First Lady Reaches Out
"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.
|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
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
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.gov.
« See Also—Previous Article
Back to Top