Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware – A leader in delivering Evidence Based Prevention Programs

Written by Dr. Suchi Hiraesave  

Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware (BGCDE) is the leader in engaging youth in evidence based prevention programs in the state of Delaware. Its prevention efforts have resulted in a 10% reduction in underage drinking in just 20 months in the SPF-PFS (Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnership for Success) funded communities, a tremendous impact in a short time!  One Club member participating in the program said, “Smart Moves has given me the tools needed to be aware of the choices I make and how my decisions can future affect me in trying to accomplish my goals”- Gilbert V.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware’s recent Strategic Plan includes Teen Programming as one of main focuses for upcoming years. The board, management, and staff renewed this commitment in 2014 through a variety of initiatives including prevention education aimed at increasing offerings to the teenage population.


Teen programs have made a dramatic impact on reducing underage substance abuse largely due to our grant funded prevention programs for teens namely: Partnerships for Success (PFS) and TITAN (Teens Inspired To Act Now). These programs have also seen a tremendous growth in teen participation and teen program offerings. Our Teen prevention programs are a combination of combination of recreational and prevention/educational offerings, created using feedback from the teens themselves.


In true Boys & Girls Clubs fashion, we look to bring the teens to our facilities using recreational offerings. Once we have the teens attending regularly, we use relationship building (between staff and teens) to recruit for our evidence based prevention and education programs such as Smart Moves; Botvin Life Skills; Positive Action Anti-violence and Suicide prevention, Just(ICE)  In Time; and Keystone Leadership Clubs; and building youth coalitions to combat underage substance abuse.


This strategy (implemented through the grant funded programs) achieved great success:


  • In 2013, only two Clubs (out of 12) were offering evening teen programming. Currently, Eight Boys & Girls Clubs are open for teens every Friday night from 7pm – midnight. Seven of these eight Clubs are funded through the TITAN program.


  • In 2013, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware had 1,541 registered teen members. In only a year and half, we have increased that number to 3,609 members in 2017.


  • Three Clubs (Milford, Western Sussex and Laurel) had limited teen programming. Currently, all three Clubs are averaging at least 150 teens per TITAN Friday night.


  • Positive Action Pre/ Post-test outcomes: 68% increased knowledge about dangers of indulging in risky behavior and benefits of positive action.


  • Four special events aimed at teens each registered at least 200 teen participants. This includes a Teen Scene Event at The Bob Carpenter Center, an Anti-Bully Rally at The Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club and three Anti-bully rallies in Claymont, Dover and Western Sussex (as funded through the TITAN program).


  • Prevention Education and prevention focused alternative activities increased at all sites in which teen programing was introduced or enhanced such as anti-drinking education (Dover), anti-bully program such as Positive Action (Claymont, Dover, Milford, Western Sussex and Laurel), Just (Ice) In Time at all three counties; financial literacy (Newark). Keystone Leadership Clubs at all sites.


  • Collaborations have strengthened statewide and within the communities. We are collaborating with both public and private agencies. All five sites will collaborate with their respective school districts, law enforcement; Teen Sharp, Jefferson Awards Foundation; American Lung Association, West End Neighborhood House, Kingswood Community Center, LACC community center, Hilltop community Center, and Bank of America.


Funding for this project (SP020704) has been provided by the Department for Health and Social Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health–State of Delaware through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  TITAN is funded through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health.



Brief Description of Evidence Based Prevention programs:


Positive Action: Positive Action is a Model Evidence Based Program listed by Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention .The philosophy is illustrated by the Thoughts-Actions-Feelings Circle where positive thoughts lead to positive actions, positive actions lead to positive feelings about you and positive feelings lead to more positive thoughts.

Positive Action is delivered through the following 6 units: 1)Self-Concept, 2) Positive Actions for your body and mind, 3) Managing yourself responsibly, 4)Treating others the way you liked to be treated, 5) Telling yourself the truth and 6) Improving yourself continually. The goal of the project is to improve participant behavior at home, in classroom, club setting and community. Also to decrease truancy and improve students’ motivation to learn and pay attention in class.


SMARTMoves is a field-tested, comprehensive program to help youth and young adults develop skills to resist alcohol, tobacco, other drug use and premature sexual activity. The objective of the program is to prevent or delay the onset of alcohol and other drug use, and sexual involvement by youth and young adults.


Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a research-validated substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors.

Developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, a leading prevention expert, Botvin LifeSkills Training is backed by over 30 scientific studies and is recognized as a Model or Exemplary program by an array of government agencies including the U.S. Department of Education and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

Rather than merely teaching information about the dangers of drug abuse, Botvin LifeSkills Training promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior through activities designed to:

  • Teach students the necessary skills to resist social (peer) pressures to smoke, drink, and use drugs
  • Help students to develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Enable students to effectively cope with anxiety
  • Increase their knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse
  • Enhance cognitive and behavioral competency to reduce and prevent a variety of health risk behaviors
  • Enable students to effectively cope with anxiety


Just (Ice) In Time® training seminars. The seminars were developed by Snell & Associates Consultants a nationally recognized consulting firm that works with non-profits. The seminar, for teenagers & young adult males of color, is a framework that utilizes real life situations and effective role play to:

  • Educate teenagers and young adult males of color of their rights and responsibilities in today’s society
  • Help participants learn and develop prevention and intervention potentially leading to life changing and lifesaving strategies.

The program includes the participation of a diverse group of community stakeholders, particularly police and law enforcement, in developing implementable working solutions in making the community safe.