The National Council on Alcoholism and other Drug Addictions – Bay Area (NCA-BA), offers a youth program entitled Project Connect, a mentor-style program designed to help youth become agents of change in their own communities.
The youth program model is designed to make a collective impact by working with local youth, local service providers, local stakeholders and local youth allies to most effectively implement relevant and effective program in each area. Project Connect utilizes a collaborative approach through an environmental prevention strategy to work with youth and address the alcohol related heath harms that potentially affect all residents in their local communities.
This program helps participants:
- Understand the potentially negative health consequences of alcohol;
- Recognize the impact and implications of the excess availability of alcohol outlets in their communities, and
- Experience the power of change which is possible through education, engagement, partnership and through personal and social action.
Project Connect currently works in conjunction with the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition to inform groups about the impact of the high density of alcohol outlets in the neighborhood and lend support in creating incentives for stores to undergo conversion to become healthy retail outlets. Project Connect also collaborates with the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership Alcohol Work-group to make recommendations which address alcohol related safety concerns for the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.
Since 2011, NCA-BA has partnered with The Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco to develop "The Tenderloin Environmental Prevention Project," a youth-driven, interactive, fair-like event where attendees can learn from their peers about the community norms, access to and consequences of alcohol and other addictive drugs. The goal of the program is to empower and educate youth to be proactive in their communities to help eliminate or reduce alcohol and substance use among youth.
Another program offered by NCA-BA is Project Choice, a highly-acclaimed adolescent-focused drug education prevention program. The Council partners with San Francisco public and private schools to provide students with the information and understanding they will need to make healthy and informed decisions as they enter the more socially complex phases of adolescence and young adulthood.
Project Choice is an evidence-based prevention classroom curriculum which gives students information about alcohol, and other drugs, and explores the effects of drugs on their minds and bodies, as well offers skills and practice to deal with associated peer and life pressures. Project Choice instructors are full-time members of the NCA-BA staff and are trained to deliver this complex information in an interesting, objective and clear manner within the safety of the students' classroom environment.
The program is engaging and interactive, with students helping to determine focus according to their own age-appropriate interests, questions, and concerns. The program utilizes the Botvin LifeSkills training program, which has been acclaimed as an effective educational and prevention model recognized by a variety of government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
The five week program has been shown to cut the rates of alcohol and marijuana use in youth in addition to reducing violence, delinquency and risky behavior. Project Choice classes are presented in a series of five consecutive, weekly fifty-minute sessions for grades four through eight.
For more information:
Fay Zenoff, Executive Director
Pedro Torres, Director of Operations and Prevention
National Council on Alcoholism and other Drug Addictions – Bay Area
1170 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102