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American Samoa’s SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project to receive national recognition

(BASED ON PRESS RELEASE) —The American Samoa Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) Prevention FaaSamoa Project is one of five programs that will be highlighted at the 2012 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum, to be held February 6-9, 2012 in Maryland. The recognition event, called Voices of Prevention, is an opening plenary that will showcase the accomplishments of this year’s honorees in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

A call for applications was issued by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) to all States and Pacific Jurisdictions. Of the applications received, American Samoa is the only Pacific Jurisdiction selected.

Part of the Voices of Prevention recognition event will highlight these exemplary programs, including SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project, through a short film/ vignette. A professional film team will be traveling to American Samoa during the early part of January as part of this production process.

Gov. Togiola Tulafono expressed his excitement and gratitude for the  successful application that was submitted by the Territory.

“This is great news and how wonderful it is for American Samoa to be selected and be the lone representative of our American Pacific family in showcasing our FaaSamoa project across the U.S. – we are very proud of this recognition,” Togiola said.

“I wish to thank Human and Social Services Director Leilua Stevenson and her dedicated staff for working hard on this project. I want to thank all of the supportive federal and local partners – U.S. Health and Human Services and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) grantors, the members of the Governor’s SPF Advisory Commission, which include our leaders in the public and private sector, all of the parents, our faith-based organizations and our youth leaders.

“We also thank the First Lady and the Ta’ita’itama Prevent Underage Drinking Initiative and its Inter-Agency Taskforce, the Territorial Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup, all the Youth-2-Youth Coalitions, the 12 community coalitions of Tutuila and Manu’a, the participating families and churches, and the Boys and Girls Club of American Samoa and its participants.

“Thank you all for the collaboration. Effective outcomes can only come from teamwork and hard work and it’s a wonderful feeling in knowing that we are doing both and making huge strides for the territory through this very important project.”

BACKGROUND

In 2006, the American Samoa Department of Human and Social Services was awarded $6,565,475 to implement the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) State Incentive Grant (SIG), a 5-step process that applies a public health approach for more effective outcomes-based prevention efforts.

In American Samoa, the SPF model is implemented simultaneously at both the Territorial and grassroots levels, and is better known as the SPF Prevention FaaSamoa (Prevention the Samoan Way) Project.

At the Territorial level the following entities work to evaluate available data and explore possible policy changes: the SPF Advisory Commission to the Governor, chaired by Gov. Togiola Tulafono, comprising public and private leaders, parents, faith-based and youth leaders; TA’ITA’ITAMA Prevent Underage Drinking Initiative is the Inter-Agency Taskforce chaired by First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono; the Territorial Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (TEOW) is made up of key agencies that collect and manage consumption and consequence data specific to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and the Territorial Youth-2-Youth Coalition that is made up of two youth coalition members from each of the 12 Community Coalitions that were established as a result of the SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project.

With approximately 82% of the SPF SIG funding allocated directly to communities the SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project simultaneously created and mobilized 12 County Coalitions to provide for 100% coverage of the Tutuila and Manu’a islands. Working directly with the DHSS, these Coalitions were provided training on the Strategic Prevention Framework to incite changes in attitudes, behaviors, norms, and policies to further substance abuse prevention within their villages, as well as implementing data-driven programs and strategies. These 12 County Coalitions were challenged with administering evidence-based programs and strategies that will address American Samoa’s priority areas as identified by the TEOW and approved by the SPF

Advisory Commission to the Governor:

-To prevent and reduce underage drinking and binge drinking.

-To prevent youth driving while under the influence.

-To prevent and reduce youth use of tobacco.

With its motto of “Local People, Local Solutions” the SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project continues to build capacities across the 12 County Coalitions to implement evidence-based programming such as Strengthening Families, Botvin’s Life Skills, as well as other environmental strategies. To date, all 12 County Coalitions have implemented Strengthening Samoan Families classes, serving 654 families for a total of more than 2,600 individuals.

Additionally, a total of 114 students (grades 6 – 9) have participated in Botvin’s Life Skills classes provided by the Coalitions through the Boys and Girls Club After School Leadership Program.

DHSS Director Stevenson comments, “We are very pleased with accomplishments that have been achieved through the SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project. Partnerships at all levels have made this possible.”

At the federal level, funding support, she says was received from US HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

At the Territorial level, Stevenson noted that under the leadership of both Togiola and the First Lady, “the awareness about these important issues, especially what we as a community can do address them, have definitely reached a new height.”

At the grassroots levels, the director said, “we are very grateful for the support of our faith-based and village leaders, as well as the participation of our families in our efforts. There is still more work to be done, but we are very proud that our progress continues to be forward-moving.”

The SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project plans to highlight the impact of the Strategic Prevention Framework model on our communities at the Voices of Prevention Showcase event in Maryland, including insights from participants and Coalition members about lessons learned and achievements of the Strengthening Samoan Families: Toe Foi i le Aiga Punavai o Faamanuiaga sessions that have been held throughout our Territory. Finally, once the vignette is completed, copies will be made available to be televised by local media outlets.

(Source: Governor’s Office of American Samoa)



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