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4-H Health Rocks Program Serves Youth in Expanded Settings

There are many organizations in Delaware who specialize in working with at risk youth, and youth involved in the juvenile justice system. These organizations provide help to get youth back on their feet, and heading in the right direction; however, at least three of these organizations were in need of programming that discussed how the use of substances and the choices youth make now will either help or hurt their future.

Three organizations needing this kind of programming were Communities In Schools, Wrap Around Delaware, and Delaware Services for Children, Youth and Families Residential Cottages. They contacted 4-H to inquire about Health Rocks! programming and expressed their needs. We listened and worked with them to develop the best kind of training that would be both suitable and impactful for their youth.

After our conversations with these locations, we developed a training plan whose key headliners were long-term consequences of decisions, goal setting, stress, self-esteem, and role models. While these topics may seem bland to the average youth, Health Rocks! makes sure that these topics are taught in a fun and interactive way. Plus, these topics have great potential to help youth get on the right track to achieve their goals and dreams.

Health Rocks! has worked with Communities in Schools (CIS) at William Penn High School and Newark High School. We are currently in the process of building more relationships with CIS professionals; thus, we plan to go into more schools that provide CIS, in the near future, so we can serve more youth.

At Wrap Around Delaware, we have provided two trainings for the Service Coordinators so they are able to provide the information to their youth. They currently have reached 40 of their youth with the Health Rocks! material and have made plans to teach more in the next few months. The Service Coordinators have recently stated how much both they and the youth enjoy the lessons and activities. The beauty of the trainings we provided them with is that they can help youth with any kind of background, not just substance related.

Over spring break, Health Rocks! was offered to all the youth who were at the Residential Cottages. One of the trainers reported the youth were very responsive to the program. They participated and took advantage of what Health Rocks! had to offer them.

For more information contact Michelle Ernst, Health Rocks! Coordinator-(302) 831-4974 or mernst@udel.edu