The Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects provides a variety of community and school-based prevention programs throughout the 1,000 square miles of Westmoreland County and in the surrounding area of southwestern Pennsylvania. These services consist of:
The Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects uses a unique strategy: all our programs are developmental, on-going, consistent, comprehensive, and motivational. This approach is based on research which has shown that education which promotes and reinforces positive behavior and builds resistive skills can be a significant influence in the development of a healthy lifestyle.
Established in 1978 and funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc.
The Hempfield Area School District former Bovard Elementary School in the Bovard-Greensburg area is the new home for the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects. With few modifications, the original classrooms now house offices of the program’s 21 staff members, as well as providing areas for the materials and resources used in the Prevention Projects’ services. The relocation to the school provides greater visibility county-wide for the Prevention Projects. The Prevention Projects began serving local schools and communities in 1978 and currently provides programming throughout Westmoreland County and training opportunities for the Southwest and South Central regions of PA.
The mailing address for the Prevention Projects remains 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.
The Prevention Projects creates, promotes and strengthens wellness in people and systems to prevent Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug abuse, violence and other socially destructive behaviors using education, early intervention, and community development.
The FOUNDATIONS program is a comprehensive Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) Preschool Prevention Program originally developed by Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects in conjunction with Seton Hill Day Care, Inc. The goal of this curriculum is to lay a foundation of positive life skills that will assist the youth of tomorrow to foster independence, enhance coping and relating, understand self concept, learn decision making, and begin an awareness of ATOD information.
The FOUNDATIONS curriculum encourages parents and teachers joining together in cooperative and collaborative ways to help build and strengthen resiliency and protective factors in young children. Through this connection it is hoped that young children will observe adult role models who respect life and have a better chance of growing up “drug-free”.
R.E.A.L. (Realistic Education About Life)
In-Class Presentations are the core of this prevention curriculum developed by the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects. A series of interactive, developmentally appropriate lessons has been designed for individual grade levels from Kindergarten through grade 6. Lessons include student activities, videos, and enrichment follow-up materials. The curriculum meets the Act 211 of 1990 empowerment Goals and the Educational Standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Topic areas include Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) information, self-concept, coping/relating skills, decision making, and violence prevention skills.
Evidence-Based Model Programs
Evidence-based programs are approaches that have been developed and evaluated using scientific processes. These programs are grounded in a clear theoretical foundation and have been carefully implemented and evaluated. The evaluation findings have been subjected to critical review by other researchers and the program has been replicated in a variety of settings. Examples of these programs available through the Prevention Projects include –
Botvin Life Skills Program
A 3-year ATOD Prevention Program with 8 sequential lessons/year for Grades 3-5 or Grades 4-6.
The Stop and Think Program addresses social skills and conflict resolution for pre-kindergarten through grade 8.
Addresses violence reduction and prevention for pre-kindergarten through grade five with twenty lessons/year. There is also a parent program component.
Too Good for Drugs
Addresses ATOD use and reinforces resiliency skills for kindergarten through grade 8; ten sequential lessons each year.
Tough Topics for Teens
Tough Topics for Teens presentations are designed for single classroom interactions for all students at a given grade level. Information is provided on a wide variety of topics including life skills, conflict resolution, violence reduction, drug prevention, and diversity. The Tough Topics for Teens program provides basic knowledge and skill practice to help students successfully make decisions that will allow them to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Interactive role-plays, videos, and student activities all combine to create interesting and challenging programs for students.
Evidence-Based Model Programs
The researched-based programs offered for middle/junior high and senior high schools include Project Alert (11 sessions), Project Alert Booster (3 sessions), Project Toward No Drug Abuse [TND] (12 sessions), and Too Good for Drugs and Violence (12 sessions) are evidence-based gateway drug prevention programs aimed at reducing, delaying, and preventing the use of drugs among adolescents. The programs are designed for single classrooms and are highly interactive.
All classroom presentations are evaluated by pre and post knowledge assessment tests administered by the Prevention Projects’ staff. The results are used to develop new programming, revise existing programs, and examine current issues or concerns. School administrators receive a detailed analysis of the evaluation results.
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
This research-based program is a multilevel, multi-component, school-based program designed for the reduction and prevention of bullying/victim problems in elementary, middle, and junior high schools. The program attempts to change the culture and the behavior of students through the 4 major core components: School-Wide Elements, Classroom Elements, Individual Interventions, and Community Efforts. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been recognized as an evidence-based, model program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Researched based outcomes have shown:
Workshops and in-service trainings are available to school districts throughout Western Pennsylvania and cover a variety of topics ranging from “Update on the Scope of the Drug Problem” to “Conflict Resolution Skills for Educators” and “Teachers Can Cope”. These sessions provide the opportunity for both educators and administrators to improve their knowledge and skills as well as interacting with one another.
RADAR Information Center
The RADAR Information Center is a clearinghouse and distribution center for individuals and organizations requesting Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) resources, internet safety materials, conflict resolution and other topics. Pamphlets, brochures, posters, and other materials are available for all age groups, pre-school through senior citizens. Parent and family resources are also available. Materials can be requested for special events such as Red Ribbon Week, Alcohol Awareness Day/Month, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day/Month, Great American Smoke-Out, Prom and Graduation Season, Kick Butts Day and other awareness campaigns.
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD), Violence Prevention/Conflict Resolution, Drug-Free Workplace, Skill Building, and Decision-Making workshops, in-services and community organization presentations are available for educators, human service agency personnel, parents, youth leaders, community coalitions, employees, manager/supervisors, faith-based organizations, and other community groups.
Health Fairs/Community Events
Participation at events with display materials and interactive items is provided to broaden awareness at large events on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, Internet Safety, Violence Prevention and Conflict Resolution, Child Guidance, Medication Safety, and Emotion Well-Being concerns.
B. Cool (The Penguin) Program Mascot
B. Cool is the mascot of the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects. Every child who has participated in the class presentations remembers B. Cool because he accompanies every SVCPP prevention specialist when visiting the schools. In addition “grown-up” B. Cool is available to participate in special school events and community activities.
Gateway Health Plan Case Study
The KidSuccess program offers an Intervention Specialist based in a school to provide group and individual support to students referred through the school’s Elementary Student Assistance Program (ESAP). Participation is voluntary and parental permission is required. The Intervention Specialist serves as an active member of the ESAP Team, and provides referral and follow-up with families and community programs. The specialist works in a supportive and non-duplicative manner with the school guidance program and ESAP liaison. KidSuccess has adapted the components of the research-based program Project Success to meet the needs of elementary students and schools.
Curricular Education Group Programs
Kids Can Cope, 6T’s, and 3-2-1 Countdown for grades 3-6, are available for cross sections of students in all schools. They incorporate coping skills, decision-making skills, and social skills in an 8-week curriculum format, which includes activities, videos, and discussions. Groups meet eight times and consist of six to eight members at appropriate grade levels. Group membership is voluntary and parental permission is required.
Focused Topic Skill Building and Support Groups
These groups are offered where an elementary Intervention Specialist is providing contracted intervention services. These groups are designed to enhance resiliency and interpersonal skills that will enable children to manage stressful situations by using positive, healthy techniques. Topics include anger management, diverse families, friendship, self-awareness, stress management, divorce, grief/loss, organization skills, and healthy choices. Group membership is voluntary and parental permission is required.
This program is recognized by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention as an evidence-based model program. An Intervention Specialist is based in a school to provide group and individual support to Student Assistance Program (SAP) referred students, to become an active member of the Student Assistance Team, and refer and follow-up with families and community programs. The specialist works in a supportive and non-duplicative manner with the school guidance program and SAP liaison. Participation is voluntary and parental permission is required.
TeenS Group Programs
These programs are curricular and focus group programs act as a source of support and education for students at large whose needs have not risen to the clinical intervention level. They also serve as a source for further evaluation of students whose issues are impacting success at school. Group membership is voluntary and parental permission is required. The program includes eight weekly meetings, using a rotating period schedule. Both open and closed group formats are available and consultation to SAP teams, liaisons, school personnel, parents, and students can be provided as needed. Co-facilitation by school personnel is available by prior arrangement.
Services are evaluated using pre and post assessments and outcome evaluations which are administered by the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects’ staff as applicable to each service. Results are submitted to school personnel.
This is a three-day K-12 training for elementary or secondary staff joining existing core teams in established SAP’s. The training meets all Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guidelines and standards for K-12 SAP training. Click on the Training tab in this section for upcoming training announcements.
Group Facilitators’ Training
This is the two-day training in intervention, aftercare and school-based group issues for individuals who have completed initial training or will be co-facilitating school-based support groups. This training meets all Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guidelines for SAP training. Click on the Training tab in this section for upcoming training announcements.
These are one-day informational sessions on SAP topics based on needs and current issues expressed by SAP Core Teams. They are offered three times a year, and are held on campus at Saint Vincent College. Click on the Training tab in this section for upcoming training announcements.
Half or full-day programs for teams or other faculty and staff, especially designed to meet school and individual needs.
SAP Team Maintenance
Half or full-day sessions conducted by a trained facilitator. Team maintenance is designed to assist teams to identify communication, leadership, and decision-making patterns within their team and to determine their impact on team effectiveness.
SAP consultation is available for regular team meetings, case staffing, interventions, policy review, planning, and program development.
Educational Support Team (EST) Update
The EST Update is a newsletter provided eight times a year highlighting training and professional development opportunities, awareness campaigns, resources, and timely informational topics on the issues and concerns addressed by those in the SAP field. Click on the EST Update tab in this section for the latest issue.
The Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals (PASAP) is a non-profit membership organization. PASAP’s mission is to address the influence of alcohol, other drugs and mental health issues that affect the welfare of our youth. PASAP is committed to providing support and networking in the areas of prevention, intervention, treatment, aftercare, ongoing support services and education to all individuals or organizations who foster this same commitment. For more information, visit http://www.pasap.org.
Youth Cessation Services
Three American Lung Association programs are offered free of charge to students in Westmoreland County school districts who elect to participate. Parent permission is required for all school-based services.
Student Assistance Program (SAP) Thematic Workshops
February 8, 2023
May 2, 2023
K-12 Student Assistance Program (SAP) Training
March 28, 29, & 30, 2023
May 16, 17, & 18, 2023
For more information on the above listed trainings, contact Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects at 724-805-2050.
Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects is funded by the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.