Since I’ve been blogging about drug addiction and the Salvation Army, here, here and here I’ve learned about the importance of prevention. I also learned that we now have a national expert on kids and drug prevention among our staff, Greg Parker. Greg became a national trainer for the Boys & Girls Club Smart Moves program this summer. He’s one of six specially trained Smart Moves instructors and the only one in the country from The Salvation Army. Smart Moves instructors teach kids 5 to 15 to make healthy choices and avoid using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
The younger kids do fun activities related to the subject, such as drawing pictures of their families and creating collages. But what I found the most surprising is that the primary activity for the 13-15 age group is journaling. At the Sand Springs club, kids spend an hour every Thursday afternoon writing in their journals. Then while the kids watch, the instructor locks the journals up until the next Thursday. Nobody gets to read them. I would have loved having that kind of privacy at that challenging age -- to know that I could write anything, absolutely anything, in my journal and my mother couldn’t read it! Greg and I talked about how much easier it is for kids to talk to adults at the club about their issues when they’re also writing about them in their journal. Sounds like a smart program to me.