Program tries to change attitudes

KALAHEO — A youth program that holds the distinction of being the top research-based prevention program in the country will be offered on Kaua‘i.

“We’re very excited about presenting the Botvin LifeSkills Training program to our community,” said Deann Yamaguchi, Life’s Choices Kaua‘i staff member. “Studies published in medical journals show that participants in this program are less likely to use gateway drugs, i.e. cigarettes (87 percent), alcohol (60 percent) and marijuana (75 percent), and are less likely to use other drugs as well.”

Yamaguchi is a certified Botvin LifeSkill trainer, and said the program is open to youngsters 12 to 17 and is free of charge. LifeSkills Training sessions will be held weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 1-20, at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

“One of the things that distinguishes the LifeSkills Training from other types of prevention programs is that it doesn’t just provide information about the dangers of drug abuse, it also focuses on developing the skills necessary for handling challenging situations,” said Life’s Choices Kaua‘i Coordinator Theresa Koki.

The activities in the LifeSkills program are designed to:

• Teach students the necessary skills to resist social (peer) pressures to smoke, drink, and use drugs.

• Help students to develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence.

• Enable students to effectively cope with anxiety.

• Increase their knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse.

• Enhance cognitive and behavioral competency to reduce and prevent a variety of health risk behaviors.

The deadline to register for the program is Friday. Space is limited. To register your child, to request additional support or an auxiliary aid to attend the training, contact Deann Yamaguchi at 241-4926 or dyamaguchi@kauai.gov.

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