What type of youth substance abuse prevention is most effective? At Compass Mark, our mission is to find evidence-based prevention programs and put them to work in Lancaster and Lebanon. Many of our youth programs are based on social and emotional learning (SEL), a term that defines acquiring the skills that help children make healthier, more responsible decisions. Some of the competencies that make up SEL include:

  • Peer-to-peer communication skills;
  • Academic engagement;
  • Recognizing and managing emotions;
  • Controlling impulses;
  • Maintaining cooperative relationships with adults.
What are the benefits of SEL?

As you might imagine, there are practical benefits to having a child learn, for example, how to control a strong impulse to hit a classmate during an argument. However, today we’re going to highlight two long-term benefits to teaching SEL: Cost Savings for the Community The entire community pays when a child doesn’t acquire important social and emotional skills. Kids who lack them are more vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors, including substance use. A 2015 analysis from Columbia University estimated that for every $1 invested in SEL prevention strategies, the community saves $11 in costs related to substance abuse, youth delinquency, juvenile crime, and more. Workforce Readiness It might seem like a stretch to talk about workforce readiness in terms of an elementary school student, but in reality the soft skills a young child learns now will make them more employable in later adolescence and adulthood.  A child who can manage impulses, show empathy, regulate emotions, and act in an assertive–but not aggressive–way will have the foundation for becoming a productive team member in any work environment. To find out which Compass Mark substance use prevention program in Lancaster or Lebanon would be a good fit for your school or youth organization, contact us at 717-299-2831. If you’re a parent or caregiver and would like more information that will help you talk with your child about alcohol and other drugs, visit Parent Resources. Also check out Substance Use Prevention Tips: A Guide for Lancaster, PA Parents, Caregivers.     Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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