Educational low ambition and values to succeed. They



Educational and Community-Based
Programs – Part1

Jennifer M. McNamar

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South University

Legislative and Judicial Process

Dr. LaQuita Gray-Baker

Week 3, Assignment 2













            The future leaders of our
communities will be the developing youth of today. It is the current leaders’ responsibility
to guide and teach our youth to become great leaders to ensure community
success. Youth must learn attributes such as values, social skills, positive
choices and behaviors. The learning of these attributes allows the youth to
become productive citizens in the community. Family is one of the first key pieces
for these youths to develop such skills. However, there are many other pieces
that impact the success of the youth which are schools, neighborhoods, and
educational and community based programs. Educational and community based
programs for youth are one way to productively mentor them on topics such as leadership
skills, social and emotional skills, positive choices and behaviors, as well as
self-development (Herrera, Sipe, & McClanahan, 2000). By mastering these skills,
it will give youth the confidence they need to not only lead their community
and other youth but also make positive choices and turning away from behaviors
that may lead them to problematic or dangerous pathways. For example, research
shows that “Youth involved in 4-H are more than four times as likely to
contribute to their communities as other youth and about two times as likely to
be civically active (“Effectiveness”, n.d.). More support for these programs is
needed and will ensure that more youth stray from negative behaviors and strive
toward success.


of the Problem

            The reason this issue is included in
the Healthy People 2020 program is that educational and community based
programs are designed to reach out to youth in alternative ways rather than
solely relying on parents, family members, and schools. It does this by
utilizing a social structure and allows more individualized development of
these youth. Many youths today find themselves making bad choices which
inevitably lead them to problematic behaviors such as substance abuse and teen
pregnancy. As adults, these same youths often times end up in low income
citizens with low ambition and values to succeed. They sometimes become
criminals instead of leaders or they are abuse drugs instead of being a more
productive citizen.

Youth educational and community based
programs target teens and help them prevent or reduce problem behaviors that
may lead to more concerning and harming behaviors. Girls Incorporated has
conducted several experimental studies that prove the value of these types of
programs. They found that substance abuse prevention programs reduced drinking
among participants who had never drank before. It also found that the program
led girls to get out of situations involving their peers using substances and
even no longer associating with these peers (Quinn, 1999). According to the website, Participation in afterschool programs has been associated
with a reduction in drug use and criminal behaviors in a study in 2006 by the
University of Chicago and 2007 by the University of California Los Angeles.

Youth are not the only ones that are
positively affected by these types of programs either. These programs also
effect society within the communities on both macro and micro levels. For
example, afterschool programs improve student’s academic performance, classroom
behavior, school attendance, and aspirations (“Effectiveness”, n.d.). On a
micro level, when students observe the success of other individuals their own age
it encourages them to also obtain these same behaviors. The improvements on the
micro level will then transition to the macro level and will cause more and
more youth to make positive choices which will in the future boost the
community success and the economy.





The Chatham County Court System is made up
of several courts which are juvenile, magistrate, probate, recorder’s, state,
and superior courts. According to the Chatham County Court Website, each court
has their own duties and assignment of cases. Juvenile court is responsible for
cases involving children under the age of 17 in delinquent offenses, traffic
offenses, neglected or deprived children, and runaways. The Magistrate court is
responsible for both civil and criminal cases. They here civil claims for
amounts $15,000 or less. They also address minor crimes and issue arrest
warrants in criminal related cases. Probate court is responsible for cases
involving living and non-living wills. They also issue marriage licenses and
the right to carry a firearm. Recorder’s court monitors payment of traffic
offenses. State court also hears both civil and criminal matters They hear
misdemeanors, issue search and arrest warrants, and hold preliminary hearings
in criminal cases. The state court judges are elected to 4-year terms in
county-wide partisan elections. They can also be appointed by the Governor if
there is a vacantly needing to be filled. Last, is the Superior Court which is
responsible for felony criminal cases and civil matters such as child support
and divorces.

Chatham County’s government structure is
quite large and diverse. The county is broken down into departments, elected
departments and divisions of each of those departments (“Chatham County
Organizational”, 2017). First you have the Board of Commissioners Elected
Department which includes a chairman and representatives from each district.
They are responsible for passing any local legislative changes and approving
any programs.  Next you have the County
Attorney, County Clerk, County Manager, and County Assistant Manager. Other
county departments also include the following: Police, Public Works, Property
Assessors, Safety, Finance, and Human Resources. There are also many other
departments and divisions within the county.

A major challenge that public
administration faces is the ability for all levels of government to coordinate
with one another. It has been one of the main concerns by the National Academy
of Public Administration (Kincaid, 2011). The federal government is the primary
source in the creation of policies in which the other government agencies must
implement. At the local level, city and county managers mange much of the
federal policies that are created. Some of these polices include critical duties
like emergency preparedness. The collaborative efforts by all government
agencies, federal, state and local with each other, produces a more effective
and efficient way to produce polices as well as implement them. The local
government of Chatham County, GA is very formal when involved in the political
process. They hold county elections in order to place into office the Board of
Commissioners and Court Judges. They have many formal steps in which they
follow to enact different local policies and policy changes by requiring first
a board meeting to present ideas and follow meetings to vote for specific
changes. They also make decisions involving the creation and funding of
community based programs.



Chatham County community’s mission is to
enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full
potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Chatham County has
compiled evidence over the past year of other similar programs that have been
successful at educating teens on the effects of drug use, how to determine what
actions they should be taking to avoid being exposed to drugs, as well as, how
to build skills to resist peer pressures when they are faced with them head on.
Chatham County has created a program that will also complete these activities
to meet the needs of our agency teens in the community.

            The program will be conducted by two
experience teachers that have agreed to volunteer their time to support our
program. It was created into three age appropriate sessions that will be
conducted over three months with each session lasting four weeks. Chatham has
involved the Board of Education that is also willing to support the project and
rent their facility out to complete the program.



            The goal of the Be Smart Don’t Start
Program is to educate youth on how to resist peer pressure and build coping
skills to reduce the likelihood of drug use among teens of Chatham County, GA.
The need for this program is great as the increased drug use among teens have
only grown over the years. For Chatham County to support its mission to create
productive citizens in the community, it must start with our community’s
youth.  They are the future leaders and
for them to be successful they must be given a great foundation. This program
is just another way to promote the success of youth.


Implementation Method

The Be Smart Don’t Start program is a
desired program that Chatham County would like to implement. The drug use among
teens in Chatham county has been an ongoing issue for the community. By
implementing the Be Smart Don’t Start program, it will educate teens in the
community on several drug related aspects. The program will take place at the
Groves High School Gym. The two course instructors are two of the Groves High
School Science Teachers who have both agreed to volunteer their time to the
program to promote growth in the community. Both teachers have contributed much
of their time each year supporting non-profit organizations promoting the
growth of teens in the Chatham County community. Both individuals have more
than 10 years’ experience with youth. The Chatham County program enrollment
currently has 440 members which are from the ages of 12 to 17 years of age. The
February Session will be for ages 12 and 13-year olds, March will be 14 to
15-year olds, and the April session will be for 16 to 17-year olds. There will
be a flyer provided to each of the 120 members in the month of January for
parents to enroll their children for the program if they would like to do so.
The seats are limited and only 40 slots will be open for each session. A total
of 120 students will be enrolled in the three sessions provided. At the end of
each session there will be a small program for the parents to attend.
Refreshments will be provided, and each child will be recognized and given a
Certificate of Completion as well as Program Pin to represent the program.

First the program will provide teens, whom
are currently Chatham County residents and are involved in the program, with
knowledge of the dangers of drugs related to themselves, their family members,
friends, schools, and community. Next, it will educate these teens on what
actions they take and how those actions may or may not lead to drug usage. A
one of the largest benefits to implementing this program within our community,
is to assist teens with building a positive behavior skillset to help them
support their peers and build their ability to resist peer pressures. This
program will increase the percentage of well-educated teens in the community on
drugs, the dangers of drugs, what actions they should be taking to avoid drugs,
and building self-esteem to fight against the negative peer pressures they are
faced with each day.  This will lead to a
decrease in overall drug usage among the teens in the Chatham County community.

The method that the program will implement
will be completed by holding age appropriate 1-hour sessions throughout the months
of February through April each year. There will be 3 separate 4-week sessions
for a total of 12 weeks the program will run each year. There will be three
separate sign up times, for each month. The sessions will be once a week for
four weeks before the next month’s sessions begin. Some sessions will be
teaching the teens what the different types of drugs look like and how they
affect the body. Other sessions will also provide visuals of before and after
photographs of random individuals who have taken a certain drug over time. The
next type of sessions will be providing the teens with information showing what
actions they take each day that could lead them down a negative path toward
drug usage. Lastly, there will be sessions that teach the teens how to take a
stance against peer pressure when placed in such situations. Another session
will introduce the teens to a guest speaker. The guest speaker will be a local
law enforcement officer that can come into the agency and build trust with the
teens as well as educate them. This will allow tends to gain trust in law
enforcement agents and have a name of someone they can contact and talk to if



The expectations from this program is to first
and foremost educate youth on how to resist peer pressure and build coping
skills to reduce drug use by youth in the community. The program expectations are
also to increase the knowledge of the dangers of drugs amount teens who are
current members of the Chatham County community by 100% over the course of the
next year and decrease drug usage amount teens 12-17 years of age in Chatham
County over the course of the next year.



At the beginning of the program, all
participants will be given a survey of questions that will provide feedback as
to who of them have or have not used or thought about using drugs. It will ask
about how they react to peers using them. It will also ask general questions
about their day to day afterschool activities and choices in certain scenarios
in order to provide a starting point of the program. A quiz will be provided on
each topic provided in the sessions in order to evaluate how much each youth
participate learned in the program. After the program the participates will be
asked to participate in a similar survey as prior to the program to evaluate
their thought process after being educated. Their personal information will be
kept to send them out another follow up survey in two years to evaluate if
their opinions, behaviors, or other actions have changed since they have left
the program.

The current youth in the Chatham
County, GA community are at an increased risk of abusing drugs both as a youth
and as an adult in later years. The increase usage among them as caused the
youth to more likely be exposed to drugs. By implementing the Be Smart, Don’t
Start program it will increase the knowledge our youth understands about drug
use, the effects of using, how to make positive choices to stay away from such
activities, as well as, how to resist peer pressure.








County Court. (2017). Chatham County, GA Eastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia.
Retrieved from

County Organizational Chart. (2017). Chatham County, GA. Retrieved from


(n.d.). Retrieved from

C., Sipe, C., & McClanahan, W. (2000). Mentoring School-Age Children:
Relationship Development in Community-Based and School-Based Programs. ERIC.
Retrieved from


J. (2011). “Big Questions” about Intergovernmental Relations and Management:
Who Will Address Them? Public administration
review. 71(2), 196-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2011. 02330.x

Quinn, J. (1999). Where
Need Meets Opportunity: Youth Development Programs for Early Teens. The Future of Children. 9(2). Retrieved from