The Healthy Youth CAN (Central Area Network) program’s primary focus is to increase healthy youth behaviors in Seattle’s Central Area though Prevention, Intervention, Community Building and Youth Asset Development. In reaching this goal, Healthy Youth CAN embraces the philosophy that to impact healthy youth development, we need to build strengths in families, schools and neighborhoods in a comprehensive and holistic approach.

Seattle’s Central Area, designated as a high need community, has experienced gentrification, gun violence, criminal activity and substance abuse issues. Rising housing costs and displacement of long term citizens to other neighborhoods has led to decreased community attachment, especially among youth of color.

Using SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) as a planning process, a key program approach is the UW’s School of Social Work’s Risk and Protective Factors Social Development Strategy. Research has revealed that the more protections a child has in their lives, the more likely they are to make positive choices, and, alternatively, the more risk factors present in their lives, the more likely they are to make negative choices.


Youth and community surveys have revealed priority risk and protective factors in the Central Area

Risk Factors

  • Favorable Attitudes Towards Drug Use
  • Perceived availability of Drugs
  • Perceived risk for Drug Use
  • Intentions to Use
  • Poor Family Management and Parental Attitudes
  • Community Laws and Norms Favorable to Drug Use

Protective Factors

  • Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement in the School
  • Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement in the Community
  • Rewards for Prosocial Involvement in the School


Using Evidence-Based Programming and Practices, the Healthy Youth CAN network have selected the following programs for prevention and intervention strategies for our target population :

  • Life Skills (an interactive, skills-based program designed to promote positive health and personal development for youth to navigate the challenges of the middle and high school years and prepare them for the future)
  • Project Success (classroom education, group/individual counseling, school-wide prevention, and family engagement)
  • Sport (health education program to promote active lifestyles to reduce unhealthy youth behaviors)
  • Project ALERT (education program that provides students the motivation and skills to avoid substance use)

Other programs, events and activities we support or facilitate are:

  • Hopscotch CD – Community volunteers draw, with chalk, almost 3 miles of fun along a giant hopscotch course across the Central Area.  Along the way are other neighborhood events, performances and a carnival.
  • Community Mural in Central Area Hotspot – Participatory, public art mural in an area known for criminal activity reflecting themes relevant to positive youth and community development, promoting youth voice, empowerment and civic engagement.
  • The Good Vibe A summer concert/performance venue featuring community youth hip-hop, spoken word, and dance performers held at Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park, a Central Area park located behind Seattle Vocational Institute with an amphitheater.  An exciting, family-friendly event.



The program is currently funded by the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI).

Healthy Youth CAN’s funding is allocated for school-based Prevention-Intervention Services at Garfield High and Washington Middle Schools. Additionally, efforts are directed toward other youth residing or attending school in the target area. Efforts are also directed toward community-building and asset development in neighborhoods, partnering with organizations, events and programs that have similar goals.

Funding also supports a Network Coordinator and AmeriCorps assistant, who primarily to further the goals and objectives of the program as identified and approved by the program board.

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