OREGON — This school year is an exciting one for both Youth WORKS (Wellness, Opportunity, and Resources for Key Services) and Project LEAD (Leaders Encouraging Abstinence from Drugs) of Ogle County.
Both of these prevention programs are part of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) and are grant-funded through the Illinois Department of Human Services. Youth WORKS is designed to reduce delinquency and violence among youth in Ogle and Lee counties and recently expanded to Whiteside and Carroll Counties.
Danielle Horst, Youth WORKS prevention specialist for Ogle County, is eager for the 2019-20 school year to begin. This year, she will work with at-risk youth within the Rochelle HUB Project, Chana Education Center, Creston Middle School, and Byron schools using an evidence-based curriculum called “Too Good for Violence.” Horst and the Youth WORKS program is dedicated to working with at-risk youth to reduce adolescent dating violence, abuse, crime, and bullying by teaching youth social/emotional skills and providing information to help them make better choices, all with the goal of helping students reach their full potential.
Jackie Smith, Project LEAD’s prevention specialist for Ogle County, serves Meridian Jr. High School and David L Rahn Jr. High School. Within these two schools, Jackie is projected to reach about 500 students for the 2019-20 school year. “Too Good for Drugs” is an evidence-based curriculum that focuses on social and emotional teaching on the prevention of substance abuse. The curriculum uses fun and interactive lessons that build the self-confidence young people need to make healthy choices and achieve lifelong success.
“Too Good for Drugs” and “Too Good for Violence” promote positive, pro-social attitudes and behaviors, while fostering healthy relationships, resistance to substance abuse, and conflict and resistance to negative peer pressure and influence.
“Hidden in Plain Sight” consists of creating a mock teenager’s bedroom to display warning signs of unsafe behaviors, including substance use. New trends and ways in which youth might hide illegal substances and other high-risk behaviors are included in the display. This exhibit is for adults only, and the prevention specialists enjoy educating community members on how to enhance youth safety and promote healthy communication within their homes.
Both Youth WORKS and Project LEAD is supported by United Way agencies and the 708 Board of Ogle County.
For more information about Project LEAD, please contact Jackie Smith at 815-284-7796, Ext. 4146 or [email protected] For more information about Youth WORKS, please contact Danielle Horst at 815-284-7796, Ext. 4141 or [email protected]