and Vaping) SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness is designed to increase health and behaviors like physical activity, sports participation, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and stress control. It identifies wellness enhancing behaviors along with substance use habits that interfere with reaching wellness goals and positive self-image. It helps youth make a commitment to set and monitor multiple goals to increase wellness-promoting behaviors while avoiding harmful behaviors like substance use. Listed as an evidence-based program on NREPP and BluePrints for Healthy Youth Development, the program has undergone rigorous research evaluating its effectiveness for preventing youth substance use and increasing healthy habits. It also utilizes evidence-based practices of screening and brief intervention.
It is founded on the Behavior Image Model, a framework that targets naturally motivating positive peer and desired future images to increase motivation for change and multiple health behavior goal setting which in turn increases the self-regulation skills of participants.
The program uses a three-step process:
1. Screening youth for their current health habits to increase awareness of their substance use and wellness behaviors.
2. Providing feedback on health habits and positive image messages and increasing motivation for change.
3. Presenting a goal plan and contract to have youth set and monitor goals to avoid substance use and increase protective wellness behaviors while increasing self-control skills.
The Prevention Plus Wellness Vaping module is evidence-informed and founded on the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness Program. It follows the same three-step process as the SPORT module with a focus on vaping specifically. Students in grades 6th-8th at all SDIRC middle schools receive the curriculum.
Erika’s Lighthouse is an evidence-informed, adolescent depression, and suicide prevention program that raises awareness, reinforce skills, encourages conversation, promotes early identification and prevention, and helps show adolescents that they are never alone. ELH in combination with LST provides Indian River County youth with a researched-based comprehensive prevention plan. Both programs reinforce the skills and key concepts noted in prevention science. Erika’s Lighthouse is evidence-informed and data-driven to improve students knowledge of depression and improve students attitudes towards help-seeking. ELH curriculum increases youth knowledge related to depression and help-seeking, increases empathy and understanding of depression, and increases coping skills for stressful times. ELH reinforces the healthy coping skills taught in LST while addressing the suicide and depression directly. Erika’s Lighthouse serves students in Indian River County. The program is implemented in the following:
- 6th grade once a week for 3 weeks (all four county middle schools, Sebastian Charter Junior High)
- 9th grade once a week for 3 weeks: (Freshman Learning Center and Sebastian River High School)
Erika’s Lighthouse Program goals are to:
- Increase student access to mental health professionals
- Increase knowledge of depression and help-seeking
- Increase the number of students who can identify/name a trusted adult
EverFi works by measuring the knowledge, attitudes, and planned behaviors of students through learning platforms. This is accomplished through conversations between in-house experts and external advocates. EverFi develops and shares best practices, convenes practitioners, and establishes industry benchmarks. The following EverFi curriculum is used in these grades:
- Healthy Coping Skills – 6th grade
- Getting Help – 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade
- Mental Wellness Basics – 7th grade, 8th grade
- Identifying Stigma – 7th grade, 8th grade