At our 2019 DePreist Award for Excellence we highlighted our Prevention Services program. Current VOA Oregon staff member and former Prevention Services participant Umu shared her story with us. To learn more, watch her interview.
We strive to foster happy and healthy communities by helping build environments that support behavioral health and equip program participants with the skills that they need to withstand challenges and make healthy decisions. Our services strengthen individuals and their families by offering culturally-informed activities and support shaped by community input, including family and youth activities, academic support, parenting education and resources, and connecting individuals to appropriate resources.
After School Programs
Prevention Services offers after school programming through two different contracts at four sites.We offer and promote academic support, pro-social learning opportunities, and community-bonding through the delivery of our services while ensuring that our activities are culturally-informed and guided by community input. Youth work with staff on homework, participate in projects that promote skill-building, and go on field trips all the while building community.
Community Pathways Network
The Community Pathways Network (CPN) is a collaboration between Project Access NOW and program community partners, such as Prevention Services within VOA Oregon. The mission of CPN is to support healthy and resilient communities across the three counties of the Portland Metropolitan Area. VOA Oregon is specifically in Multnomah County. Our navigator is connected with individuals with chronic illnesses through local hospital systems and works with the clients to identify barriers that are interfering with their health. The Community Pathways Network works to improve access to health and social services, supporting families along the way.
Youth Gambling Prevention
Our goal in Youth Gambling Prevention (YGP) is to educate the community about problem gambling and offer prevention services to youth. This includes implementing evidence-based curricula and presentations within the community as well as information dissemination.
This year we are participating in a statewide process in which we are interviewing individuals who represent various sectors and culturally specific communities about their community’s knowledge and attitudes around problem gambling and readiness to address it. While we collect data from Multnomah County, other counties are doing the same which will help the state of Oregon develop appropriate strategies based on community readiness.
Substance Abuse Prevention Services
Substance Abuse Prevention Services works to equip youth with the knowledge and skills that they need to make healthy decisions. Program staff provide workshops, evidence-based curricula, and disseminate resources around substance use to youth, parents, and the community at large.
In addition to our community work, Prevention Services is participating in a pilot program funded by Multnomah County in which our primary goal is to address risk factors that can lead to substance use within school settings. Through prevention, youth leadership, and support for schools and parents, this program empowers youth to make healthier decisions.
In our first year we conducted key informant interviews and parent focus groups and partnered with local coalitions while starting to offer prevention activities and classes. We are currently forging strong relationships with local middle and high schools while identifying schools and community programs that want prevention programming and support for youth, parents, and staff. We will be offering evidence-based curricula, positive youth activities, and stand-alone presentations while we continue to distribute information and resources throughout the community.