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Program Spotlight: Partnering for Prevention in Southern Oregon

quoteYoung people in Oregon’s Klamath Basin have brighter futures, thanks to Lutheran Community Services. "Project Changes" is a unique LCS program focused on prevention, intervention and treatment of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among middle school/junior high and high school students. Project Changes is a partnership between Lutheran Community Services Northwest, the Klamath Falls City and Klamath County School Districts, and several community agencies.

The Project places an ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) Specialist in all Klamath Falls and Klamath County schools, 6th through 12th grades. The Specialist’s role is to provide substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment resources for students, working in partnership with school staff. Alcohol and drug assessment, referral and treatment services are provided to students on-site at the schools.

photoAnother key component of Project Changes is Leadership and Resiliency Training for 9th – 12th graders. This training focuses on the goals of reducing school absences and disciplinary situations, improving grades, and reducing or eliminating substance abuse. Presented in small group settings, the training helps young people form healthy relationships, and develop goal setting and coping skills. The three main components of the program are in-school resiliency groups, community service and adventure activities. “The guiding tenet of the program is that youth who are taught to be successful as adolescents have a greater chance of success as adults,” notes project coordinator Therese MacFarlane.

A Life Skills Program for 6th - 8th graders focuses on communication skills, decision-making, stress management, self esteem, behavior management and problem-solving. Other services and activities currently offered, or being developed, by Project Changes include:

bullet N.O.T. (Not On Tobacco) & Enuff Snuff programs help students wanting to quit smoking and or using smokeless tobacco.
bullet Youth Theater, a joint project with the Ross Ragland Theater, allows young people to learn creativity and teamwork.
bullet Equine Assisted Intervention uses horses to help teach personal control, self-confidence and responsibility.
bullet Community Volunteering, such as community beautification and helping out at animal shelters, encourages “giving back”.
bullet After-School & Summer Activities provide alternatives to unstructured time which contributes to alcohol and drug use.

For more information on Project Changes, contact Therese MacFarlane at 541/883-3471.
For more information on LCS services in the Klamath Falls area, click here.