Phoenix Houses of Texas reached out to a local middle school to equip students with the skills to stay free from drugs and alcohol. For five years in a row, Phoenix House prevention staff have visited Bedichek Middle School in Austin, Texas, to talk with students about fostering self-esteem, building character and finding the courage to say no to drugs and alcohol.
During the month of May, eight prevention specialists from Phoenix House taught classes to 935 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. With the support of the Parent Support Specialist Frutoso Robledo and Principal Dan Diehl, the specialists took some class time to help equip students with the skills to say no. Using the Life Skills Curriculum, the staff gave a presentation, engaged the students with interactive activities, and talked with the kids about the media influences they’re facing.
Cathy Runnels, prevention specialist with Phoenix House, says she can tell the students enjoy it: “They say it’s inspired them to look at things differently, and they really feel like people understand them and what they’re going through. I think we’re a different face that they need to see. It’s another avenue for the teachers to help dialogue with the kids and have some sense of communication. Everybody benefits.”
The prevention staff also conducted 12 presentations on tobacco use for over 350 students in the month of May. During National Prevention Week (May 12-18), Phoenix House set up a table at Bedichek Middle School where over 50 students, administrators and parents picked up information on bullying, suicide prevention, and the dangers of drugs.
But the education doesn’t end with National Prevention Week. Staff also connected students with resources like NIDA for Teens, a site where teens can learn more about drug abuse, alcohol abuse and how to stay strong against peer pressure.