Children growing up in Cincinnati and throughout the country are being introduced to drugs, tobacco, and alcohol at an increasingly younger age. Activities Beyond the Classroom is working to help counter this epidemic by giving students the tools they need to steer clear of drugs through the Steer Clear Program.
Through our partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, we are teaching children in grades 4 through 8 about the risks associated with drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in a safe, fun, and interactive environment. Our goal is to educate and empower youngsters on ways to avoid the dangers associated with these harmful substances. The information they acquire through the Steer Clear program can help them resist peer pressure and make healthy choices that lead to a drug-free life.
Through the Steer Clear program, participating students attend five 45-60 minute sessions. Each session covers a broad range of topics, from how drugs effect our bodies to techniques that help young people get out of sticky situations that arise from peer pressure. ABC works with CPS schools and teachers to coordinate sessions. In addition, sessions are offered to students who are involved in various ABC sponsored activities including the ABC Clubs, and events such as the ABC Tennis and Soccer Invitational.
Teachers and students who have participated in the Steer Clear program have enjoyed both the relevance and truthfulness of the Steer Clear curriculum. One teacher commented, “This class was so relevant to the students’ lives, with music and culture they can really relate to! I wouldn’t change anything.” A student added, “I liked that me and my classmates were able to ask questions, and our questions were answered truthfully.”
One great story came from the 6th grade teacher at Cheviot. She said:
What a fantastic program! The students were on the edge of their seats during each class. The class was not only informational but also very interactive and the students had the opportunity to practice the skills they learned as well when one of our students brought marijuana to school with them.
When I walked into the classroom, all the students were huddled
around and I overheard them saying, “Marijuana is a GATEWAY drug! Don’t do it because Ms. Meredith said it can lead to other stronger and harder drugs AND it’s illegal!” When I approached the students I saw the marijuana. The student was suspended but we learned that she took it from her mother—she didn’t want her mother to smoke it because of the health concerns and the consequences she learned about in Drug and Alcohol Prevention class with Ms. Meredith.
When the student returned to class, we were worried that this incident would follow the student and give her a poor reputation. One of the skills the students learned from Ms. Meredith was NOT to judge others for making mistakes but rally around them and encourage them with facts, knowledge, empathy and support to not repeat the mistake.
Sure enough, when the student returned, I walked into homeroom and saw the students gathered around again. I listened and overheard the students saying, “Welcome back! We got your back. You should just move forward because we are all family!”*Please note: Student names are omitted to maintain anonymity
This compelling story exemplifies how the Steer Clear program changes the lives of students by empowering them to make the right choices.
ABC encourages parents and caregivers to talk with the children in their lives about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. If you’d like to learn more about age-appropriate ways to talk to kids about drug prevention please visit Partnership for Drug Free Kids.
ABC is constantly expanding the number of CPS schools in which Steer Clear is offered. If you would like to help us reach even more students with programming such as this, please consider making a donation towards the Steer Clear program.