Funded by The District of Columbia’s Department of Behavioral Health, the Partnership For Success (PFS) – High Needs Community Based grant has been issued to selected Community Prevention Networks across the District. In coordination with the networks’ respective prevention centers, each one utilizes its own local conditions and strategic programming to address underage substance abuse issues throughout the city’s varying communities. For the past three (3) years of this PFS grant, the Georgia Avenue Collaborative Community Prevention Network (GACCPN) has worked in connection with the Wards 3 & 4 Prevention Center to implement evidence-based and environmental strategies to Ward 4 youth, ages 12-18.
In an effort to effectively and innovatively implement all of the required components according to fidelity, while acknowledging the unique culture of D.C.’s youth, the program Motivating Visions of Prevention (MVP) program was created. The primary purpose of the MVP program is to serve as an umbrella for the selected evidence-based strategy – Hip-hop 2 Prevent Substance Abuse and HIV (H2P), as well as the newly developed environmental strategy – the “Sober Fun” Campaign.
The MVP program blends education and cultural exposure, by creatively guiding healthy decision making regarding substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Utilizing music and art as its platform, the MVP program allows young people to receive evidence-based information and to experience cultural awareness, while having fun. Participating youth experience interactive classroom sessions, weekend retreats, art studio sessions, music and art scholarships, community service hours, and more; all in an effort to increase their protective factors and guide them away from unhealthy behaviors.
With the guidance of the established Leadership Intern Team (LIT), the identified environmental strategies primarily functions to counter the low perceived risks of youth marijuana use and underage drinking. The main function of the Sober Fun Campaign is to promote the reality that young people can have fun without being under the influence of marijuana, alcohol and other unhealthy substances. The LIT members, being young adult college students and former Youth Prevention Leadership Corps participants, provide a younger and more informed perspective as strategies and efforts are developed. This valuable guidance helps to make the Sober Fun Pop-ups and other community awareness efforts such a success.