Programs and Services
The Premise of the Operation Aware Program:
Bringing out the Best in our Kids
Operation Aware is a Tulsa-based non-profit, established in 1979, dedicated to helping young people make positive life choices. Through classroom lessons, we teach about 11,000 young people each year about goal setting, friends, bullying, the risk of substance use and abuse, and relationships. These issues are critical for a healthy population, particularly in Oklahoma. About 25,000 adolescents in our state reported using illicit drugs and about 66,000 adolescents reported binge alcohol use within the month prior to being surveyed, and Oklahoma’s percentage of cigarette use among adolescents is higher than the national average (Governmental Statistics, “Behavioral Health Barometer, Oklahoma 2015”). Additionally, Oklahoma has the second highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation (Oklahoma Policy Institute, 2016). Our program is designed to addresses these statistics.
Operation Aware offers research-based character education programs that teach young people to:
- Develop positive self-esteem through responsible behavior
- Assume responsibility for their actions
- Respect the rights of others
- Work cooperatively with others
- Develop decision-making and problem-solving skills
- Use self-discipline to achieve goals
- Resist negative peer pressure.
Prevention Education is a smart investment. In a report published by the federal agency SAMHSA, the government estimated that prevention education, if implemented nationwide, would reduce substance abuse initiation for 1.5 million youth and be delayed for two years on average. A delay in starting substance abuse is well established to reduce problems later in life (“Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis”, 2008). Addiction is estimated to cost Oklahoma 7.2 billion dollars per year (NewsOK, 2012). Prevention education “could save an estimated $18 per $1 invested if implemented nationwide” (“Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis”, 2008).
Our professional Prevention Educators teach students throughout the Tulsa metro area how to resist peer pressure and make positive decisions, moving them away from negative, high risk behaviors. Below we identify universal district goals, and indicate how Operation Aware is poised to work within your existing framework.
Young people can have difficulty managing their own behaviors. At Operation Aware, we are encouraging self-management by helping students to think about how they are in control to make their own decisions that will impact their futures. In the pre-test, 75% of surveyed 7th graders said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I have a say in what happens in my life, and I voice my opinions.” In the post-test, 88% of students agreed (51%) or strongly agreed (40%). Through taking responsibility for “what happens in my life,” young people learn self-management and personal responsibility.
The guiding metaphor of the Operation Aware curricula is the “Road of Life” where students are encouraged to think about where they want their life to lead and how to avoid dangerous detours. When asked, “I believe I have control to direct my ‘Road of Life’” in the pre-test, nearly 15% of 7th grade surveyed students disagreed or strongly disagreed. But after participating in Operation Aware, only 4% of students felt that way. Indeed, whereas 36% of students strongly agreed that they could control their futures in the pre-test, 60% strongly agreed after participating in Operation Aware.
We believe that young people should understand that they have control over their futures, and the self-awareness to understand that their decisions today affect their future tomorrow.
A large part of our curriculum focuses on bullying and fostering positive relationships. In our pre- and post-testing of fourth graders, we observed a 26% improvement in answers about bullying after the students had Operation Aware. Also, students better understood the concept of empathy after taking Operation Aware (a 14% improvement).
Peer pressure and negative friendships have a tremendous impact on the behaviors of young people. Operation Aware’s curriculum teaches young people how to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships and specific behavioral techniques to resist negative peer pressure. Although we are not a sex education curriculum, we help young people learn how to navigate relationships in a way that will lead to a future they are excited about. We feel this is an important, and sometimes missing component of sex education programs, which can help people make empowered decisions about their futures.
Our evaluation tool includes an open-ended student-response section. Typical 7th grade student comments referenced Operation Aware’s “Road of Life” metaphor. For example, students responded, “I will remember that you must act upon what path you want to go on through life,” “I will remember to be careful with my choices,” “I will remember to consider my choices now, for it will affect my future,” and “Your decisions create your future.” Young people can make good decisions when they learn, as a skill, that their actions matter in the present and in the future. We help young people imagine their ideal future, and help them understand that their future depends on responsible decision making todayWe believe in celebrating young people – and helping them develop the knowledge and life skills to practice responsible behavior. Operation Aware programs teach students the importance of respect and dignity – for themselves, for fellow classmates and teachers, for their family and for the community.
Methodologies: Prevention Education that Works
Operation Aware has partnered with parents and schools for more than 25 years to offer programs that help children and teens succeed in school and for the rest of their lives. We utilize the latest and best-researched practices to deliver up-to-date social and emotional education through:
- Class discussion
- Lesson-teaching stories
- Teacher modeling
- Planned reinforcement
- Transfer of learning
- Role playing of resistance techniques
- Video presentations
- Field trips
- Parent meetings
- After-school programs
Operation Aware provides documentation to parents, families and schools on the information we teach students. This information comes in the form of a Family Guide. We provide this documentation in both English and Spanish.
Operation Aware serves children and teens in pre-K through 12th grade across northeastern Oklahoma. Our prevention educators facilitate 8-week in-school curriculums.
For every aspect of prevention education, Operation Aware offers best-in-class products and services to enhance your organization’s mission. We use a consultative approach: first understanding customer needs, then applying the appropriate programs and services to the customer's specific situation.
Our goal is to provide the best solution for you.
Working with Youth is Our Specialty
The Operation Aware CORE program (Traditional Program) provides a comprehensive curriculum educating students in grades three through high school on how to make positive choices. Students learn to:
- Develop strong self esteem
- Deal with bullying
- Manage anger
- Communicate effectively with peers, parents, and other adults
- Make decisions
- Set goals
- Build positive relationships
- Develop personal responsibility
- Employ strategies to avoid drug, alcohol and tobacco use
The CORE program meets with students once a week for eight weeks. The curriculum is delivered in 40-45 minute sessions for third through fifth grades and 45-55 minute sessions for sixth through the high school grades.
Cick here for more information about the CORE Program.
The Second Step Program: A Violence Prevention Curriculum © Committee for Children, Seattle, WA.
All Operation Aware Prevention Educators are fully certified in the Second Step Program, an award-winning integration of academics with social and emotional learning. We offer the eight-week program in 20-30 minute sessions for pre-K through 3rd grades and 40-45 minute sessions for 4th and 5th grades. Children learn and practice important skills, such as anger management, cooperation, respectful behavior, and problem solving. These skills help decrease students' negative and violent behaviors - fighting, name-calling, and sterotyping - helping to return the focus of classroom time to where it belongs: learning.
Children also learn to recognize and respect people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and ethnicities. These essential life skills will help students in the classroom, on the playground, and at home.
Classes are currently booked each quarter; each new school year is the start of a new contract period. Contact us for information about the current or next academic year.
After-School Program: "It's Great to be Me"
Operation Aware uses a variety of hands-on, interactive techniques in an 8-week series of hour-long self discovery workshops. Kids will learn to articulate and deal positively with their feelings, build strong verbal and non-verbal skills, explore issues and develop personal strategies that will help them make positive choices. This program is ideal for the 21st Century grantee. This program is targeted to grades 3-5.
Operation Aware is ready to be your go to resource! We are available to facilitate presentations for after school programs, youth groups, or other organizations. We will work with you to cater the presentation to what your needs are. For more information please contact Mackenzie Staples at 918-582-7884 ext,102