Between 2013 and 2015, the Peterborough Drug Strategy successfully implemented several community-based projects designed to address substance use among youth. Further details are available below.
Challenge, Beliefs, Change (CBC)
Challenges, Beliefs, Change connects senior high school students to grade 8 feeder school classrooms to facilitate discussions about substance use, internet safety, and making healthy choices. Most of this information is conveyed through hands-on activities that are engaging, interactive, and interesting to both the facilitators and the students. The students are accompanied by the school liaison officer and student success teacher from the high school, who are responsible for providing support to the peer leaders.
This program was started in 1985 by Parent Action on Drugs and aims to increase knowledge and awareness of personal beliefs regarding substances and substance use; build skills, confidence and resiliency for dealing with teen challenges; foster positive relationships among youth, schools, and the broader community and aid in the transition to high school. It emphasizes a non-judgmental atmosphere where youth can openly share their opinions rather than a fear-based, ‘don’t do drugs’ approach.
The program created an opportunity for grade 8 students to
- Connect with high school students who will be at their school the following year.
- Have the opportunity to meet support staff and make an early connection (student success teacher and school liaison officer).
- Ease the transition to high school.
- Learn important information in a fun and enjoyable environment.
- Make a positive connection to a Peterborough police officer.
High School Peer Leaders also had the opportunity and benefitted by
Student Success Teachers benefitted by
- Increasing their confidence in public speaking.
- Receiving substance use education.
- Exploring the opportunity to be a role model for younger students.
- Making connections with students who will be in their school the following year.
- Getting involved in their community.
- Developing strong relationships with peer leaders and students alike.
- Collaborating with other community agencies (e.g. Parent Action on Drugs, police services, Peterborough Public Health, etc.).
- Having the opportunity to visit the feeder schools and connect with future grade 9 students.
During the 2015/16 season, data was collected to evaluate the program and a report was published in Fall 2016.
Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth (SFPY)
Up to 2015, PDS implemented the Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth (SFPY) program in Peterborough. SFPY is a great program that comes from Parent Action on Drugs. The goal of the program is to improve communication between parents and teens. Topics covered included communication, praise, stress management, and other issues that impact family relationships.
Benefits for Parents
- Learn to understand where their teen is coming from.
- Improve communication.
- Find fresh approaches to old problems.
- Set the stage for positive discipline.
- Ensure a consistent approach to guiding their teen’s behaviour.
Benefits for Teens
- Learn to understand their parents’ concerns.
- Improve communication.
- Build social skills to help them make good decisions that will support their well-being and mental health.
Life Unleashed was a speakers group made up of youth who have lived experience of alcohol and drug use and/or mental health issues. After several months of training, participants had the opportunity to share their stories of adversity, challenge and change to other members of the Peterborough community.
The goal of Life Unleashed was to build public speaking skills for youth and empower them to share their experiences, while providing audiences (often younger youth) with insightful reflections