Mission: The mission of Five Town Communities That Care is to promote healthy youth development and to prevent problem adolescent behaviors such as substance abuse, suicide, violence, delinquency, school drop-out, and teen pregnancy. We also seek to foster increased collaboration and cooperation in communities in order to best serve the needs of their youth.
Results: Since we began programming in 2004, we have seen the following results (as measured on the Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey, or MYDAUS--based on the CTC Youth Survey)
Lifetime substance use:
• Cocaine: down 85%
• Marijuana: down 66%
• Hallucinogens: down 49%
• Chewing Tobacco: down 44%
• Ecstasy: down 39%
• Stimulants: down 39%
• Cigarettes: down 35%
• Alcohol: down 28%
• Inhalants: down 18%
Previous 30-day substance use:
• Cocaine: down 100%
• Cigarettes: down 92%
• Marijuana: down 83%
• Chewing Tobacco: down 66%
• Inhalants: down 62%
• Ecstasy: down 47%
• Stimulants: down 35%
• Alcohol: down 26%
• Binge Drinking (five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks): down 69%
• Pack or more of cigarettes a day: down 100%
• Taken a Handgun to School: down 100%
• Sold Illegal Drugs: down 88%
• Suspended from school: down 63%
• Drunk or High at school: down 54%
• Carried a Handgun w/0 permission: down 47%
• Stolen or Tried to Steal a Vehicle: down 37%
• Attacked Someone With Intent to Harm: down 9%
Target demographics: We focus primarily on middle school children, their parents, and those who work with them in the community's churches, schools, and businesses.
Direct beneficiaries per year: We have served more than 50% of all the area middle school students who currently live in our service area with direct service programming. We also provide training and technical assistance to schools, businesses and groups who work with area youth.
Programs: We provide some direct-service programs (STAR, Guiding Good Choices, Math and Literacy Mentors), support other organizations in the community who are implementing prevention programming (local schools delivering the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program or the Life Skills Training Program, for example), provide training and technical assistance (in suicide or inhalant abuse prevention, evaluation, or coalition development), and actively work to promote increased collaboration amongst the community's youth serving organizations.
My daughter has participated in the STAR program for two sessions so far. As a special education student, she spends her school days outside the standard academic track. Through STAR she is able to be recognized for her achievements among peers. I can't say how much this has done for her confidence. As a parent, I am thrilled to know that she is learning important life skills while having a great time.
After school in downtown Camden I see middle school kids I knew as kindergartners and in early grade school. The expressions on their faces are beginning to harden ... they look bored, alienated, almost disgusted.
Those are not the expressions I see on the kids in the afternoon programs at STAR ... they are enthusiastic, happy, interested, engaged.
What makes the difference is they have not been abandoned by the grown-ups around them. They are treated with respect yes, but still guided by grown-ups interested in sharing new skills and new experiences. So they stay oriented and part of life, not disoriented and sidelined.