There are many challenges facing youth and their families today, and although efforts are made to help them, most have limited success. When youth begin engaging in “risky” behaviors, such as substance use, it can lead to serious problems, not only for the youth involved and their families, but also for their community and society. There is good news though. There are programs out there that have been proven to decrease risky youth behaviors, enhance positive youth development, and strengthen families. And since resources are limited, it only makes sense to use programs that we know work.
Effectively delivering these evidence-based programs year after year requires a level of human and financial resources that would be difficult for any one agency or organization to sustain. This is why, in 2012, the Galeton School District joined the Potter County PROSPER Team that is led by Cathy Straub, a representative from Penn State Cooperative Extension in Cameron County, and is co-led by Terri Shaffer, guidance counselor from Coudersport Elementary School for Coudersport and Laurel Kosa, school nurse from Galeton School District. The Potter County PROSPER Team includes representatives from Potter County Human Services, a school nurse, county commissioner, and teachers.
What the Potter County PROSPER Team does for the community
The team is relatively small compared to traditional “big-tent” coalitions so that it can focus its efforts on helping youth make good choices and become responsible citizens. Each year the PROSPER Team invites 5th & 6th grade students and their parents to participate in the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14.
The Potter County PROSPER Team Vision
"Our hope for children and families is to develop and maintain positive life skills and a strong sense of confidence that empowers them to make healthy life-long decisions as productive members of their community. PROSPER’s role is to promote a sustained support system that enables children and families to develop and thrive in a healthy and safe environment.
Because of the PROSPER Team and its supporters, these programs have been making a difference in the lives of Potter County youth and families.
“I learned what to do when I get pressured and to spend more time with the family." - Youth
"Hi - this is the best - you get free food, you get to hang out with friends and they are nice plus no homework." - Youth
“I learned to sit and talk about how my child feels when he or she is in need to talk about whatever they need. I also learned that blowing up when your child comes to you about anything is not the way to handle the situation.” - Parent
“I learned to step back, calm down and then talk to my child/children.” - Parent
“I learned to let my child know how I feel about what he does both when he is good and bad.” - Parent