CASAC Presents SPORT Program to Jefferson Students

“Statistics show that most young people don’t drink. If you are in a situation where you know that there are alcohol or drugs and you are getting peer pressure to try it, what do you do?” asked Melanie Witkowski, a Prevention Specialist from CASAC (Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council).

“I’ll tell them I have plans and I have to go somewhere else,” said one student.

“What else could you do? What if it’s your best friend who is asking you? Maybe suggest an alternative idea like playing a video game or watch a movie. You are not only helping yourself in that situation, but also your best friend.”

Ms. Witkowski was talking to seventh and eighth grade Jefferson students in an evidence-based health program called SPORT a brief, multiple behavior program integrating substance abuse prevention and fitness promotion to help adolescents minimize and avoid substance use while increasing physical activity and other health-promoting habits. The intervention promotes the benefits of an active lifestyle with positive images of youth as active and fit, and emphasizes that substance use is counterproductive in achieving positive image and behavior goals. This program has been in several recent studies and has shown to increase protective factors such as (self- control), reduce the initiation of alcohol use, reduce alcohol problems, and increase moderate physical activity.

“The middle school years are a very vulnerable time for our kids. This is when they want to go and do things on their own. It’s no longer cool to walk the mall with mom and dad. As they spend more recreational time away from parents, the possible exposure to negative influences may increase,” said Thom Wright, Jefferson School Counselor. “This program gives students some ideas on how to get themselves out of a sticky situation or to never get drawn into one.”

Every student had an opportunity to complete a goal plan to work on the four healthy habits discussed during the presentation:  Increase exercise (4 to 5) times a week for 30 minutes, sleep seven to eight hours a night, eating healthy balanced meals (limit sugar), and avoid alcohol and other drugs.

posted on 12/24/2014 - filed under: Community, Middle School, Spotlight, Students, teachers