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PROSPER - PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience

Purpose/Objectives:

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.

Research:

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).


Funded by:

Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

United States Department of Agriculture