Project ALERT in the Bronx—A Counselor’s Story
My name is Simone Crichlow and I am the ADAPP Counselor at Saint Joseph School located in the Bronx, New York. ADAPP stands for the Archdiocese Drug Abuse Prevention Program. In my role as ADAPP Counselor, I provide individual and group counseling services as well as substance abuse prevention education to the students.
Over the six years I have been a counselor at the school, I have utilized the Project ALERT curriculum several times. This school year I worked with the two sixth grade classes at the school. Following the lesson, which asks students to identify social pressures and discuss substance marketing and advertising, I, with the support of the teachers Ms. Bonet and Ms. Cartagena, tasked the students with creating anti-cigarette smoking, marijuana smoking, and alcohol consumption ads. I encouraged the students to be creative and think out of the box. That they did!
What impressed me further was the suggestion by the students for them to present their projects to the seventh and eighth grade students. They wanted to raise the level of awareness about being alcohol and drug free for their peers, which was absolutely awesome. I was thinking to do the exact same thing. This idea came to fruition through the support of our principal, Janine Hughes.
As a result of the project presentations, I was able to do a brief question and answer session with the seventh and eighth grade students. The principal, teachers, and myself were pleased with the students’ efforts.
I encouraged the sixth grade students to take what they have learned in Project ALERT as well as from the research they conducted in order to complete their projects and educate others. Project ALERT is a fantastic program that has easy to teach, informative lessons combined with visual tools (posters and DVDS) that enhance the students’ learning experience.