Did you know that more than 9 million children in the U.S. live with a parent who uses illegal drugs?* Here’s another drug abuse fact: children living with an addicted family member are four times more likely than their peers to develop a drug dependency. **
In an effort to break the drug and alcohol addiction cycle, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) is funding a three-year pilot project through its Blue Safety Net program, in partnership with The Moyer Foundation. The project aims to serve youth in under-resourced communities who are impacted by the effects of substance abuse by family members. Modeled on The Moyer Foundation’s national Camp Mariposa, this 10-week educational and therapeutic curriculum is offered to children ages 9 – 12 at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services (11th Street) in North Philadelphia. This pilot project will add to the over 400 campers currently served through the Camp Mariposa program in the Philadelphia region.
Learning and healing, together
This new pilot project lets children meet peers who are in similar situations, reducing their isolation and providing social connections in a safe space. Having real conversations about substance abuse, such as prescription drug abuse and alcoholism, lessens the stigma of addiction, reduces feelings of guilt, and increases knowledge about the effects of misusing drugs and alcohol.
The project kicked off with Drugs Over Dinner, a program that invites families to have an open conversation about drugs, and will end with a family celebration. 11th Street’s newly renovated facility also provides exceptional creative art therapies, which children can use to further explore self-expression and coping skills.
The power of collaboration
Independence Blue Cross and the IBC Foundation have supported 11th Street for more than a decade, and the Foundation played a crucial role in creating the partnership for this Blue Safety Net-funded program. Together with the Moyer Foundation, and 11th Street, we’re working to break the traumatic cycle of addiction, empower children to lead healthier lives, and in turn, transform their communities. By combining our unique expertise in a common mission, we’re bringing the best services to the children who need it most.
*Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
†Source: Foundation for a Drug Free World