Youth face a lot of challenges anywhere, but ICAN was founded by Henry Salinas to specifically address issues youth encounter in the Downtown Chandler and surrounding communities. One of those issues is substance abuse, the pressures and influences from friends, gangs, and sometimes even family.
ICAN’s youth programs are proven effective at preventing substance abuse, gang activity and other delinquency in youth through the development of life skills like “decision-making.” Decision-making influences a child’s cognitive activities such as academic performance, logical and analytic thinking, problem-solving, planning, and goal-setting skills. Decision making is critical to the prevention of substance abuse because it allows for greater understanding of cause and effect. If a youth is able to accurately assess the impact of their actions, both in the present and future, they will be more likely to take positive action that betters that future.
Is there really such a large problem in an area that typically might not seem troubled to an outsider? Underage substance use continues to be a community issue for downtown Chandler area, as evidenced by the following provided through ICAN’s Annual Community Needs Assessment:
- 4th riskiest Maricopa County community for youth (Arizona Department of Behavioral Health Services 2009 Needs Assessment)
- Of 10 youth who live in the downtown Chandler area, you can expect to find: (ICAN Community Needs Assessment 2011)
- 7 living in extreme poverty, in household earning less than $25k per year for a family of four
- 8 will be using drugs or alcohol to cope with the harsh realities of the streets
- 4 will not graduate high school
- 2 will be gang affiliated by the age of 12
Secondary data gathered through the Arizona Youth Survey 2008 showed that:
- 62.4% of youth in 85225 zip code report using alcohol during their lifetime
- 31.1% report using marijuana during their lifetime
- 11% reporting driving a car while under the influence
- 40.8% of youth in target area report having friends who use drugs
ICAN is fighting these statistics through providing free programs that are proven to prevent youth substance abuse. ICAN programs like Too Good for Drugs and Botvin’s Life Skills strengthen drug resistance skills through knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills drug resistance skills.