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Iowa State University Extension

Program prevents substance use; receives national award


Children do well when their families do well, and families do better when they live in supportive communities. That philosophy has garnered another award for PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience). The program has received a 2007 Family Strengthening Award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National 4-H Council. Extension at both Iowa State University and Pennsylvania State University developed PROSPER, which is designed to reduce risky behaviors in middle school youth, such as using alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana. The program already is having an impact in Iowa.

“Families and youth in seven Iowa communities participate in PROSPER,” according to JaneAnn Stout, ISU Extension to Families director and PROSPER co-investigator. “Over five years, data comparing PROSPER youth with youth in control communities show that the PROSPER youth were less likely to begin substance use during the seventh grade, had better problem-solving skills, were more likely to refuse substances and received more consistent and less harsh discipline from their parents.”

ISU Extension and the ISU Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute are studying whether communities can sustain these efforts over time. Learn more from the PROSPER Web site.

This article appeared in November 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter