The Youth Connection Prevention Academy Awards

On February 1st, 2017, The Youth Connection (TYC) implemented a pilot program in conjunction with the Botvin LifeSkills Training Program to engage youth called The Prevention Academy Awards! The Prevention Academy Awards, (created by our Substance Abuse Prevention Program Manager, Deb O’Rah Mitchell) was launched with an initial 126 seventh and eighth grade students at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy.






The goal of the Prevention Academy awards is threefold: To boost retention and student use of life skills information, to engage students in meaningful conversations about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and to identify increased student knowledge of risky behaviors through the use of pre- and post-tests.


Through generous donor support from Mr. Damon Mitchell, Yogi Entertainment Group, LLC, Mr. Larry Bragg, Mr. Sidney Bragg, and Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors, the top 4 winners of each classroom won prizes at the end of the program!

Rules to win are given to every youth in writing and they include:

  • Daily class room participation – 1 point for each correct answer
  • Class attendance – 5 points
  • Completion of book assignments – 10 points
  • Writing a rap, song or poem (about life skill topics) – 10 points
  • Performance of the rap, poem or song – 10 points
  • A final 20 point quiz (10 questions, 2 pts. For each correct answer

These rules ensure any youth can win by giving them a variety of ways to excel in this awards program.

8th Grade Leaders.
7th Grade Leaders.
Ms. McGuire & Her 8th Grade Students.

Our Prevention Academy Awards program offered points to students for attendance, participation, in-class assignments, mini-quizzes, as well as writing and performing poems or raps which included life skills lessons that the students learned.

Frederick Smith, our Social Media/Website Coordinator and program assistant, created a scoreboard spreadsheet for each classroom in order to keep track of the points received by students and also informed students what place they ranked in their class dur

On Wednesday, April 5th, 2017, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners were announced at our Prevention Academy Awards Ceremony in the cafeteria at Fisher Upper. While students sat and enjoyed delicious pizza (provided and delivered by Happy’s Pizza), all 120 participants received a Certificate of Achievement for completing The Botvin LifeSkills Training, and the top 16 winners received an Academy Award Statue and a voucher stating the prize they have won. Honorable mentions medals were given out to 24 students who were rank in 5th - 10th place.

1st Place: N. Taylor [Left] 2nd Place: J.Richardson [Center Left] 3rd Place: K.Williams [Center Right] 4th Place: J.Barnes [Right]

The next day, Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Fred returned to Fisher Magnet Upper Academy to bring the winning participants their gift certificates. 1st and 3rd place winners received a Foot Locker gift card (1st place $150, 3rd place $50), 2nd Place winners received mountain bikes donated by Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors, a local Michigan bike shop located in Chelsea, Michigan, and 4th place winners received a $25 Amazon gift card. Students who won gift certificates then shopped online in Fisher Upper’s Media Center.

8th Grade winners shopping online.
Ms. Mitchell assisting 7th Grade winners as they shop online.
The Final Shopper with Ms.Mitchell and Mr.Fred.

Students ordered their items online, and we scheduled the items to be delivered at the TYC Office. Once items were delivered, we contacted the winners and their parents/guardians to schedule a date to pick-up their items.

J.Richardson [2nd Place Winner]
M.Dancy [1st Place Winner]
K.Williams [3rd Place Winner]
M.Mason [4th Place Winner]

The Youth Connection would like to thank Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN), funders for our Substance Abuse Program and Prevention Academy Awards. Special Thanks to Mr. Damon Mitchell, Yogi Entertainment Group, LLC, Mr. Larry Bragg, Mr. Sidney Bragg, and Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors for their generous donations of gifts and incentives for the Prevention Academy Awards Ceremony.

We would also like to thank Fisher Magnet Upper Academy Staff and Administrators; Principal Harry Coakley, assistant principal Leola Banks, Ms. Precious McGuire and Mr. Marvin Pettit, Fisher Upper classroom teachers. A special thanks to Brooke Bourdage, a Service Learning student from Madonna University, for being our Creative Encouragement Coach in our lifeskills prevention sessions.

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*** Special Note """

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