The goals of Project Northland are to delay the age when young people begin drinking, reduce alcohol use among young people who have already tried drinking, and limit the number of alcohol-related problems of young people. Project Northland’s focus on the prevention of the early use of alcohol also reduces the likelihood that teens will progress to the use of illicit drugs like marijuana, since the vast majority of teenage drug users begin their experimentation with the more readily available legal drugs of alcohol and tobacco.
Project Northland has four components “Slick Tracey Home Team”, “Amazing Alternatives”, “Powerlines”, and “Class Action” for students in 6th – 9th grades. Project Northland employs grade-specific tasks, exercises, and activities in a variety of highly engaging, interactive formats–such as comic books and posters–to reach young people at an age when they are most likely to try alcohol. Because this program includes important community components, it can be effectively implemented by schools as well as by community programs.
These programs invite participation and experiential learning at home and in the classroom. Furthermore, among those students who had not begun using alcohol by the beginning of 6th grade, reports of cigarette use and marijuana use were lower in those who participated in the Project Northland prevention programs.
The less obvious, but terribly serious effects of alcohol use include a delay in normal development, increased school and family problems, and a greater likelihood of early sexual activity that can lead to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HIV/AIDS. Primary prevention attempts to combat these problems before they have a chance to develop. Project Northland utilizes educational materials and community action to achieve these goals of primary prevention.
SLICK TRACEY HOME TEAM
The SLICK TRACY HOME TEAM PROGRAM brings 6th grade students together with their families to complete fun and educational activities at home. Using activity books, this four-week program provides a forum for 6th graders and their families to discuss alcohol-related issues.
A central story presented through comic strips, activities, tips for parents, and a scorecard of participation, along with prizes awarded for participation, make this curriculum an easy and fun way for families to discuss the serious issue of alcohol. Along with the home-based program is the SLICK TRACY POSTER FAIR, during which 6th grade students present their own alcohol-related research projects to their parents and the community.
The AMAZING ALTERNATIVES! curriculum for 7th grade students consists of eight 45-minute classroom sessions of peer-led experiential activities including audio tapes made by kids their age, group discussions, class games, problem solving, and role plays. These activities are designed to teach students skills to identify and resist influences to use alcohol, to change the acceptability of alcohol use, and to encourage alcohol-free alternatives. The primary goal of the program is to delay the onset of alcohol use among 7th graders.
POWERLINES, an eight-session, four-week interactive program for 8th grade students, is designed to reinforce the messages and behaviors learned in 6th and 7th grade Project Northland curricula. POWERLINES introduces 8th graders to professional and political groups within communities that influence adolescents’ alcohol use. Through work on small group projects, students learn about these groups and the influences they have within their own communities. Student projects also give 8th graders opportunities to become positive influences within their communities, schools, peer groups, and with younger students.
This high-school component of Project Northland looks at the real-world social and legal consequences of underage alcohol use. Based on the social influences theory of behavior change, the goal of Class Action is to change the social norms around alcohol use and to change negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure. In eight to ten weekly sessions, teens are divided into six legal teams to prepare and present hypothetical civil cases in which someone has been harmed as a result of underage drinking. The six cases are Drinking and Driving on Trial, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on Trial, Drinking and Violence on Trial, Date Rape on Trial, Drinking and Vandalism on Trial, and School Alcohol Policies on Trial.
Persons interested in having Project Northland implemented in your school or organization should contact Pam Rush, Director of Prevention Services, at 541-1245 Ext. 246.