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The Auburn University Sustainable Community Project (AU-SCP) is employing the PROSPER model (PROmoting School-community university Partnerships to Encourage Resiliency) to facilitate building youth internal and external assets (e.g., problem-solving and decision-making skills, school liking and engagement, and positive parent-adolescent relationships) and reducing problem behaviors (e.g., alcohol and drug use; delinquent activity) among middle school students in three PROSPER communities in Bibb, Clarke, and Lawrence counties.
In-school programs are highly structured and are facilitated by trained educators. These programs provide from eleven to twenty-one 50-minute sessions and include role playing, experiential learning, and discussion. The three communities also offered a 7-week Strengthening Families Program (SFP) during from January through March. The SFP program is held for seven consecutive weeks (2 hours per session) with a required minimum attendance of four sessions to graduate the SFP.
The PROSPER partnership is a partnership among Alabama Cooperative Extension System, local schools, community volunteers and university-based researchers. Our efforts for implementation included, 6th grade family-focused evidence-based programs in the three counties. Research of the PROSPER program estimated that for each dollar invested in the family family-focused intervention there is up to a $9.60 return. It is estimated that an investment of $300 is need per family that participates in the program.
Outcomes/Impacts (change in knowledge, actions, conditions; public value)
- Feel close to at least one teacher (n=157):
- 37.5% of youth report always feeling close to at least one teacher at school while approximately 18% report never feeling close to at least one teacher.
- Like school (n=158):
- Fewer than 13% of youth report always liking school while approximately 20% report never liking school. About 32% of youth sometimes like school.
- Parents know where I am after school (n=159):
- Most youth (62%) report that their parents know where they are after school (strongly agree with the statement). Fewer than 10% (7%) report that their parents do not know where they are after school.
- Parents know who I am with after school (n=160):
- Most youth (66%) report that their parents know who they are with after school (strongly agree with the statement). Fewer than 10% (7%) report that their parents do not know who they are with after school.
- I tell parents about things that happen at school (n=126):
- Of the 126 respondents to this question, 38% report that they tell their parents about things that happen at school (strongly agree with statement) while about 16% report that they do not tell their parents about things that happen at school (strongly disagree).
- Ever skipped school (n=128):
- The majority of youth report never having skipped school (83%); 10% of youth report having skipped school once.
- Ever had a drink (n=127):
- Most youth report never having had a drink (77%) or having had a drink one time (16%).
- Ever used drugs (n=127):
- Nearly all youth report never having used drugs (93%).
- Importance of helping others (n=120):
- Over 90% (93%) of youth report that is important (46%) or extremely important (47%) to help others.
- How well does statement describe you: When I see someone being taken advantage of, I want to help (n=109):
- More than 85% of youth report wanting to help someone who is being taken advantage of (51% very well and 34% well).