North Carolina Central University is winding down the final weeks of a two-year grant aimed at educating teens on campus and in the Durham community about the dangers of alcohol consumption.
The initiative – dubbed Project SUCCESS – is living up to its name through outreach to hundreds of students in middle school, high school and college. Under the grant, NCCU students are trained as peer educators to counsel fellow students, lead interventions and provide accurate, culturally relevant information on alcohol abuse. The peer educators also talk to local middle- and high-school classes to encourage teens to make healthy choices.
“Alcohol use and abuse is a serious problem, and we’re trying to educate our students as well as the students in the public school system about the seriousness of the problem,” said Dr. Carolyn Moore, director of the NCCU Counseling Center, which received the grant. “It’s important to get them young.”
The $111,750 grant was awarded by the Durham County Alcohol Beverage Control Board. The university has used the money to create the program and training, and help pay for several campus-produced videos featuring NCCU students discussing the perils of alcohol addiction, binge drinking, drunken driving and other harmful behaviors. The videos are being shown on campus and in the public schools.
The project’s accomplishments also include:
- Training 12 peer educators
- Training four “Durham Eagles in Action” —NCCU students who graduated from Durham schools and present the program to middle- and high-school students.
- Outreach to 82 ninth-graders at Southern High School and 41 eighth-graders at Rogers Herr Magnet Middle School. Presentations are scheduled for drivers’ education classes at Hillside High School on Tuesday and Northern High School on Wednesday.
Although the grant runs out at the end of this month, Moore said, the university plans to continue the program and apply for additional funding.
The grant was the first of its kind for the board and was paid for with proceeds collected from the sale of alcohol, said board chairwoman Emily Page. The agency will receive a report on the results once the program concludes.
“We are happy to have the opportunity to impact the community by partnering with NCCU to ensure that their students and the students of the Durham Public Schools are benefiting from some innovative and relatable alcohol prevention education,” Page said.
The university also used a portion of the money for an online alcohol-education course for new students. Last fall, more than 1,000 incoming freshman took the two-hour, noncredit course as a mandatory part of orientation. The interactive course features a series of modules and tests with a certificate for passing. The certificate is required as admission to the Freshman Party, a social event hosted by the campus for incoming freshman.
“For students coming in the door, they recognize that we see the complete student,” Moore said. “Their social behavior is just as important to us as their academic behavior. We want them to enjoy themselves in safe and healthy ways, and learn to make good decisions.”