Footprints for Life

Research has clearly demonstrated that substance abuse prevention needs to begin at a very young age and continue to be reinforced throughout childhood and adolescence. However, most prevention programs are not designed to reach students until they enter middle and high school.

Description of Program

Drawing from the latest research, Footprints for LifeTM starts earlier and teaches children the first steps of prevention and provides them with a healthy path to follow as they grow. Footprints reaches children while their health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are at a formative stage; provides a resource for teachers to help identify potential problems; and opens the door for parents to have important discussions with their children at home. Footprints builds the internal assets and teaches the important life skills students in grades two and three need to grow up healthy and drug-free. Through the use of puppets and stories that feature "real life" situations experienced by a children's soccer team, the program offers many opportunities for students to practice the new skills they have learned in a fun and non-threatening way.

The goal of Footprints is to help young children build a strong foundation of life skills rooted in key social competencies. The social competencies that Footprints addresses are planning and decision-making practice, interpersonal skills, cultural competence, peer pressure, and peaceful conflict resolution - assets identified as promoting positive attitudes and behaviors. Footprints is an evidence based six-week program taught during a regular classroom period for approximately 40 minutes each week. Weekly homework assignments and educational sheets not only reinforce the lessons between classes, but also involve parents in their child's learning experience.


The findings identify numerous positive aspects of the Footprints for Life program. Teachers universally reported very high levels of satisfaction with the program. They indicated that Footprints was successful in engaging children with the program and presented age-and grade-appropriate information on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Teachers whose classes participated in the Footprints program also indicated that they witnessed students using the skills taught by the Footprints curriculum. Teachers also reported using lessons from the Footprints curriculum to reinforce concepts in the classroom. After participating in the Footprints program, teachers reported that their students were more likely to:

  • Consider consequences before making decisions;
  • Express needs and feelings appropriately;
  • Resolve conflicts with peers in a peaceful manner;
  • Suggest alternate ideas when faced with negative peer pressure; and
  • Appreciate what it is like to be "different" or left out. All of these improvements reported by teachers were statistically significant.

Parents reported that they frequently utilized concepts from the Footprints program with their children at home. Nearly 82% of parents of children participating in the Footprints Program and who completed the survey indicated that the program influenced their child's behavior in a positive way. Specifically, parents reported that the program helped their children be more aware of consequences, resolve disagreements, be more understanding, accept differences, cope with disappointment, and understand the detrimental effects of smoking.

For more information Contact Us

You may view the PDF version of the English Program Brochure or the Spanish Program Brochure.

You may also view the PDF version of the Program Summary.

Protecting You Protecting Me (a MADD Program)

An alcohol use prevention curriculum for children in grades K-5, this program was originally developed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers as part of MADD’s National Elementary School Project.  It has been designated a Model Program by SAMHSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Health.


PY/PM helps reach children before they fully shaped their attitudes and opinions about youth alcohol use.  The curriculum teaches children how to protect themselves and make informed decisions.

The lessons in PY/PM reinforce the fact that the brains of children and adolescents are still maturing and respond to alcohol dramatically differently than those of adults, putting children at much high risk for harm.  In addition, the lessons also cover a variety of life skills including media awareness, communication and vehicle safety.  The curriculum focuses on the effects of alcohol on the developing brain during the first 21 years of life. 

The curriculum provides a series of 40 interactive lessons; eight lessons each for grades K – 5.  Each grade level has its own materials and includes parental involvement activities.  Curriculum topics include:

  • Our Brain
  • Growth and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Rules and Laws
  • Friends
  • Choices and Decisions
  • Media Awareness
  • Communication and Vehicle Safety

Protecting You/Protecting Me gives students essential knowledge and skills to:

  • Increase their non-use attitudes and decisions regarding underage drinking
  • Increase their intentions not to ride with an impaired driver
  • Improve their ability to protect themselves when they have no option but to ride with a driver who is not alcohol-free

For more information Contact Us

You may view the PDF version of the pdfProgram Brochure.

You may also view the PDF version of the pdfProgram Summary.

Seeing is Believing

This program includes interactive dialogue between participants and facilitator, hands-on activities and role-playing.  Utilizing the Fatal Vision goggles, students will experience the effects of alcohol and other drugs on their ability to perform tasks…       Read more

Fatal Vision Goggles are specially designed and manufactured goggles that simulate the visual impairment caused by alcohol or other drugs.  Viewing through the goggles, the wearer experiences a loss of equilibrium, one of the effects of intoxication.  The underlying principle is to demonstrate how quickly impairment can turn fun into devastating consequences.   As each student tries on the goggles and try to complete hands on activities, they experience how impairment makes certain activities (such as driving) extremely dangerous.  The goggles activity is an excellent tool to use in schools and youth groups to educate young people on the risks of underage drinking as well as marijuana use and driving.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine the effects of alcohol/marijuana on the brain and body systems.
  2. Improve decision-making skills about alcohol and/or marijuana related situations
  3. Understand the legal, physical and emotional risks of underage drinking/marijuana use.

For more information Contact Us

You may view the PDF version of the Program Summary.

Keys to Innervisions (KIV) (Grades 8-12)

Mercer Council’s Keys To Innervisions (KIV) program teaches youth how to change their beliefs and self-talk in order to change their behaviors.

Program Details

Keys to Innervisions (KIV) is an educational curriculum about change, specifically changing the beliefs and behaviors that lead to violence, drug abuse/dependency, criminal behavior, school and social failure. In order for anyone to make lasting and meaningful changes in behavior, they must want to change. For change to happen, five fundamental ingredients are necessary.

  • They must believe that change is possible for them.
  • They must know how to change.
  • They must know what to change.
  • They must be able to practice changing.
  • They must have support from significant people.

KIV’s curriculum is designed to help students in grades 8 through 12 understand the power that their thinking has on their self-concept and their behavior. The lessons are designed to teach specific step-by-step, easy to learn and use skills for making significant changes.

Keys to Innervisions addresses the needs of all populations, especially those at-risk that need specific guidelines on where change should start and what to do first. KIV focuses on these critical issues: personal accountability, decision-making, substance use and abuse, criminal behavior, school and learning issues, family issues, emotional balance, personal values, and skills for transitions.

KIV promotes the belief that change is not only possible, but also accessible to all. The program runs for a series of six - eight sessions of approximately 45 minutes.

For more information Contact Us

You may view the PDF version of the Program Summary.

Too Good For Drugs & Violence (TGFD) (Grades 6-12)

This comprehensive prevention education program for high school students was designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to remain safe and drug free.  Based on the renowned research of Hawkins and Catalano’s Risk and Protective Factors and The Search Institute’s 40 Development Assets, the program promotes bonding, develops essential life skills and establishes positive violence-free and drug free norms.

The evidence-based Too Good for Drugs & Violence High School prepares students with the skills they need for academic, social, and life success. Interactive games and activities provide practical guidance on dating and relationships, building healthy friendships, and refusing negative peer influence.

Lessons foster analysis and discussion of the effects of ATOD use as well as prescription and OTC drug use and various nicotine delivery devices. Students also analyze the impact of social media on decision making, reaching goals, and self-identity.

Students learn how to navigate the challenges of social and academic pressures like making responsible decisions, managing stress and anger, reflecting on personal relationships, and resolving conflicts. The lessons use collaborative and experiential learning strategies to help students practice the skills proven to prevent violence and other risky behaviors.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop and increase social skills such as communication and assertiveness
  • Develop and increase personal skills such as self-esteem and stress management
  • Gain an increased awareness of alcohol and other drug health risks
  • Learn skills to help make smart and healthy life long decisions

For more information Contact Us

You may view the PDF version of the Program Summary.

Our Office

Mercer Council on Alcoholism & Drug Addiction
1931 Brunswick Avenue
Lawrence Township, NJ  08648

Tel - (609) 396-5874
Email -
Hours - Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm


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