ICAN, Chandler, AZ

Family Involvement Meetings

Abstract: ICAN’s Peer Leadership program is comprised of youth ages 13-18 from a community ridden with gang activity and extreme generational poverty.  ICAN’s Peer Leadership Program utilizes innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining teens in positive activities that promote community change.  ICAN’s Peer Leaders are recruited through direct community partnerships, creative partnerships with schools and street outreach through a partnership with the Chandler Police Department Gang Unit.  Through our partnerships, ICAN is able to reach out to youth who would traditionally be “lost” in most school and after school programs.  ICAN youth are contacted and visited monthly by ICAN staff and a Police representative who ensure that the youth are supported, safe and attending programs.  Once involved in the program the teens are tasked with learning leadership competencies and applying those skills through monthly community service projects.  In 2006, this group of youth, working with key stakeholders, organized the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse to create and implement a community development strategy to address underage drinking.  Through this community development process, the ICAN Peer Leaders have collaborated with local merchants to remove alcohol signage, provided free training to merchants on carding, and educated the community about the risks of underage drinking. Once the teens become involved in these meaningful activities and have the opportunity to be positive change agents in their community, retention becomes inevitable.

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