Credible research indicates that alarming proportions of young people engage in behaviors which put them at risk for serious health problems. FOCUS addresses the adolescent risk behaviors identified in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). For more information click here.
Teachers and parents want young people to develop into knowledgeable, responsible, caring, and healthy adults. The challenge is providing opportunities in schools linked to these outcomes. FOCUS has proven itself to be an important piece of the puzzle! FOCUS is based on a student-led approach and seeks to empower youth to change their school climates. FOCUS may be implemented as an elective class, an extra-curricular activity, as part of enrichment program, or infused into an established class. In the planning of prevention activities, FOCUS provides networking opportunities through social media and statewide Rallies.
FOCUS is being replicated through the state of Alabama and has involved schools, or educators, from all 67 counties. FOCUS is funded through the Alabama Department of Public Health-Communicable Disease Division, and supported by the Alabama State Department of Education, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Caring Foundation, Alabama National Guard, and Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. FOCUS partners with the Children Policy Councils and several other community-based organizations.
Every year FOCUS hosts two Rallies tailored specifically for students! You won’t want to miss these student networking events!
A trained staff is available to assist schools in Grades 7-12 with implementation of FOCUS! Membership is Free! As part of our network, FOCUS Facilitators have access to our electronic publications and informational resources, including: Facilitator Training modules, Implementation Guide, Character Traits and Quotes, PowerPoint presentations, Certificates for students, use of FOCUS logo, student webcasts, and other resources.
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, 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.
Assistant FOCUS Director, Northern District