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SACY Information for Parents

School Age Children and Youth - Substance Use Prevention Initiative (SACY) engages Vancouver parents, teachers, students, administrators and the greater community in a process to strengthen school-based alcohol and drug prevention and early-intervention programs and policies.

At SACY we believe that young people that feel connected to their schools, who have supportive family, and have adult allies and mentors are stronger, healthier and better able to live up to their full potential.

SACY staff and allies are committed to listening to their experiences and supporting them in the prevention, delay and reduction of substance use.

How do we work?

The SACY team uses an innovative and comprehensive approach to deliver coordinated prevention and early intervention strategies that emphasize relationships, connectedness, positive youth development, and social and emotional learning. 

SACY utilizes a number of unique activities to engage with participants including “Capacity Cafes” where youth voices educate adults, community service learning opportunities, parent engagement and specific activities that involve Aboriginal and multi-cultural communities.

SACY has four interrelated activity streams:

  • Youth Prevention and Engagement,
  • Parent Engagement,
  • Curriculum and Teacher Training, and
  • STEP - a three day off site program

What does SACY work focus on?

  • Strengthen youth’s connection to school, family and community.
  • Build strength and resiliency in youth, parents and within the community by focus on strong points, not deficits.
  • Encourage open and honest discussion on issues related to drugs and alcohol.
  • Promote positive youth development - emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual.
  • Create opportunities for youth voices to be heard.

SACY acknowledges that adolescence may be a time of experimentation with substances, including tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and therefore works to:

  • Ensure that prevention initiatives are relevant and realistic, helping young people gain skills to navigate effectively in a society where substance use is prevalent.
  • Generate opportunities for youth to give back to their communities.
  • Address risk factors that exist around substance use and which are related to individuals, families, schools and community.

SACY recognizes the important role of parents, teachers and other adults and therefore seeks to:

  • Support parents/caregivers in maintaining strong relationships with their youth.
  • Teach parents effective ways of communicating with their children.
  • Promote adult listening and adult ally building as important steps in helping young people stay healthy and feel positively connected to their schools and communities.

SACY seeks to impact the school environment and thus aims to:

  • Support teachers and administrators to utilize evidence-based prevention practices
  • Conduct teacher training to implement effective classroom curricula.
  • Work with schools to implement an integrated approach to substance use prevention.

SACY is committed to a multi-faceted approach and ongoing review of our activities by external evaluators thus allowing the initiative to give the most promising results.

SACY is a joint initiative of the Vancouver School Board and Vancouver Coastal Health in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Department, the University of British Columbia and the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. 

Please call the SACY main line at (604) 713-5899 and press 3 to get the direct lines of a parent and family engagement facilitator Roma Mehta.

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