SPOTLIGHT: Fort Worth, TX Affiliate’s “Sunshine Club”

SPOTLIGHT: Fort Worth, TX Affiliate’s “Sunshine Club”

Sunshine Club,” is a unique, multi-cultural, evidence-based preventive intervention program for selective youth who are in need of additional education and support to promote their individual health and wellness, prevent and reduce the incidence of drug use, and increase their classroom performance.

The philosophy of the program is that all kids should be empowered with the education and skills necessary to make healthy choices, stay drug-free, and know that they have a purpose. This philosophy is even more critical when working with the target population of elementary-aged youth who are living with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).

The Sunshine Club Program supports behavioral health and provides a sustainable resource to positively impact the lives of our community’s most at-risk youth who are under-performing academically or behaviorally because of suspected or known trauma events in their lives such as possible abuse of drugs in the home, a parent in jail/prison, divorce, CPS involvement, or the death or chronic illness of a parent.

Sunshine Club teaches a set of essential life skills to help children learn how to:

  • live healthy lives;
  • cope with difficult family situations;
  • resist negative peer pressure;
  • respect others;
  • set and achieve goals, and
  • refuse alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Sunshine Club is a 10-week, support group series for children, grades K-5th, attending public, elementary schools throughout Tarrant County, Texas.

The program is designed for males and females, ages 5-12, whose high-risk situations, attitudes and behaviors place them at elevated risk for future behavioral and health problems including academic failure, substance abuse, delinquency and violence. Sunshine Club is designed to equip children with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in school, overcome adversity and stay drug free. The program uses an evidence-based, Curriculum Based Support Group (CBSG) program, "Kids' Connection," which was developed by Rainbow Days in Dallas, Texas.

The program is delivered during the regular school day as a series of interactive, small group lessons that follow the implementation guidelines of the curriculum. Participants are determined to be at-risk for behavioral health disorders and are recruited to participate based upon their school performance, overall behavior and/or membership in an at-risk group. A wide variety of biological, psychological, and social risk factors exist.

Over 100 elementary schools have utilized Recovery Resource Council programming for over 25 years and every year there is a waiting list that current staffing capacity does not allow to be met. These identified schools and their surrounding neighborhoods possess many and sometimes all of the following demographics:

  • low-income;
  • title 1;
  • high crime rates;
  • single parent households;
  • high drug use and availability;
  • low parental school involvement, and
  • reduced counselor/support faculty.

Sunshine Club intervenes early and fills behavioral health gaps by offering support to children who are encountering serious stress, social isolation, academic failure, family disruption, chaos, and drug use during their elementary years. Sunshine Club not only promotes the choices and actions that generate wellness but it also reduces the likelihood of mental illness, substance abuse, and other behavioral health disorders.

The program was awarded the NCADD 2016 Prevention & Education Meritorious Award, which was presented to Lisa Reiling, Recovery Resource Council’s Director of Prevention Services, during the 2016 Conference of Affiliates

For more information:
Recovery Resource Council
2700 Airport Freeway
Fort Worth TX 76111

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