About Past Projects
Since its founding in 1977, National Families in Action has worked to protect children from addictive drugs based on science, not spin. NFIA has carried out its mission with several important projects and programs. Some are described in the tabs above. Others appear below.
National Parent Movement
From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, NFIA helped lead a national Parent Movement to encourage parents to protect their kids from a drug culture that glamorized drug use to them. This movement is credited by the first two directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse with reducing past-month illicit drug use among adolescents and young adults by two-thirds and daily marijauna use among high school seniors by 500 percent between 1979 and 1992. No one has done that before or since.
Inner-City Families in Action
With two 5-year grants from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in the 1990s, NFIA took the parent movement to parents living in Atlanta public housing communities and to their middle-school children via Club HERO (Helping Everyone Reach Out).Atlanta's Public Housing Authority provided one house in each of two communities, Bankhead Courts and Techwood Homes, where we set up an integrated staff to offer services to parents in the first half of the decade and to sixth graders in the last half of the decade. We created the books, You Have the Right to Know about Cocaine, You Have the Right to Know about Alcohol, and You Have the Right to Know about Tobacco to teach parents about how the brain works and how drugs change the brain. A reading program for children paid kids to read books over the summer. But to earn their money, children had to write a book report and deliver it to their parent-teacher pairs. One fifth-grader at Techwood Homes read more than 300 books – and delivered more than 300 book reports!
Brandon's Story—A teenager at one of our communities graduated from high school during our work there. He was offered a partial scholarship at Morris Brown College but decided not to accept it because he felt he needed to stay home and take of his younger sister. Their mother was addicted to cocaine. Our Project Manager got Brandon's mother into treatment -- for the 17th time -- and then provided the aftercare she needed to enter into recovery. She has been in recovery ever since. Our staff collected money to pay for Brandon’s books and we took him to Morris Brown College to register him for his freshman year. Brandon not only graduated from Morris Brown but went on to get a master's degree and PHD in psychology at Georgia State University!
Club HERO—The Atlanta Public School System took the sixth grades from several elementary schools, including one from one of our communities, and created a new middle school nearby. We surveyed the new school's parents, teachers, and students to determine what goals each had for Usher Middle School students and then built a program around those goals. We created Club HERO booklets that listed program goals on each page. Students needed parent and/or teacher signatures for completing tasks that showed they were progressing towards achieving program goals. They could cash in a completed page for a Club HERO prize of wait to complete a booklet for a bigger prize. Program graduates (meaning 7th and 8th graders) purchased to prizes. We established a Club HERO room inside the school for 6th graders and set up the Club HERO store where students could exchange their achievements for prizes. We had family night once a month where families could not only have dinner but where parents could make plans for civic projects to enhance the school community.
Staff for these programs included Harold Craig, Jr., Program Director, Cora McConnel-Sap, Project Director at Bankhead Courts and the Club HERO program at Usher Middle School, and Michael Clemmons, Project Director at Techwood Homes, now deceased. NFIA's executive vice president created the Club HERO program with assistance from many of our support staff members.
Drug Information Collection
Throughout the course of its work, NFIA has amassed a Drug Information Collection containing several hundred thousand documents that trace the evolution of the drug legalization and drug prevention movements in the United States from the 1970s to the present. We hope to locate the collection at an academic library so that it can be digitized and made available for scholars to study the history of drug use, abuse, and addiction in America since the 1970s.