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Though FOCUS was founded in 1997, we adjust to meet the changing/expanding needs of students and the prevention of adolescent risk behaviors in our ever-changing society. FOCUS was developed in Jacksonville City Schools, Jacksonville, Alabama, during the 1997-98 academic school year. FOCUS began in an effort to expand prevention of adolescent risk behaviors from a selected group of peer helpers to all students interested in making a difference in the school. FOCUS is inclusive and all interested students have the opportunity to participate. The program was co-founded by Sue Jones, Jacksonville High School Health Educator, and Tom Robertson, retired HIV Prevention Coordinator-Alabama Department of Public Health. What began with 12 students at Jacksonville High School has grown into a funded project with schools from all 67 counties involved since Alabama Department of Public Health began funding the project in 2001. FOCUS has grown into one of the most recognized prevention programs in the State of Alabama. 


  • To provide opportunities for all students to be involved in the reduction of adolescent risk behaviors.

  • To promote school and community partnerships for the reduction of adolescent risk behaviors.

  • To empower students to help each other through peer helping and others through community service opportunities.

  • To provide resources for facilitators and students to enhance their prevention efforts.

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L to R: Mary Oliver,Jacksonville High School Charter FOCUS Class Facilitator; Julie Hope, American Red Cross Trainer; Tom Robertson, Retired, Alabama Department of Public Health and Sue Jones,  Retired, Jacksonville High School.

Tom and Sue are Co-Founders of FOCUS  (Circa, 1997)

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