At YSS, we believe early awareness, intervention, and support provide youth the tools they need to stay on the right path. That's why we prepare youth to make healthy choices and educate the community on issues such as substance use, adolescent pregnancy, and suicide prevention.

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Substance Use Prevention

YSS Prevention Specialists work to promote substance-free lifestyle choices and educate about the consequences of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) products.

We share addiction and cessation resources, advocate for substance-free policies, and promote awareness events.

Prevention Specialists also present to community groups and schools about substance-related topics and assist in the development of ATOD-free policies.



Story County Prevention Policy Board
Comprised of professional members and volunteers, members of the coalition come together to promote drug-free policies and advocate for change in community norms.

Story County Prevention Policy Board meetings are held the first Monday of the month at 3:30 p.m. at YSS Headquarters (420 Kellogg Avenue). Everyone is welcome to attend.

Boone County Project SAFE Coalition
This coalition is focused on collaboraton to reduce substance use among youth. Members represent a variety of sectors in the community and work together to build a safe, healthy, and drug-free community.

The Boone County Project SAFE Coalition meets the second Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. at 900 West 3rd Street. All community members are welcome to attend.


Too Good For Drugs (Grades 3-5)
Too Good For Drugs is designed to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors related to ATOD use among students. We also emphasize goal setting, decision making and effective communication.

Project ALERT (Grades 6-8)
Project ALERT is a nationally recognized program that gives students insight, understanding, and actual skills for resisting substance abuse. The science-based curriculum helps to prevent the onset—and reduce the frequency—of ATOD use.

Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (ISTEP) is a youth-led tobacco prevention initiative. ISTEP members plan and facilitate activities to educate their peers and communities on tobacco prevention issues.

Tobacco Use Prevention

YSS Prevention Specialists in Boone and Story Counties act as a local resource for healthcare providers, businesses, schools, and community members to help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke; provide education on tobacco cessation programs; and reduce initiation of tobacco use.

Activities in Boone and Story Counties include:

  • Providing education to healthcare providers on Quitline Iowa
  • Educating youth about tobacco prevention
  • Working with businesses, childcare providers, and preschools to create tobacco- and nicotine-free policies
  • Supporting local businesses on compliance with the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act
  • Educating community members and organizations regarding tobacco use prevention
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  • Electronic smoking devices emit an aerosol, not a “water vapor,” that contains a high concentration of ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins known to cause cancer. Source: Iowa Department of Public Health
  • In a 2012 study, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence showed an average decline in IQ of 8 points from age 13-38. Quitting the substance did not appear to reverse the loss. Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the U.S. Young people (ages 12-20) drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the country. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking, which is defined as four-plus drinks for a female and five-plus drinks for a male during a single occasion. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For help quitting tobacco and nicotine products, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit Quitline Iowa.

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Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

Pressure to be intimate can come early in a young person's life, which is why education about choices and consequences is critical.

YSS's Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (APP) program includes age-appropriate, science-based, and comprehensive sexual health curricula for both males and females.

Our programming, which teaches sexual responsibility and pregnancy prevention, is available in a variety of settings, including schools, youth-serving agencies, social-service organizations, churches, hospitals, clinics, and community groups. Individual counseling and parent education services are also available.


FLASH is a comprehensive sexual health curriculum designed to prevent teen pregnancy, STDs, and sexual violence.

Available for elementary, middle school, high school, and special education classrooms, FLASH prepares students to:

  • Successfully navigate puberty
  • Abstain from sex
  • Use condoms and birth control when they do have sex
  • Confirm consent before engaging in sexual activity
  • Report sexual abuse and assault
  • Communicate with their family about sexual health and dating
  • Make decisions that minimize risk to their sexual health
  • Seek medical care to take care of their reproductive health

FLASH includes a strong family-involvement component to support students in remaining abstinent, using birth control and condoms, and respecting other people's decisions about sex.

We support and respect diverse community values through the program's inclusive design as well as the "Family Homework," which encourages discussion about values.

Rights, Respect, Responsibility
This curriculum addresses the functional knowledge related to sexuality and the specific skills needed to adopt healthy behaviors.

Draw the Line/Respect the Line
Developed for grades 6-8, this curriculum assists students in developing personal sexual limits and practicing the skills needed to maintain those limits when challenged.

Making Proud Choices
This curriculum gives youth the tools they need to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. The program focuses on goals/dreams and their relationship to adolescent sexual behavior; knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about HIV, STDs, and pregnancy; and negotiation-refusal and condom use skills.

Making a Difference: An Abstinence Approach
This curriculum advocates postponing sexual activity and emphasizes that abstinence is the only way to completely eliminate the risk for STDs, HIV, and pregnancy.

Teen Outreach Program
The program promotes positive development through curriculum-guided, interactive group discussions; positive adult guidance and support; and community service learning.

Community Education

Community groups can request informational and educational presentations regarding adolescent teen pregnancy prevention.

The APP staff work with youth of all ages—as well as families, educators, community organizations, and policy makers—to promote choices for healthy lifestyles.

When armed with factual information, adolescents are more likely to make responsible choices regarding their personal behavior.

For more information or to schedule a presentation, call the APP program staff at 515-433-2091.

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Suicide Prevention

Nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide, and 9% have made an attempt to take their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

YSS is dedicated to prevent suicide and help both youth and adults find the help they need.

If you have questions or want to get involved, contact Kalli Kennel at or 515-233-3141, ext. 4406.



YSS offers ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), a two-day workshop designed for members of all caregiving groups.

  • The training teaches suicide first-aid to help at-risk persons stay safe and seek help.
  • Participants learn a suicide intervention model to identify persons with thoughts of suicide, seek shared understanding, develop a safe plan, be prepared to do follow-up, and become involved in suicide-safer community networks.
  • The training is based on adult learning principles and is highly participatory. Skills development occurs through mini-lectures, facilitated discussions, group simulations, and role playing.


YSS teaches Hazelden Lifelines to youth through four 45-minute sessions. The curriculum is designed for grades 5-6, 7-10, and 11-12. The training covers prevention, intervention, and postvention.

Students will:

  • Recognize the threat of suicidal thoughts and behavior, and take troubled peers seriously
  • Know relevant facts about suicide, including warning signs
  • Demonstrate positive attitudes about intervention and help-seeking behavior
  • Know how to respond to troubled peers
  • Know recourses and be able to name one helpful adult