The Partners in Prevention program for schools, utilizes the path of Judaism to promote self-acceptance, self-worth, spiritual values and family harmony. Our program differs from other programs in that it does not primarily emphasize drug-education, but rather the underlying "spiritual maladies" that lead youth toward unhealthy and risky behavior. It focuses on teaching spiritual tools to cope with daily stress and anxiety.
The program is a fully developed 6-unit curriculum for students ages 12-18. The Prevention staff is a multi-disciplinary team of Jewish educators, mental health professionals, and recovering addicts. Together with students take the students through interactive exercises designed to encourage honest discussion about life’s pressures and the relentless pursuit of perfection, which has become a cultural standard.
Whether a religious, Sunday school, Jewish day school, or non-Jewish school, our program allows for a flexible delivery schedule. We work with each school to tailor the program and workshops to fit particular needs and issues. Both full and partial programs produce positive impact.
The six units include:
"What’s Really Up" – Awareness Raising
This unit is designed to help students to identify difficulties in their lives (e.g., academic stress, temptations, feeling inferior, "don’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to do"). Personally identifying our struggles and difficulties is one of the first steps to dealing with our problems in healthy and mindful ways. Moreover, acknowledging life’s challenges together and showing vulnerability is how we accept that we are simultaneously imperfect and holy. Jewish values, as well as teachers, mentors, and guides, offer great wisdom and insight as to how to make our lives both meaningful and fulfilling.
Listening and relating to personal stories;
Text study on Yetzer Ha-Ra and Yetzer Ha-Tov;
A personal character assessment by identifying what comprises my Yetzer Ha-Ra and Yetzer Ha-Tov.
"Making it Work" – Resilience Workshop
Resilience is the way in which we interpret and respond to misfortune and potential misfortune, which is an inevitable part of the human experience. Here we identify the misfortunes we’ve experienced and accept the truth that we all fail or have our hearts broken in one way or another. Then we turn to the American Psychological Association factors of resiliency and relate them to the Jewish tenets and teachings that correlate with them.
Personal accounts of experiencing the "curses" or heartbreak of life and of those who have overcome them;
Study of the "10 Commandments of Resilience" and corresponding Jewish sources;
Expressive personal project utilizing the "10 Commandments of Resilience."
"Too Cool for School" – Fitting in and Bullying
The truth is that society makes a lot of demands upon all of us to live up to a certain way of being, and pop culture and the media are constantly contributing to our conception of what we’re supposed to be. Here, we acknowledge that how we personally express who we are may not necessarily be what society or some people say we should be – and that’s okay! This unit is designed to acknowledge this point and to reinforce and encourage remaining true to our authentic selves. This involves identifying the kinds of social groups we want to be a part of and being honest as to whether we are trying to merely fit in or if we genuinely belong. Fear is the primary agent that causes us to doubt ourselves which leads to negative feelings, shame, unhealthy behavior, and either bullying or becoming a victim of bullies.
Discussion of cultural messages of what a person is supposed to be like (e.g., the Barbie Doll);
Text study on Brene Brown’s definition of fitting-in vs. belonging;
Conduct a personal fear assessment; 4) Relate fear to bullying and study Jewish texts on bullying
School, academic stress, and expectations for success from teachers, families, and society can be overwhelming and unrealistic. The impact of such stress is often denied and rationalized as "the way it is" or by a promise of future happiness. Naming this stress and talking about it helps to alleviate its grip on us. Moreover, many of us cope with the stress in secret and unhealthy ways, such as sleep deprivation, cheating, and drugs and alcohol. This unit works to guide students into developing a realistic and healthy definition of success, both academically and for life. It also provides resources and activities for healthy ways to address stress and stay grounded in our personally meaningful definition of success.
Study true teenage stories of stress, which debunk the myth that "as long as you go to a big name college you’ll be happy for the rest of your life";
Identification activity of all of the ways stress effects teens;
Study wise and contemporary definitions of success, including Jewish values.
"My Body, My Life" – Drinking, Using, & Addictive Behavior
Addiction is a part of life and the human experience – it is not as uncommon as the general society portrays it to be. This unit helps students to define addiction and identify addictive behaviors including the way we eat, use alcohol, and use drugs. It also introduces concepts and terms related to addiction and recovery and acknowledges that, even though recovery is difficult, it is possible, as process of transformation and t’shuvah, through changing one’s habits and lifestyle. That process begins during the teen years by clarifying the core values that will guide us to make healthy decisions about how we approach drinking, using, and eating.
Pre and post addiction assessment;
Listen and relate to personal stories of addiction and recovery;
Study the concept of transformation and t’shuvah;
Review addiction facts and terms, including commonly abused drugs, drug laws, and roots of addiction.
"Between Me & You" – Relationship Skills
Various challenges emerge from being in relationship with others. It is important to personally identify with the relational challenges that commonly exist. Jewish values provide a wellspring of wisdom that inform and can guide us into maintaining healthy and positive relationships. Through the study of different kinds of relationships and how Jewish values can apply to keeping them healthy, this unit will help build confidence in addressing common relationship challenges.
Study and engage in relationship scenarios;
Review "The 7 Core Values that Comprise Friendship";
Study texts and discuss the Jewish conception of love.
This week, we encounter a double parsha featuring the final two sections of the book of Exodus. A s ...(read more)
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