Monessen City School District
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 2009, the Monessen City School District joined Penn State Extension to form 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 led by Patty Graff, a representative from Penn State Cooperative Extension in Westmoreland County, and is co-led by Sherry Black, Principal of Monessen Middle School. The Monessen PROSPER Team includes representatives from Monessen Communities That Care, Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects, Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, Family Services of Western PA, Monessen Family Center, The Family Center, Private Industry Council and Monessen High School.
What the Monessen 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 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 an in-school prevention program, Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence.
The Monessen PROSPER Team believes that strong families create strong communities through positive parent, child, and community relationships. More information about PROSPER and the Monessen PROSPER Team was reported in a local newspaper article.
Because of the PROSPER Team and its supporters, these programs have been making a difference in the lives of Monessen youth and families for over a year.
“We learned to come together and listen to each other’s point of view.” — Youth Participant
“I learned how to deal with peer pressure and how to reach my goals.” — Youth Participant
“I learned that becoming a better family takes time and effort on every person’s part; as a whole and as a team.” — Parent Participant