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SAMHSA News - July/August 2006, Volume 14, Number 4

First Lady Reaches Out to Youth

"Schools are at the heart of helping America's youth," said First Lady Laura Bush on a recent visit to a classroom of second graders in Albuquerque, NM. SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W., joined her there to highlight the First Lady's Helping America's Youth Initiative.

photo of First Lady Laura Bush with students in Albuquerque, NM, classroom
First Lady Laura Bush (first row, second from right) visited a classroom in Albuquerque, NM, which is incorporating into its curriculum a program to help children avoid risky behaviors like alcohol use. SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie joined the First Lady and students to talk about a SAMHSA model program.
Photo by Mark Weber

To help children avoid risky behaviors like alcohol use, this elementary school is incorporating into its curriculum a SAMHSA Model program, started by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This prevention curriculum, Protecting You/Protecting Me, is taught in more than 30 Albuquerque public elementary schools with nearly 400 teachers trained to use the program. A Spanish-language version of the curriculum is also available.

Protecting You/Protecting Me, created for grades 1 to 5, is a science-based program that shows students how alcohol affects the developing brain. The program also emphasizes safety skills.

Research shows that the risk for alcohol and drug use dramatically increases in the 6th grade, so it's important to reach children with meaningful, age-appropriate messages before they reach that decision point in life.

Mr. Curie also joined the First Lady and others in a roundtable discussion with 5th grade students on underage drinking.

The Community Guide to Helping America's Youth, part of the First Lady's Initiative, was introduced by Mr. Curie last year at the Helping America's Youth Conference (see SAMHSA News, November/December 2005). The guide helps communities assess their unique local needs and find programs and resources to meet them. Developed by several Federal agencies, the guide is available online.

This summer, regional conferences will convene to raise public awareness and give local leaders intensive, hands-on training with the Community Guide to Helping America's Youth.

This initiative emphasizes the importance of motivating caring adults to connect with youth in three key areas: family, school, and community. And forming "community coalitions" is an important step in reaching children who need help. Community coalitions bring together everyone in a community—teachers, mentors, pastors, parents, police officers, substance abuse experts, social service providers, and business leaders.

"Children want us in their lives, and children need us in their lives," said Mrs. Bush. "And as I've learned from the remarkable men and women I've met across our country, each of us has the power to bring hope and opportunity to children."

For more information on the First Lady's Helping America's Youth Initiative and the community guide, visit www.helpingamericasyouth.gov. For more information on SAMHSA's programs on children and families, visit the SAMHSA Web site at www.samhsa.govEnd of Article

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Inside This Issue

Preparedness Planning

Hurricane Recovery Guides Preparedness Planning
Part 1
Part 2

Post-Disaster Response: Learning from Research
Part 1
Part 2

Schools Offer Stability for Children of Disasters

Documentary Features New Orleans High School

Disaster Readiness Resources

Administrator Curie To Leave SAMHSA

From the Administrator: Reflections, Future Directions

SAMHSA Expands Matrix

Methamphetamine Jeopardizes Children's Welfare

Afghanistan, Iraq: SAMHSA Supports Mental Health Efforts

First Lady Reaches Out to Youth

Treatment Protocol Focuses on Detoxification

Curriculum on Restraint Reduction Available

Treatment Directory Updated

Drug Abuse Linked to 1.3 Million ER Visits

Spanish-Language Fotonovela

September Is Recovery Month!

Screening for Mental Illness in Nursing Homes

SAMHSA News Information

SAMHSA News - July/August 2006, Volume 14, Number 4