Project ABCD is a collaborative effort involving school boards, police services and community partners from the Algoma District. Formally implemented in September 2009, it is a community-based initiative targeted at deterring drug use in our upper elementary and secondary schools. ABCD stands for; Action for Building a Community that is Drug free.
Student leadership teams in all secondary schools throughout the Algoma Region develope Youth
Engagement Strategies to build awareness and to focus on drug prevention and education.
To date leadership teams have focused on three main areas:
1. ABCD Planning Teams in all Secondary Schools (Gr. 9-12)
2. A Theatre Production written and delivered by students to Grade 9 and 10 students throughout the Algoma region
3. Grade 7 and 8 Elementary Outreach Pilot – presentations developed in collaboration with the Algoma Public Health Unit, Sault Ste. Marie Police Services and Algoma Family Services to educate and build awareness of the health and legal risks and dangers associated with drug use.
The Elementary Outreach Pilot took place in April 2011 and was a student driven, student delivered
and student centered presentation to Grade 7 and 8 students. The results were very powerful and this presentation has become a staple, now presented by high school students to their elementary feeder schools each year. During these presentations, elementary students are actively engaged in hands-on activities and informative presentations that help them better understand the dangers of substance use and abuse and the benefits of healthy choices.
Each year all partners come together for the annual Project ABCD Youth Symposium. A leadership team made up of students from both Algoma District School Board (ADSB) and Huron-Superior Catholic District School Boards along with community partners plan this symposium to highlight the accomplishments of the work that has been done for that year and to begin the discussion around future planning.
The ABCD Youth Symposium includes student presentations, special guest speakers and a Leadership Panel. One year (2011) personal stories about the impact drugs can have on families was shared from a mothers’ point of view. Another year (2014) the focus of the day was making healthy choices and finding Natural Highs - positive feel good moments versus the artificial and often dangerous highs of drugs and alcohol.
Dr. Matt Bellace has been a keynote speaker at two of our Symposiums. Matt has been a youth motivational speaker and stand-up comedian for 18 years. He is a clinical psychologist and the author of “A Better High”. His “How to Get High Naturally” program has encouraged over 100,000 students a year to pursue natural highs and to make healthy choices. His humorous and informative presentation makes a positive impact on all of our students and leaves a lasting impression.