Supporting Kids

Botvin LifeSkills Training

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is an evidence-based substance misuse and violence prevention program. LST’s primary goal is to prevent youth from engaging in risky behaviors that will jeopardize their health and well‐being. Botvin LifeSkills Training focuses on teaching youth drug resistance skills as well as personal management, interpersonal and social skills, dealing with peer pressure, making good decisions, reducing stress and anxiety, and conflict resolution. These skills are important protective factors that result in delayed initiation of illegal substances, decreased use of substances, and decreased aggressive behaviors. LST has been extensively tested and proven effective at reducing tobacco, alcohol, opioid, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%.

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What do teachers have to say about LST?

Teaching Lifeskills has had an impact and an increased awareness for our students to learn the skills needed to make choices that will help them be successful in life. The research-based lessons are interesting and students are engaged. LifeSkills covers very current and age appropriate topics. The program focuses on skills to reduce drug and alcohol use, increase communication, and make better decisions. I really like the program and so do the students.

LifeSkills Teacher, 7th grade

LST teaches kids social-emotional skills and how to resist peer pressure. It not only teaches them about resisting drugs but also how to get along and make decisions.

Amy Dymond-Jones, school counselor, Catasauqua Area Middle School

What do students have to say about what they learn in LST?

The most important thing I learned was how to get over your anxiety and how to make friends and also speaking up for yourself.

LST Student

How to deal with anxiety because I am a very anxious person who dreads even the slightest social interaction. So, this helped me a lot.

LST Student

Botvin LifeSkills Training Session Topics

LST for middle school students is 15 lessons that are about 45 minutes long and are offered in classrooms. Below are the topics covered across LST lessons.

Students learn about self-image and how they might form and improve their own self-image. This lesson teaches students skills such as self-analysis and self-improvement, goal-setting and reframing their thoughts.
Students learn how to make difficult decisions and solve problems independently using decision analysis, the 3 Cs of effective decision-making, and group pressure resistance skills.
Students learn information about cigarette smoking and other forms of tobacco use to counter common myths and misconceptions that they may have encountered. They learn how to analyze information, check assumptions, and consider pros and cons.
Students learn about some of the immediate physiological effects of smoking and participate in activities such as measuring heart rates and using the scientific method.
Students learn information about alcohol to counter common myths and misconceptions that they may have encountered. They learn how to analyze information, check assumptions, and consider pros and cons.

Students learn information about marijuana to counter common myths and misconceptions that they may have encountered. They learn how to analyze information, check assumptions, and consider pros and cons.

Students gain awareness about the techniques advertisers use to manipulate consumer behavior and to teach students how to resist these efforts. Students learn how to analyze ads, recognize techniques, and separate fact from fiction.

Students gain awareness about how the media influences student perceptions about violence and learn how to check media presentations against reality and resist media distortions.
Students learn how to recognize anxiety and the situations that commonly cause it, as well as healthy techniques for coping with their anxiety, including relaxation, visualization, and breathing.
Students learn how to recognize anger and its physical effects, the consequences of anger, and learn techniques to control their anger.
Students learn how to use verbal and non-verbal communication, how to avoid misunderstandings, how to clarify and ask questions, how to be specific, and how to paraphrase.
Students learn basic social skills that will help them develop successful interpersonal relationships, such as making social contacts, giving and receiving compliments/feedback, scripting, effective listening, being persistent when appropriate, having self-awareness, and conversation skills.
Students learn how to become more assertive and resist peer pressure to use drugs by reflecting on their actions, responses, and the consequences, being aware of others’ persuasive tactics, having a repertoire of refusal responses, types of verbal and non-verbal assertiveness, having self-respect, and planning/goal setting for the future.
Students learn and practice techniques for resolving conflicts, including analyzing resolution choices, controlling anger, problem solving, and negotiations and compromises.

Interested in participating in LST?

There are PROSPER partners in many communities across Pennsylvania. Search for a PROSPER community near you to learn if your community offers LST.