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Tennis AllStars Inc.
Empowering Youth for Healthy Decision-Making
· Prevent harmful behaviors among adolescents.
· Help adolescents build bright futures.
Prevent Harmful Behaviors Among Adolescents
· All Stars programs reach youth during the years of greatest vulnerability to experimenting with substances, fighting, bullying, and initiating sexual activity. During this period – from the last years of elementary school through high school – young people experience amazing changes.
· During adolescence, young people grow and mature. They change from being concrete thinkers to become abstract thinkers and sophisticated social theorists. The transition through adolescence increases social awareness, a desire to fit in, to gain personal identity and social status.
· We used our understanding of what adolescents experience and how these experiences change lives to create All Stars. All Stars programs match the social and cognitive development of students. Our approach is effective because it deals with the root causes of behavior. All Stars targets things that matter using strategies that engage and inspire students.
· All Stars Core, Booster, and Plus target youth during the middle school years (ages 11 through 13). All Stars Senior is for high school students. All Stars Junior is for 4th and 5th grade elementary school students. The programs are designed to work together, covering the entire span of adolescent development.
Building Bright Futures
The second goal of All Stars is to help students envision a brighter future. All adults who interact with youth have the responsibility to help raise the next generation.
· Become self-sufficient – being employed and employable, being able to take care of themselves and not be dependent on others for basic needs for living.
· respect and receiving respect in return, including being prepared to establish a caring and supportive relationships with friends and family.
Contributing to the community – giving back to the community through service and developing a legacy to leave behind.
All Stars has similar goals for fighting and bullying. Whatever risky behavior exists, it is All Stars' goal to reduce it, postpone it, and prevent it.
Preventing Harmful Behaviors
The prevalence of substance use increases as adolescents grow older. All Stars' goal is to reduce use and abuse. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and inhalants are often referred to as gateway drugs – they are the substances first used by adolescents.
All Stars also seeks to postpone premature sexual activity. Consider the typical prevalence of sexual activity among boys and girls as they grow older.
All Stars Objectives
All Stars programs are designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate negative behaviors and promote positive behaviors. Each All Stars program, and every session and activity within All Stars achieves these goals by changing qualities that account for why young people engage in these behaviors. The various All Stars programs address the following concepts to one degree or another:
Beliefs about Consequences
Behaviors have consequences. The consequences young people pay attention to are short-term – they happen immediately or shortly after the behavior – and they are psychological and social in nature. Teens tend to not pay attention to severe health outcomes, which are seen as unlikely to happen. This topic is addressed in all programs.
This refers to attachments that form between individuals and social institutions to which they belong. Pro-social groups are those which disapprove of substance use, violence, and premature sexual activity. Students who associate with and feel accepted by such institutions – a school, church, recreation group, or sports team – are protected from experimenting with and engaging in high risk behaviors. All programs promote bonding to school or to the sponsoring organization.
Commitment to Not Use or Reduce Use
Young people who make public and private commitments to their vision of the future are motivated to avoid situations that put them at risk. A commitment is an internalized intention which results in a voluntary public expression of one's intention not to participate in substance use, violence, or premature sexual activity. All Stars Core, Booster, Plus and Senior address commitment.
Decision Making and Impulsivity Control
Many young people who engage in risky behaviors act on impulse and have few skills for making reasoned decisions. Learning steps for making decisions, learning how to listen to your conscience, and practicing these help students discover alternatives, weigh consequences and make appropriate choices. A focus on decision making and impulsivity control is addressed in All Stars Plus and All Stars Senior.
Many young people do not know the steps to take to achieve goals. Even when they have an ideal they wish to strive for, knowing how to take action and persisting despite experiencing setbacks and obstacles helps young people maintain a sense of idealism. Goal setting is actively addressed in All Stars Plus and All Stars Senior.
Young people who have a clear vision of their future understand that high-risk behaviors interfere with their life goals. Idealism refers to identifying and understanding what is important and recognizing that drug use and other risky behaviors would interfere with achieving what is important. Idealism is addressed in all programs.
When everyone in a peer group agrees that high-risk behaviors are stupid, dumb, unpopular, and unacceptable to others, they understand that avoiding these behaviors will help them fit in. There are two parts to positive norms. The first part is related to what young people believe about their peer group. Young people – particularly those at risk – exaggerate how common and acceptable drug use and other risky behaviors are. Correcting erroneous perceptions reduces risks. The second part of positive norms is actually establishing a group norm that supports the non-use of substances, cooperation instead of fighting, and positive social relationships that postpones sexual activity. Building positive norms is addressed in all of the All Stars programs
Parents can help their children to become highly motivated to avoid high risk behaviors. Parents are most effective at preventing risky behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors when they: understand growth and development, regularly express love and affection, promote involvement in the community, set clear standards, monitor and supervise their child’s friends and activities, provide appropriate discipline when needed, and when they set a positive example. Increasing parental attentiveness is addressed in All Stars Core, Booster, and Plus.
Resistance Skills Training
It is rare, but there are occasions when peer pressure can be overt. Knowing how to refuse dares and unwanted invitations to participate in risky behavior helps young people deal with this pressure. Research suggests it is especially important for young people who already have experience with substance use, violence, and sexual activity avoid relapse when they find themselves in risky situations. Resistance skills training includes teaching students to stand up for themselves, ask for what they want, express themselves, and say no when they want to without being passive or aggressive. This concept is addressed in All Stars Plus and All Stars Senior.
When young people experience anger and stress, they often respond in maladaptive ways. Stress management seems to be a particularly important skill for people who are trying to break bad habits such as smoking and drinking. These skills are addressed in All Stars Senior.