MONTREAL, MARCH 19, 2012 – In the first full year of the Kids Can! Drug Awareness Program, workshops were delivered to nine English Montreal School Board elementary schools in which over 300 grade 6 students were in attendance.
The media is invited to Merton School (5554 Robinson) in Cote St. Luc on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. for a special drug awareness workshop.
Kids Can! is a prevention and education program that equips parents, teachers and children with the knowledge, awareness and skills they need to engage in healthy behaviour, and to make informed choices with respect to drug use.
Participating in the first year of the program was Dalkeith Elementary School in Anjou, General Vanier Elementary School in St. Leonard, Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North, Bancroft Elementary in the Plateau, Carlyle Elementary School in Town of Mount Royal, Cedarcrest Elementary School in St. Laurent, Edinburgh and Elizabeth Ballantyne in Montreal West and Hampstead Elementary School
By April, The Kids Can! program will be rolled out in six additional schools: Our Lady of Pompei Elementary School in Montreal North, St. Raphael Elementary School in Ahuntsic, Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in Town of Mount Royal, FACE located downtown, Merton Elementary School in Cote St. Luc and Roslyn Elementary School in Westmount.
In this six-session program, students are provided with facts concerning drug use, and learn strategies to help them withstand peer pressures in making healthy decisions. In addition, parents and teachers are provided with information and resources to help them support and reinforce what the students are learning. The program is designed not only to be effective and educational, but also to be fun and engaging. Parents, in addition to receiving a paper copy of the Parent Manual, now have access to an electronic version which has been uploaded on the Ometz website, one of the Program’s partners.
Kids Can! is the result of a partnership between Agence Ometz, Concordia University, and the EMSB Student Services. The program is funded with the support of Health Canada.
Lew Lewis, EMSB Director of Student Services, Dora Cesta, Assistant Director, Irene Miller, Spiritual, Religious and Moral Education Consultant work directly with Rosa Caporicci, Project Coordinator and Barbara Victor, Clinical Director at Agence Ometz, Varda Mann-Federer from Concordia University, and Amita Dixit from the John Molson School of Business.
The program evaluation assesses the goals and outcomes of the curriculum, and is carried out by the M.B.A. Program at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. Focus groups of parents also take place at the completion of the program to provide organizers with a parental perspective and valuable feedback on the curriculum. Grade 6 students from each of the schools are divided into smaller groups, which are facilitated by students enrolled in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University.
The Kids Can! program was piloted in six schools during the 2010-2011 school year, with 15 schools slated for the 2011-2012 school year, and another 17 schools rounding out the 2012-2013 school year which will represent the final year of this three-year project.
The program is of benefit to staff, parents and especially students who are provided with strategies to help resist peer pressures, engage in healthy choices and behaviours, and to seek out appropriate resources as needed.