PROSPER launches website to support communities in preventing youth substance use

4 middle school students standing in front of school

‘When youth PROSPER, we all do.’ 

A new website, located at prosper.psu.edu, recently launched to aid in recruiting Pennsylvania communities and families to participate in PROSPER, or PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience, a program proven to reduce substance use in middle school students. 

"The new PROSPER website provides a platform for us to broadly disseminate information about effective prevention programming and practices across Pennsylvania. This is especially timely given the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made schools, families, and communities especially dependent on online resources," said Janet Welsh, PROSPER director and research professor at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center.

The website highlights the project’s 18 current locations throughout Pennsylvania to provide prospective families with program and contact information and an overview of how communities and families can benefit from the program. Community leaders interested in starting a local PROSPER site can get started by filling out this form.

PROSPER, designed by scientists at Penn State and Iowa State University in 2001, supports the delivery of evidence-based programs for middle-school students and their families. The program decreases substance use throughout entire communities by working with students in schools and within families after school hours. The in-school component provides students with a healthy self-image to plan goals, problem solve, and resist substance use and other risky behaviors. The after-school component guides parents in supporting their children while setting effective limits, ultimately improving family life.

“When youth prosper, we all do,” Welsh said.

PROSPER is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.