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Missing Link helps local youth avoid drugs, alcohol

admin | 3/29/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Nearly five years ago, the Miami-based New Horizons Community Mental Health Center, Inc., founded the Missing Link Youth Development program a program designed to prevent youth from experimenting with drugs. Our goal is that all of our kids reach their full potential and that our kids grow up safe and happy and healthy, explained Sylvia Styles, the coordinator for the Missing Link program. Based upon the scientifically-proven Fairfax Youth Leadership and Resilience program for at-risk youth, the local Missing Link year round program offers leadership and resiliency workshops, mentoring and recreational activities such as taking participants to see movies and sporting events. Our aim is to prevent substance abuse, increase grades in school and make kids successful; in order to do so we want to enhance their internal strength and increase their resiliency, Styles said. One of the major components of the program is showing kids recreational activities or alternative thrill activities in which they can participate, rather than taking drugs or alcohol. It teaches them that instead of doing something negative you can do something positive in your spare time, according to Styles. We try to show them things that are cost effective to show them that you dont have to be rich to have a good time. Since its inception, the program has helped over 300 youth, according to Styles. The program provides activities and supervision on Saturdays as well as after school from 3 to 7 p.m. Based on statistics, children tend to get involved in things they shouldnt after school so those are the reasons we chose those hours, she said. For more information or to refer a youth to the program, contact Styles at 305-635-7444, ext. 5267. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com