RED WAGON AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The City of Dearborn, Dearborn Public School System, and Resources are teaming up to create an after school program for middle school students. The goal of the program is to help bridge the gap between school and home by creating a safe place with structure and comfort between the hours of 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.. A place for young adolescents to grow and learn. Our program recognizes the constant development of young adolescents and therefore, promotes their cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth. Our commitment is to prepare our participants to forge new ground in their families, in their schools and in their communities. Many of our students will be first generation college students. Some will precede their parents in obtaining a high school degree. We believe each student should be the maker of his or her own future and we want that future to be one of hope, hard work, and fulfilled dreams. To reach these goals, the Red Wagon Program has identified four highly integrated program components:
1. Parenting Skills - This component emphasizes the need for parents to take a more active role in their childrenís lives, including talking to them about drugs, monitoring their activities, getting to know their friends, and understanding their problems and personal concerns.
2. Life Skills - This component is designed to foster development in the areas of self-esteem, problem solving, stress management, and team building.
3. Academic Support: One-on-one tutoring focusing on specific educational needs. In addition to traditional tutoring the program will utilize gifted students as "cadet teachers" to assist program participants.
4. Awareness Programs: Activities and guest speakers addressing the issues of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco along with violence prevention classes dealing with anger management and conflict resolution skills.
2. When was the program created and why?
Drug use and violence among Dearborn youth is on the rise, and statistics show that children are experimenting with drugs at an increasing rate. A recent Western Michigan University survey of eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders at all Dearborn public and non-public schools shows a continual increase in drug use as students progress into high school. The findings
indicate that Dearborn students are above the national average in ten out of sixteen specific drug use categories including marijuana and inhalants.
Based on a needs assessment, Program Administrators determined that our communityís primary need focused on providing safe, structured, supervised activities in the after-school hours for students who are at risk of substance abuse and negative social behaviors due to a lack of adult supervision. A consortium of youth-serving agencies coordinated by the City of Dearborn proposed to create a "Red Wagon After School Program" to provide a range of direct prevention services for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. The program consists of structured after-school activities two afternoons per week, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. for ten weeks. The Red Wagon Program is offered twice a week in conjunction with other student programs currently offered by the City of Dearborn and the Dearborn Public School System. The initial pilot program will serve a group of approximately 45 youth participants during the 1998 fall semester.
The program will consist of four, 45-minute segments each afternoon. Each segment has been specifically designed to support and develop the four program components outlined above. The following descriptions are an example of the type of courses Red Wagon students will participate in:
The Fourth R- Relationships© Successful relationships involve understanding self and others, accepting differences, managing anger, practicing healthy conflict resolution, and performing to oneís optimum ability.
Victory Over Violence© Provides a multifaceted approach to help students become aware of the sources of their aggression, develop skills to deal with their feelings more effectively.
Sexual Harassment and Teens-A Program for Positive Change© This workshop deals with the sexual harassment teenagers may experience. Sexual harassment gets worse when it is ignored.
Swimming with the Sharks© How to avoid being lured into a gang. Participants will discuss self-defeating behaviors, how their individual behaviors may contribute to violence and drug abuse.
Labeling...A Rose by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet© This program teaches basic skills on how to get along with other human beings. Six labels will be identified, along with ways of dealing with name calling.
Youth Advertising Awareness = Ad Smarts© Ad Smart is a multi-media curriculum. It is aimed to develop action skills in young people; to help them expose, alter and counteract the messages of alcohol and tobacco advertising.
Tobacco Road: A Dead End© This program uses a combination of lectures, videos, and cooperative learning activities to give young people the knowledge, motivation, and action steps to make good decisions about tobacco use.
R.S.V.P.© Responsible Social Values ProgramThis program is aimed at skill building by teaching youth how to communicate, resist peer pressure from others, manage conflict and stress, and set short-term and long-term goals. It also focuses on fundamental information concerning alcohol and drug use.
Whatís Wrong with Marijuana?© Itís hip, itís cool, itís organic. Itís everywhere. It wonít hurt you. Sound familiar? These are just a few of the common misconceptions that surround marijuana. This program effectively dispels the myths that marijuana is a drug with little or no serious side effects.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
Having safe and drug-free schools is one of Dearbornís highest priorities. To ensure that participants are receiving the best prevention programming possible, program administrators have developed three fundamental principles of effectiveness. First, base the program on a thorough assessment of objective data about the drug and violence problems in our schools and community. Second, design and implement activities to meet measurable goals and objectives based on research that provides evidence that the strategies used prevent or reduce drug use, violence, or disruptive behavior among youth. Third, evaluate the program periodically to assess progress toward achieving the goals and objectives, and use the evaluation results to refine, improve, and strengthen the program.
Process Goals and Objectives:
1. By October 1, 1998 the Red Wagon Program shall implement the program as described in this profile, and shall enroll a minimum of 45 "targeted youth" for the first session.
2. By December 18, 1998, at least 75% of the participating youth registered for this Direct Prevention Services Program shall successfully complete the program. Successful completion shall be defined as attending at least 80% of the scheduled program sessions, and completion of all surveys and follow-up documentation for the program.
Outcome Goals and Objectives:
1. By the completion of the program, at least 75% of participating youth will "pass" the standardized quiz included in the "Keep the Peace" educational package used by this program.
2. In the four month period following completion of this program, the number of reports of alcohol use at Dearborn Middle School social events shall not exceed 15%.
3. At the conclusion of this Direct Prevention Services Program, the prevalence of reported inhalant use in the previous month by participating youth shall not exceed 5%.
4. At the conclusion of this Direct Prevention Services Program, the prevalence of reported marijuana use in the previous month by participating youth shall not exceed 5%.
4. How is the program financed?
The Red Wagon Program receives primary funding through: the Office of Drug Control Policy; the Safe and Drug Free Schools & Communities Act of 1994, and the Governorís Discretionary Fund. In addition to the primary funding source, both the City of Dearborn and the Dearborn Public School System have committed a number of resources to make this program possible.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
City government, the public school district, private sector organizations and concerned citizens of Dearborn have joined together to create a true community coalition. The people of Dearborn understand that todayís students are tomorrowís leaders. The Red Wagon Program is about helping our young people develop to their fullest potential. In addition to the Red Wagon Program, the City of Dearborn along with its community partners remain hard at work addressing the needs of all youth in our community by providing programs such as:
Dearborn is where strong families and community values provide a great place to grow up and a great place to live. Through programs such as Red Wagon, Dearborn continues its proud tradition of municipal leadership through its ongoing commitment to its community.
6. Contact person:
Len Bochene, Office of the Mayor, 13615 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan 48126
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.