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 2002, Jim Thorpe formed a team of volunteers representing a number of local youth-serving entities to take on this task. This group of individuals, known as the PROSPER Team, is lead by Mindy Graver, a representative from Carbon County Extension and is co-lead by Holly Mordaunt from LB Morris Elementary School. After a second elementary school was built in the district, the Jim Thorpe PROSPER Team rebuilt itself in 2006 to include members from the new elementary school and other social service agencies that work with youth and families. The team now includes representatives from the Jim Thorpe Area School District, the Carbon County Assistance Office, Carbon-Monroe-Pike MH/MR, the Carbon County Right from the Start Program, Blue Mountain Health, and the Carbon County Drug and Alcohol Commission.
What the Jim Thorpe 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 and 6th grade students and their parents to participate in the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14. The PROSPER Team also works very closely with area schools to provide Project ALERT to 7th graders and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) to 4th graders.
Because of the PROSPER Team and its supporters, these programs have been making a difference in the lives of Jim Thorpe youth and families for over 8 years.
"This program opened my eyes to how my daughter and I functioned as a unit before and after the program. I have learned so many valuable things and discovered that my daughter is a very unique and cool individual. Thank you for offering this program!"—2010 Parent Participant