Young men empowerment class to begin at STEP in Hayneville

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, July 28, 2016

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Special to the Signal

The Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD (COSA-NCADD) is currently enrolling students for its Fall 2016 Young Men Empowerment Academy (YMEA) class to be held at the STEP Program in Hayneville beginning Thursday, August 4.

YMEA is an after school prevention program targeting young African-American males in grades nine through 12 .

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Originally implemented in March of 2016 by COSA-NCADD, the goal of the ten week program is to address risk factors associated with alcohol and substance abuse, such as truancy, violence and juvenile delinquency.

The program utilizes an evidence-based curriculum “Too Good for Drugs and Violence for High School” to equip students with the self-management skills, establish positive norms, promote bonding to pro-social peers, and build social emotional competency to foster self-awareness and social-awareness. Additionally, participants engage in recreational and exposure trips outside of the county.

YMEA Program Director and Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist Antonio Edwards said he feels that programs like these benefit the community, especially with the recent police shootings. “Youth enrolled in the academy learn self- management skills from how to interact with adults, specifically law enforcement, and also conflict resolution strategies in an effort to avoid issues that can escalate to violence,” he said.

Enrollment for YMEA is now open. Classes will be held weekly on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the STEP Program Community Center in Hayneville.

YMEA is only open to males and a referral from a high school official or Lowndes County Juvenile Court is required to participate.

YMEA is a comprehensive prevention program developed and sponsored by the Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD (COSA-NCADD) and partly funded by the Alabama Department of Mental Health in partnership with the STEP Program.

For more information, contact Mr. Edwards at 334-262- 1629 or

The mission of COSA-NCADD is to “reduce the incidence and prevalence of the disease of alcoholism, other drug addiction diseases, and related problems.”