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Culture-Based Prevention Programming for African American Youth

African-Centered Model of Culturally Specific Alcohol, Tobacco
and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention Youth Practices

Alcohol and marijuana continue to be the leading substances of choice for inner city, African American youth.

Risk-taking behavior increases when combined with alcohol and marijuana use and the use and abuse of these and other substances have resulted in higher rates of student dropout and lower educational attainment; higher unemployment and poorer employment outcomes; increased birth defects and infant mortality; child abuse and parental neglect; disintegration of families; increased suicide attempts and completed suicides; higher rates of criminal activity and incarceration (particularly of African American males); and higher prevalence of HIV and AIDS.

To address this problem in our community, Dr. Wade Nobles, in his “The Culture of Drugs in the Black Community’ reminds us that “we can’t use the theories, models, or interpretations of anyone else to even correct the problems that we experience…that are in fact, problems that other folk experience; we can’t grab some other person’s notion of what works and apply it to the African American community.” He goes on to issue the challenge to us that “we must build programs, interventions, and curricula upon something that reflects our own base, models that have integrity, that have not been contaminated.”

The Winners Sankofa Program introduces an evidence-driven, African-centered model for ATOD youth prevention practice that aims to counter the deleterious effects of poverty, school failure, substance abuse, incarceration, and the environmental context of racism and systemic marginalization in American society.    

Using African American Culture to Assist Black Children in gaining tools needed to succeed 
Focusing on developing  critical thinking prowess and writing skills using culturally sensitive strategies
Delivering cultural relevant classroom and after-school activities to several program sites through Los Angeles

Dynamic. Results Driven. Forward-thinking.


The Winners Sankofa Intervention is evidence-driven and is a community-driven evidence-based (CDE) program. Evidence-based refers to scientifically tested programs that meet rigid criteria to achieve the scientifically tested label.
The theories which form the basis of the intervention are grounded in research and the findings of investigators examining the relationship between racial identity and substance use and school performance. 
A program evaluation and analysis of program data collected from 2008 to 2018 examined the impact of an ATOD prevention program for 1,255 African American and Latino youth in Central Los Angeles.


Self Identity


Volumes 1 - 3

Self Identity

After School 

Leadership Development

Volume 4

Mental Liberation: Africa & Diaspora

Volume 13

Latino Identity


Volume 6

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