Since 2016 The Jackson County Health Department’s Abstinence program has awarded funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to offer the HOPE (Healthy Opportunities for Positive Empowerment) Program. Each year, this funding has allowed the HOPE program to reach 50 youth (ages 10-15) in the City of Jackson with supervised community service learning, abstinence education, and activities related to key social and emotional developmental experienced during young adolescence.
There are two components to the HOPE Program:
Component 1: Classroom Activities – The HOPE program will meet twice a week during school hours or twice a week after school. During these meetings students will be lead through lessons from Real Essentials Curriculum. Lesson topics will include: These lessons will include the following topics: Defining Community, Self-Esteem, Values, Development, Relationships, Influence, Sexuality, Communications/Assertiveness, Goal-Setting and Decision Making. This curriculum is known nationally and helps prevent adolescent problem behavior through improving positive self-image, effective life management skills, and achievable goals. Although abstinence is the main focus of the program, less than 10 percent of the curriculum would be considered sexuality education.
Component 2: Community Service – Students engage in a minimum of 10 hours of supervised volunteer work during completion of program. Experienced staff will help youth design effective community service projects that meet the needs of the students and the community. A community service-learning guide aids discussion about volunteer experiences to tie together the classroom and volunteer service aspects to the program, allowing youth, to process and reflect on their service activities.
The HOPE program is currently being offered at Frost Elementary and Northeast Elementary.