Archipelago of Treasures® – integrated prevention programme
for middle and secondary school students (aged 14-16)
- The programme has been created and conducted by people with passion. It combines attractiveness for youth with strong message in several domains of prevention at once.
- The programme has reached a large scale in Poland (over 35,000 young participants per year, and over 10,000 parents and teachers per year)
- “The Diagnostic Research on Problems and Positive Potential of Youth” conducted together with the programme helps the trainers have a better understanding of the current situation, problems and dreams of young people.
- The programme is constantly being improved and adjusted to sensitiveness of today’s youth.
- The Archipelago of Treasures® is listed in the system of recommendations for prevention programs and mental health promotion conducted by the National Office for Drug Prevention, National Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems, Education Development Centre and the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology.
- Evaluation studies (conducted in 2007-2008 in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, CMPPP- Methodological Centre for Psychological and Pedagogical Help, PARPA - State Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems, and KC for AIDS- National Centre for AIDS) demonstrated the efficacy of the program in the area of anti-alcoholic and anti-drug prevention, prevention of sexual risk behaviors, pornography useand depression among young people.
- The main originator of the programme and the person directing both its development and the training system for instructors is Szymon Grzelak, PhD.
- The first version of the programme was devised in 2006 under the project conducted by the Ch. de Foucauld Homo Homini Foundation from PARPA (State Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems) subventions by Szymon Grzelak, PhD in collaboration with Barbara Paź, MA, Grzegorz Paź, MA and Marek Babik, PhD.
- The development of the programme, training of the instructors as well as quality supervision lie in the responsibility of the Institute for Integrated Prevention.
- The Archipelago of Treasures® is a registered trademark. The program can be implemented only by the institutions and trainers who are qualified and licensed by the Institute for Integrated Prevention.
Video in English presenting Archipelago of Treasures - integrated prevention programme
Video with English subtitles presenting our cooperation with Wrocław city (Poland)
A few words more about the programme
The Archipelago of Treasures® is a vivid and dynamic prevention programme for middle and upper secondary school students. Large groups of young people (usually 100-200 students) are gathered in an assembly hall or in a school gym. The programme is conducted by a team of 3-4 specially instructed trainers.
Message of the programme
The programme teaches a healthy and wise lifestyle. We encourage young people to avoid alcohol, drugs, violence, pornography and to wait with sex until marriage. The Archipelago of Treasures® shows the young their huge positive potential - as opposed to their image presented by mass media. Two 4-hour workshop blocks during two subsequent days change a group of adolescents into treasure hunters, where treasure means great happiness, long-lasting love as well as accomplishment of one’s passions and dreams.
Accomplishment of one’s dreams
The starting point in working with young people is to make them realise their deepest desires and dreams, especially including the ones about beautiful, lasting and lifelong love, which not only has no end, but which grows over the years. The trainers themselves assure the young that such a type of love is the main goal in their life. That’s why, whenever, the path of life, sexuality and different choices are discussed during the programme, it is always with great and lasting love in mind.
Adolescents understand very well that it is through difficulties and sacrifice that great aims are accomplished. They also realise that building lasting love and setting up a truly happy family isn’t easy. The experience of the Archipelago of Treasures®, however, shows that the participants of the programme are not afraid of challenges, effort or work on themselves. All they need is a logical explanation that “it pays off” to bear such sacrifice as only by doing so you will fulfil your dreams.
During two days of workshops we pass knowledge to the young about love, sexuality, building relations based on trust and respect. We teach them how to deal with the “tigers” living in the “jungle”, which is the depth of human’s heart. We provide them with specific tips how to manage sexual arousal, attraction (which can be beautiful but blind), anger and rage. We encourage young people to use these tips in order to train their force of character. As we know from our research, almost every participant of the programme uses at least one of our pieces of advice during the very day of training!
Within the scope of our programme we explain the teenagers the most important laws of love. We also discuss problems such as sex and pornography addiction as well as mechanisms related to alcohol and drug addiction. All these subjects are treated with great subtlety and seriousness in order not to hurt those who have such experiences, while cautioning others who don’t have them yet.
An important point of the programme is the assertiveness training in which the participants can practise their ability to oppose negative peer pressure.
One of the program’s aims is to show the real face of celebrities’ lifestyle as well as the message passed by the media. The Archipelago of Treasures® emphasizes the belief that it’s in their environment where young people can find the most important leaders from whom they can take an example from. These include: their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, educators, coaches, scout instructors, priests. We encourage teenagers to try to take what is best from good-hearted adults in their environment as well as not to undermine their authority when some of their flaws appear.
The programme trainers need themselves to fulfil the condition of their private life being in accordance with the content of the programme. It enables them to share with teenagers the experience of their own path of life reinforcing the message of knowledge and values that they are trying to pass. Their testimony is backed by interviews conducted with some celebrities (well-known by young Poles) living in a way close to the spirit of the programme (Tomasz Adamek, Marek Kamiński, Leszek Blanik, Jacek Czachor, Anna Jamróz, Manuel Arboleda, Sławomir Szmal).
Ways of presenting the content
In the Archipelago of Treasures® a wide range of methods of working with a group is used. These are multimedia presentations using sound, short videos and music. There are also dynamic exercises in which a huge number of volunteers eagerly take part, afterwards rewarded not only with applause but also with some small gifts. The students are engaged in answering questions, voting and even singing together with the trainers “The Shanty of the Archipelago of Treasures®”. Humour mixes with serious content, which gives the young people a moment of relax and release.
An important moment of the programme is the Youth Creativity Festival. Within one day, volunteers prepare poems, posters, songs or presentations on such topics as: “Respect towards Women”, “Stop to Pornography”, “The Importance of Sobriety in Love”, “How to Deal with the Tiger of Anger” and many others. After the programme the students are invited to visit a specially designed website (almost 50, 000 entries a year) and a Facebook profile (over 7, 000 likes) and have a possibility to ask questions and seek our professional advice via email.
Meeting with parents and teachers
As a part of our programme we organise an informational and instructional meeting for school teaching staff as well as one for parents. Both of these elements help use the positive effect of the Archipelago of Treasures® on the young people in the further educational process. During such meetings we explain the symbols of the programme (treasures, tigers, star, funnel) as well as the slogans (e.g. “The Blue is the Core”) that would not be understood otherwise. Using symbols and creating a unique and attractive language for youth facilitates discussions on difficult topics among their peers. It also helps in talks with parents and educators.
Upon the request of schools we provide teachers with lesson plans consolidating the content of the programme. We also have a wide range of materials designed for youth voluntary work at our disposal. The volunteers are students willing to live in accordance with the rules of the programme trying to encourage others to do the same. In each set, there are attractive T-shirts with programme symbols together with lesson plans for volunteer supervisors as well as the presentation.
The Archipelago of Treasures® combines the 3 most important features of a good prevention programme
- it support parents and educators in passing on to young people the world of values,
- it is attractive for youth,
- it has been proven in professional evaluation research to be one of the most effective prevention programme ( see: research [Grzelak, 2009]).
The program is listed in the "System of Standards and Recommendations for Prevention Programmes", signed by the most important agencies of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education (Education Development Centre, National Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems, National Office for Drug Prevention, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology ).