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Protecting You/Protecting Me

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Protecting You/Protecting Me (PY/PM) is a 5-year classroom-based alcohol use prevention and vehicle safety program for elementary school students in grades 1-5 (ages 6-11) and high school students in grades 11 and 12. The program aims to reduce alcohol-related injuries and death among children and youth due to underage alcohol use and riding in vehicles with drivers who are not alcohol free. PY/PM consists of a series of 40 science- and health-based lessons, with 8 lessons per year for grades 1-5. All lessons are correlated with educational achievement objectives. PY/PM lessons and activities focus on teaching children about (1) the brain--how it continues to develop throughout childhood and adolescence, what alcohol does to the developing brain, and why it is important for children to protect their brains; (2) vehicle safety, particularly what children can do to protect themselves if they have to ride with someone who is not alcohol free; and (3) life skills, including decision-making, stress management, media awareness, resistance strategies, and communication. Lessons are taught weekly and are 20-25 minutes or 45-50 minutes in duration, depending on the grade level. A variety of ownership activities promote students' ownership of the information and reinforces the skills taught during the lesson.

Parent take-home activities are offered for all 40 lessons. PY/PM's interactive and affective teaching processes include role-playing, small group and classroom discussions, reading, writing, storytelling, art, and music. The curriculum can be taught by school staff or prevention specialists. PY/PM also has a high school component for students in grades 11 and 12. The youth-led implementation model involves delivery of the PY/PM curriculum to elementary students by trained high school students who are enrolled in a peer mentoring, family and consumer science, or leadership course for credit. The program's benefits to high school students are derived from learning about the brain and how alcohol use can impact adolescents, serving as role models to the elementary school participants, and taking coursework in preparation for delivering the curriculum.