Volunteers Needed for 2022-2023 Pulaski Program
Riverhead CAP is seeking adult volunteers to teach its 2022-2023 Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program to fifth and sixth grade students in Pulaski Street School. The program consists of eight monthly sessions. Adult volunteers and peer leaders from the high school and middle school teach the lessons. Volunteers receive training by professional staff each month, so no prior experience is required. Training begins in mid- to late October. CAP needs both English and Spanish speaking adults.
“Our volunteers represent a diverse cross-section of the community who share a common interest in helping young people make healthy decisions,” said Cynthia Redmond, community prevention specialist at Riverhead CAP. Between training and the monthly presentations, the total time commitment is only about 2-3 hours per month during the school year. CAP ensures that volunteers are trained and prepared to teach the scripted program by providing a flexible training schedule. “We appreciate that several local businesses support the program by allowing workers to take time to volunteer once a month,” added Redmond.
Impacting the Lives of Youth
“Having volunteered with the Pulaski Street Program for more than five years, I’ve had some truly wonderful experiences, said Jennifer Power, a longtime CAP volunteer. “The program helps children make informed decisions as they navigate through their middle school and high school careers.”
Ms. Power added, “the interaction between the peer leaders and the students at Pulaski Street is magical. The younger students always listen closely to their peer leaders as they speak on topics such as the dangers of alcohol, vaping, and drug use. Since the peer leaders are only a few years older, the impact they have on the Pulaski students is apparent. I am constantly amazed by how much this one-hour program truly impacts the lives of each student and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
CAP uses Too Good for Drugs, an evidence-based skill development program. The program mitigates risk factors and enhances protective factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. The lessons introduce and develop social and emotional skills for making healthy choices, building positive friendships, developing confidence, communicating effectively, and resisting peer pressure and influence. Research links these skills with healthy development and academic success.
A small investment with tremendous payoff
“We’re grateful for the community members who donate their time to support this program,” said Felicia Scocozza, CAP executive director. “Since 1982, we’ve seen this investment of time yield a tremendous payoff, for both the volunteers and the community.”
According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people who had volunteered in the past year were more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health as better. This was in comparison to people who didn’t volunteer. Additionally, the researchers found that people who volunteered at least once a month reported better mental health than participants who volunteered infrequently or not at all.
The study suggested three key factors related to volunteering. First, volunteering appears to be “intrinsically rewarding.” Second, volunteering helps boost a sense of social connection. Finally, volunteering helps build professional skills and provides leadership opportunities.
for more information
For more information about becoming a CAP volunteer, or to sign up, please contact Cynthia Redmond, community prevention specialist, at (631) 727-3722 or Volunteer@RiverheadCAP.org.