Youth Excellence Program (YEP)

Who we serve: Elementary, middle and high school students, ages 11-18
Where: Little Haiti, Liberty City, Overtown, Little Havana, North Miami and Miami Gardens
Goal: Motivate students to live their lives without the use of all substances, including alcohol and other drugs

Underage drinking and drug use can affect anyone. Nearly every child is exposed to violence, stress, anger, drugs, drinking and poverty; if not in their neighborhood then through other classmates or in the media. Youth with poor school attendance, low academic performance, low income, recent immigration, children of inmates or at-risk of abuse/neglect are at greater risk for substance use.

Youth Excellence Program (YEP) is under Positive Youth Development in our Five Pillars of Service. YEP discourages drinking and drug use, while promoting positive and healthy decision-making skills. It also engages, empowers and encourages parents to be involved.

YEP is an in-school program that teaches skills, strategies and tools to resist drugs and alcohol. YEP helps students become aware that they are unique and should feel good about their uniqueness. They also learn to identify positive and negative ways to cope with stress.

Communication skills are developed. Getting along with peers with similar values and beliefs is also important to resist negative peer pressure. When students learn about the importance of good communication, they are more likely to recognize when they are being pressured and may be less likely to pressure others.

Talking about the effects of smoking brings awareness that promotes a healthier life. Teaching kids how to stick up for themselves in a positive way promotes self-confidence they will carry with them forever. YEP helps kids understand their potential and what is possible in their lives.

YEP is funded by Thriving Mind | South Florida and DCF to provide substance abuse prevention services.