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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Schools have historically played a prominent role in the nation's alcohol and drug abuse prevention efforts. Most of the nation's schools incorporate alcohol and drug abuse education lessons into their classrooms. These curricula-based approaches are designed to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drugs, as well as to teach refusal skills to children and adolescents.

While Free To Grow's prevention approach is not curricular, schools are nonetheless mandated partners in the program's work. Why? From the initiative's perspective, schools provide critical access to the families of young children. They have the capacity to engage families in self and community efficacy activities on behalf of their children's healthy development. Schools can also provide an opportunity to establish a continuum of support for families who have received support through Head Start, home visiting and other early intervention programs in the community. This support can be critical for addressing family barriers to learning such as mental health, substance abuse or family violence issues.

A growing number of comprehensive school reform efforts recognize the potential role that schools can have in supporting families and transforming communities.

The resources and strategies compiled in this section include materials that can help you make the most of your collaborative efforts with schools.

Click below for additional information and resources.

Other Helpful Info

Clarifying the Concept of Family and Community Connections

Two new mental models for schools and their implications for principals' roles, responsibilities and preparation

Building More Effective Community Schools

Creating collaborative action teams

Schools Strategies

  National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools

Mental Health
  The National Center for Mental Health in Schools

Schools / Education
  Institute for Educational Leadership
  Coalition for Community Schools


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.