There are many prevention programs that aim to reduce youth problem behaviors, enhance parenting, and strengthen families. Prevention scientists are discovering that results often fall far short of expectations. For some programs, it's because they were not tested. For others, it's ineffective implementation. For still others, it's the lack of continued financial and community support for long-term sustainability, even when the program is producing positive results.
The PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) Delivery System has been designed to address these common issues by supporting the sustained, quality delivery of scientifically-proven programs for middle-school youth and their families.
Penn State Extension is at the core of the PROSPER Partnership in Pennsylvania. County Extension representatives serve as the leaders of PROSPER community teams, and state Extension specialists serve as the technical assistance providers that link community teams with Extension faculty and Penn State scientists. These scientists, housed at Penn State's Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, provide the Extension system with expertise related to sustaining the high quality delivery of evidence-based prevention programs and evaluating their effectiveness. Additionally, the PROSPER Partnership includes local school districts, which play a key role by providing a co-leader for the community team and assisting with recruitment and implementing an in-school evidence-based prevention program.
Each of these partners plays an invaluable role, and with the unique three-tiered structure of the model, the PROSPER Partnership ensures that programs are offered with high quality year after year, benefiting youth, families, schools, and communities across Pennsylvania.