‘Project Here’ provides substance use prevention tools, education

‘Project Here’ provides substance use prevention tools, education

Thanks to grant funding and additional resources, staff members at Marshall Simonds Middle School have been facilitating “Project Here,” described by Health Education teachers Michelle Eovine and Susan Fay as an innovative substance use prevention program.

The program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the GE Foundation, makes free, researched-based substance use prevention educational tools accessible to all public middle schools in the state through online resources and web-based applications available to school staff members.

The curriculum taught at Marshall Simonds Middle School, called “Botvin Lifeskills Training,” Fay and Eovine said, aims to prevent alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse while increasing self-esteem, healthy communication and decision-making and resisting pressures among students.

Last month, a training was held that allowed the teachers to work with other instructors involved in the program, present lesson plans and share more ideas for further implementation when rolling the curriculum out.

“The importance of using this curriculum in Burlington is to help students make healthy choices about harmful substances outside of the classroom,” Eovine and Fay said in a collective response about the program.

The training is important for the community, the two said, who applied for grant funding to bring the program to MSMS.

The goal, Eovine and Fay said, is to help the district’s employees, “enhance our skills in delivering this curriculum, particularly in the areas of facilitation, coaching, behavioral rehearsal and assessment.”

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