A recent study that surveyed over 10,000 teens, found most used alcohol and drugs before adulthood. This could become a possibility of setting up youth for a lifetime of substance abuse. The study results indicated that by late adolescence, 78 percent of teenagers reported having consumed alcohol; 47 percent having reached regular drinking levels of at least 12 drinks within a year; and 15 percent having met the criteria for lifetime abuse. The opportunity to use illicit drugs was reported by 81 percent of the oldest adolescents, drug use by 43 percent and drug abuse by 16 percent. ICAN’s youth programs are targeted at preventing youth substance abuse with early education and positive decision making skills. Our life skills programs like Botvin’s Life Skills (A comprehensive program that addresses all of the most important factors leading adolescents to use drugs by teaching a combination of health information, general life skills and drug resistance skills), Second Step Program (This program is a long-term intervention that builds skills consecutively with the intention of preventing alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use and promoting healthy decision-making and positive, healthy youth development), and Too Good For Drugs (This program includes activities to strengthen knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills which research has shown to be effective in preventing drug use and violent behavior) make a proven difference in youth attitudes toward substance abuse. We invite people to see our programs in action by getting involved through a variety of ways beyond financial support. We have our needs and in-kind support is a way to provide items we are directly in need of. There are also many volunteer opportunities whether you are looking to work with ICAN youth, assisting in an administrative capacity, supporting our special events, or many more opportunities to get involved! There are also many opportunities to make a difference through our partnership with the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse (CCYSA). This study shows the immediate need for ICAN programs and you can show your support by joining us in creating a positive future for youth and the community!
ICAN has been promoting healthy lifestyles to local youth for over 20 years. Our programs incorporate physical activity, healthy living, and free healthy snacks and lunches. We also provide programs that help youth make wise choices about substance abuse and gang involvement. Over the past few years, we have been preparing to move into a new facility three times our current size, which will increase the ability to provide these healthy lifestyles programs. Our upcoming new facility, currently being constructed at Folley Park in Chandler, will provide a large, grassy outdoor area to expand physical activity opportunities. “Our current location doesn’t provide the necessary space for our youth to participate in activities like soccer or touch football,” ICAN Chief Executive Officer Becky Jackson explained, “but with the opportunity for increased space, we can bring healthy lifestyle education and physical activity in a larger capacity to more youth.” Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West), Phoenix Suns Charities, and 360 Physical Therapy are examples of local businesses who have stepped to the plate to ensure these programs are provided to local youth. Dignity Health recently contributed $25,000 toward supporting ICAN’s healthy lifestyles program. Phoenix Suns Charities recently awarded ICAN the annual Playmaker Award of $100,000 toward construction of the new facility and secured the naming rights to the new basketball court. 360 Physical Therapy continuously contributes to ICAN’s healthy lifestyles program and participates annually in the Festival of Trees event. If you are interested in learning how you can get involved with ICAN’s healthy lifestyles program through volunteering or a financial contribution, contact email@example.com or 480.821.4207.
While our programs are available for ages 5 to 18, ICAN has a program that focuses specifically on teens. Teens are at a turning point in their lives where their decisions can determine their future path. With 9 rival gangs in the downtown Chandler area and substance abuse on the rise, Chandler teens are exposed to pressures in the community and how they handle them can make a big difference. The ICAN Peer Leadership program engages teens through mentoring, community service, leadership, and positive role modeling. The Peer Leadership program provides a support system to assist in making positive choices when it comes to life decisions. There are opportunities for teens to give back to their community, exampled by a drive they held for the homeless in Chandler to help them get through the holidays safe with necessities such as blankets. Academic success is an important part of moving into the future, and ICAN provides homework help including weekly math tutoring with engineers from General Dynamics who volunteer their time. ICAN provides opportunities to develop the necessary job skills, leadership skills, and teamwork abilities to become independent, productive and self sufficient members of our community as a Youth Trainee. ICAN Peer Leader Nykia, age 17, has been part of the program for over a year now, “ICAN is a great place where you meet beautiful and inspirational people. ICAN is not just an after school program, and not like most. It’s a place where you learn to build on yourself. While learning about yourself you are creating friendships that break, bend, and test, but last a life time.” Nykia lives in a single family home with 3 siblings where her mother is working full time to support the family. Nykia has taken on the role of supporting the household through taking charge of housework, cooking, cleaning, and mentoring her 2 younger siblings, including helping them with homework. ICAN is her place to get support for her own academic and leadership development. “ICAN staff and volunteers have taken me in as one of their own. ICAN is like a home away from home. They have changed my point of view on life. Before coming to ICAN I didn’t care what people thought or their feelings. Until one day I was encouraged to self-reflect and that’s when I started being the best that I can be. Without ICAN I wouldn’t have a safe place to go to after school, but most importantly I wouldn’t have found positive role models and friends. At ICAN everyone is accepted as an individual and treated with respect. Walking inside of ICAN you feel the warm embrace of the staff and the members. Not only have they helped mold me, but they have helped me mold my community too.” To join ICAN’s Peer Leadership program, download the membership form and bring in to our location at 201 S. Washington St, Chandler. If you would like to learn more about ICAN’s Peer Leadership program, contact Teen Programs Manager, Venus, at 480.821.4207 […]
This month’s guest blog post is from ICAN’s Youth Program Manager, Heidi Harlow. She gives a brief overview of the Culture of Poverty and how it’s used for ICAN youth programs… Part of the training that all ICAN staff receive is on the “Culture of Poverty”. This theory, made popular by the book A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, suggests that the different socioeconomic classes operate under a specific set of hidden, or unspoken rules, that are essential for survival in that class. ICAN incorporates many of the beliefs into policy and practice in the following ways… Students need to be taught the hidden rules of middle class – not in denigration of their own but rather as another set of rules that can be used if they so choose. Many of the attitudes that students and parents bring with them are an integral part of their culture and belief systems. Middle class solutions should not necessarily be imposed when other, more workable, solutions might be found. Support systems need to include the teaching of procedural self-talk, positive self-talk, planning, goal-setting, coping strategies, appropriate relationships, options during problem solving, access to information and know-how, and connections to additional resources. Students from poverty need to have at least two sets of behaviors from which to choose – one for the street and one for the school and work settings. The purpose of discipline should be to promote successful behaviors. Teaching students to use the adult voice (i.e., the language of negotiation) is important for success in and out of school and can become an alternative to physical aggression. Structure and choice need to be part of the discipline approach. Discipline should be seen and used as a form of instruction. Taken from http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Framework_for_Understanding_Poverty%2C_A