Salisbury Middle School- Where strong families become even stronger!
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, Salisbury 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 Denise Continenza who is a representative from Lehigh County Extension and is co-lead by school counselor, Michael Dorward from Salisbury Middle School. The Salisbury PROSPER Team includes representatives from the Salisbury Township School District, Lehigh County Office for Children and Youth,Valley Youth House, Inc. as well as community members, parents and youth.
What the Salisbury PROSPER Team does for the community
PROSPER provides a framework, a support network, for bringing high-quality, proven-to-work, universal prevention education to the community. "Universal" means that ALL families can benefit from the programs. PROSPER programs are preventive, not treatment or intervention.
Each fall at 6th grade orientation, the PROSPER Team invites 6th grade students and their parents to participate in the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP: 10-14). The PROSPER Team also works very closely with Salisbury Middle School and Valley Youth House, Inc. to provide All Stars as the in-school program for 7th graders.
Salisbury Township is a unique school district because east and west elementary schools converge at the middle school level. Not only does SFP: 10-14 help youth and their parents, but it is also an excellent strategy to help families from all corners of the district get to know each other and make new connections.
Because of the PROSPER Team and its supporters, these programs have been making a difference in the lives of Salisbury youth and families for over 10 years.
“I learned that no matter how big my problem is I can talk to my mom about it and get her advice.”
—Youth SFP Participant
“I learned to take time to cool down, use an ‘I’ statement, remember the young person’s age, give compliments, and have one-on-one time.”
— Parent SFP Participant