Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence

An Evidence-Based Practice


Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescence (SFA) is a comprehensive youth development and prevention program designed for schoolwide and classroom implementation in grades 6-8 (ages 10-14). It unites educators, parents, and community members in developing the following skills and competencies in young adolescents: essential social and emotional competencies, good citizenship skills, strong positive character, skills and attitudes consistent with a drug-free lifestyle, and an ethic of service to others within a caring and consistent environment. SFA has a five-component structure for addressing protective factors that promote healthy, safe, and drug-free behaviors and risk factors for reducing substance use, violence, and other high-risk behaviors:

(1) Classroom curriculum of 102 skill-building lessons. Implementation models range from a minimum 9-week, 40-lesson minicourse to a 3-year program of all 102 lessons; 45-minute lessons are arranged into eight sequential thematic units and a service-learning unit extending throughout the curriculum.
(2) Parent and family involvement. Parents and family participate through shared homework assignments, four parent meetings, a book for parents, and direct involvement in school activities.
(3) Positive school climate. School staff, students, parents, and community members establish a school climate committee to reinforce curriculum themes through schoolwide events.
(4) Community involvement. School staff, parents, Lions Clubs and other service organizations, and youth-serving organizations participate in training workshops, school climate events, panel discussions, service projects, and parent meetings.
(5) Professional development. Each implementer must attend an introductory 2- or 3-day workshop to receive program materials.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the Lions Quest program is to promote healthy, safe, and drug-free behaviors in youth.

Results / Accomplishments

The evaluation findings suggest that Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescence succeeded in decreasing substance use and improving behaviors related to protective factors, in addition to other types of outcomes.

Decreases in Substance Use:
The results from the NIDA study show that SFA participants had significantly lower self-reported rates of using beer, liquor, and chewing tobacco in the previous month, that SFA students had lower predictions of use of five harmful substances in the next 30 days, and that fewer SFA Hispanic students engaged in lifetime alcohol use, recent alcohol use, and recent binge-drinking than Hispanic students in control schools.

Improvements in Behaviors Related to Protective Factors:
For SFA students, knowledge, awareness, and attitudes about the risks of alcohol and other drug use improved 43 percent. Further, innercity SFA youths had higher expectations for success in school than non-SFA students had. SFA students had greater willingness to take responsibility for personal behavior. They made significant improvements on the California Achievement Test in both reading and mathematics. And SFA students' expectations of future use of beer and liquor were significantly lower than those of non-SFA students.

Ongoing program success requires a school district-level advocate and the district's acceptance of financial responsibility, an onsite program coordinator, continued support for school staff, and ongoing program evaluation. Funding from Lions Clubs and other sources is key--as is continuing involvement of parents and community members.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Sandy O'Lear
300 W. 22nd Street
Oak Brook, Il 60423
(630) 468-6960
Health / Substance Abuse
Education / School Environment
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Lions Quest
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens