Why We Incorporate SEL Into Prevention Education

By Naomi DeSantis, Prevention Education Specialist

Here at Herren Project, we take a comprehensive approach to the prevention, treatment, and recovery of the disease of addiction. We look at the individual who not only needs help during their journey to sobriety but also help with their mental health and well-being. When we carry this concept over as we work to develop activities for our Herren Project Clubs, it just makes sense to link SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Standards to each activity!

You might be asking, but why?

It is essential to incorporate these standards into Herren Project Club activities to integrate social-emotional learning as a critical component to eliminate risk factors for youth; that’s why, as Herren Project’s Prevention Education Specialist, I am passionate about this topic. One major reason is that currently, in our country, post-pandemic, we are seeing a rise in children struggling socially and emotionally. The isolation was hard on us all, but our children were especially vulnerable as many missed out on being in a social setting during critical social-emotional development. Because of this, there is a nationwide push to increase SEL in schools across all grade levels. Schools currently use Herren Project Clubs to expand exposure to prevention and SEL during in-school and out-of-school time.

When we help our youth develop SEL skills, they become more comfortable with who they are and gain the ability to interact with others respectfully, show empathy and sympathy, and pride in their accomplishments. By incorporating SEL into our activities and aligning them with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Core Competencies, we stay abreast of the current trends in schools, out-of-school time programs, and the Federal level. We hope that by engaging youth in regular SEL practice, they will be able to develop healthy coping strategies that will follow them into adulthood, reducing the misuse of substances and thereby preventing the disease of addiction. We are also giving our youth the tools they need to feel confident in themselves and, in turn, help them to embrace the Herren Projects message of, Be You!

“Students thrive when they’re supported by a network of adults working together to create a supportive environment. Community organizations have a key role to play in this effort, partnering with schools and families to extend the experience of SEL through opportunities for trusting relationships with adults and enriching out-of-school time (OST) experiences” – CASEL

Check out the links below to learn more about CASEL, its core competencies, and the importance of SEL in out-of-school time programs.

What is the CASEL Framework?

SEL in Communities

Herren Project Clubs is a school-based, evidence-informed prevention and wellness program designed by prevention specialists, clinicians, and school counselors to empower students to live substance-free while creating a peer network in schools. Its goal is to provide tools to strengthen social-emotional learning and coping skills to make healthy choices and live fulfilling lives.

Learn more about Herren Project Clubs and register to start a club at your school.