SMART Moves – Profiling a Proven Program During National Boys & Girls Club Week

SMART Moves. These are two words often heard within a Boy & Girls Clubs setting – but what does this actually mean? Ask any of our Club members and they will tell you about a myriad of different fun activities, but activities that talk about subjects that are very serious in nature. The ‘SMART’ in our SMART Moves program stands for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training. Simply, this education program focuses on prevention addressing problems that many youth face such as drug and alcohol use and premature sexual activity.

“The ultimate goal of our SMART Moves program is to promote abstinence from substance abuse and adolescent sexual involvement through the practice of responsible behavior,” states Ryan Smiley, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County. “The safety and healthy well-being of our Club members is our top priority,” says Smiley. ArcelorMittal agrees. In fact, ArcelorMittal has been funding this program for Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County for many years.

“SMART Moves dovetails nicely into the priorities of our corporation,” says Jolice Pojeta, corporate responsibility and communication manager. “At ArcelorMittal, we focus on the safety and health of our employees – and we do the same for our communities. This is very important to ArcelorMittal, our corporate culture and our philanthropic philosophy.”

So why does SMART Moves work? It provides our Club members with a forum to talk about sometimes uncomfortable subjects or situations with a trained professional. It also is a highly interactive program encouraging youth to be SMART about their future by taking personal inventories and setting goals, asking the question of “Am I making the right decision?,” by focusing on resisting outside forces such as negative peer pressure, bullying and media influences. SMART Moves also allows youth to discuss true friendships and how to maintain them as well as “getting real” on how drugs and alcohol can harm a person’s health. The best part of SMART Moves is the tools Club members gain in staying SMART. This is accomplished through a team approach involving Club staff, peer leaders, parents and community representatives where active discussions and role-playing strengthen the decision-making skills of our youth.

Interested in learning more about SMART Moves, registering your child to participate, or serving as a volunteer for the program? Call (219) 464-7282!