SPIFFY helps local communities reduce risk factors that make it more likely youth will engage in unhealthy behaviors, while increasing protective factors that encourage youth to make healthy choices.
SPIFFY helps local communities reduce risk factors that make it more likely youth will engage in unhealthy behaviors, while increasing protective factors that encourage youth to make healthy choices. This strategy is grounded in research, and engages a wide variety of people who work together making positive changes in their community.
Some of our initiatives include:
- Decreasing youth access to alcohol and other drugs
- Supporting parents in setting clear expectations around risky behaviors
- Working with schools to implement evidence-based prevention programs targeting youth violence, bullying and substance abuse.
Reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors using a coalition approach has proven to be an effective model for identifying and addressing unhealthy behaviors. As a result, we are now expanding the focus of our work to address the growing problem of obesity and chronic disease that is impacting health of our communities.
We are also taking what we have learned in ten years of collaborating with schools, agencies, parents and youth to build local coalitions in several municipalities in Hampshire County. The SPIFFY Coalition is always seeking input and involvement from anyone living or working in Hampshire County.
SPIFFY is a broad, countywide coalition that brings schools and community agencies together to to improve the lives of youth and families in Hampshire County.
Since our beginning in 2002, coalition staff and partners have helped local communities view problems through a risk and protective factor framework. This approach collects and uses data to identify strategies, policies and evidence-based programs that reduce unhealthy behaviors.
For the past five years, SPIFFY has works with schools to survey 8th, 10th and 11th graders across the county to assess risk and protective factors for substance abuse, bullying, and other behaviors that put teens at risk for a variety of problems in school and life.
Research shows that creating a culture in our community in which unhealthy behavior is not acceptable is the best deterrent for youth. With this in mind, SPIFFY helps communities throughout Hampshire County develop environmental strategies to prevent these problems and promote healthy decision-making.
Highlights of our work over the past few years include:
- Surveyed hundreds of Easthampton parents for a social norms marketing campaign to illustrate the positive attitudes and choices parents are making to prevent drug & alcohol use among teens.
- Hosted trainings on: adolescent brain development and addiction; bullying and school climate; and using prevention curriculum in the schools.
- Conducted bi-annual alcohol compliance checks to ensure that underage youth are not served;
- Sponsored server trainings for 80 bar, restaurant, and package store employees.
- Hosted a “Meet & Greet” community forum to bring together Easthampton parents, local leaders, educators, youth, police, businesses, and faith communities.