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 2014, Fayette County 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 led by Jennifer Deichert who is a representative from Penn State Extension in Fayette County and is co-lead by Michael Rozgony from the Laurel Highlands School District and Joseph Galie from the Uniontown School District. The Fayette PROSPER Team includes representatives from the school districts, human service agencies and churches.
What the Fayette 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 every fifth and sixth grader from the Laurel Highlands and Uniontown School Districts and their parents to participate in the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14.
The Fayette PROSPER Team welcomes any financial and in-kind support from local agencies, foundations, businesses, service clubs, churches, and individuals to help them sustain the program.
The Fayette PROSPER Team is Helping Youth and Strengthening Families!
The Fayette PROSPER Team, in collaboration with community schools, offers a family-focused program. Unlike other agencies and organizations, the PROSPER Team supports the delivery of programs designed to promote skills that are relevant and meant to be beneficial to all youth and families, not just those "at risk."
The Strengthening Families Program: for Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14) is offered annually to 5th and 6th graders and their parents. This program features a concurrent parent-only and youth-only hour long segment, followed by an hour long joint family segment. Interactive sessions include role playing, discussions, learning games and family projects. The SFP: 10-14 is taught to a group of 8 to 13 families over a period of seven weeks. The Fayette PROSPER Team offers the SFP: 10-14 on a week night from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the fall and spring. Free meals and child care are provided.
This program has been carefully selected based on compelling scientific evidence that it is effective for helping youth lead successful lives. To ensure that this program is implemented as designed year after year, the PROSPER Team receives guidance from Penn State Extension and prevention researchers at Penn State's Prevention Research Center.
The Fayette PROSPER Team holds monthly meetings to work on planning, marketing, and implementing evidence-based programs.
Many of the team members also attend the annual statewide PROSPER meeting in the spring.
Team members work with the Laurel Highlands and Uniontown School Districts to offer The Strengthening Families Program: for Parents and Youth 10-14 to families within Fayette County. They are highly committed to creating resilient youth who contribute positively to their community.
A member of the Fayette PROSPER Team would be happy to visit your organization or business to talk about the important work that is being done throughout the community. If you are inclined to provide support of any kind, or would like to know how you can learn more about the Team, please contact Jennifer Deichert, at 724-438-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.