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FAST® – High School Level balances youth’s increasing independence while strengthening family bonds and communication. FAST provides opportunities for youth ages 14–18 to practice leadership, decision-making, and respectful communication with parents, peers, and other adults. FAST – High School level is designed to build protective factors against school drop-out, violence and delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse.

In a FAST Cycle, high school families meet for 8 weeks, followed by 2 years of monthly FASTWORKS® meetings. The weekly sessions combine structured core components with elective activities that the team chooses with youth input.

Because there are a number of electives, each FAST – High School cycle will look a little different; however, sessions always include activities for parents and youth to do as a family, activities where parents and youth engage in separate peer activities, one-to-one parent and youth time, and, finally, activities involving all families that reinforce the importance of reciprocity and ritual.

Additionally, youth participate in a separate youth group that meets during the school day and begins 3 to 4 weeks before the start of the family sessions. The Youth Group provides additional opportunities for youth to practice decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and leadership skills.

Acknowledging the importance of peers in youths’ lives, FAST – High School level implementations are led by teams that must be at least 50% youth. This collaborative team is culturally and ethnically representative of the families participating in the program, and it includes:

  • Three (3) Youth Partners, students at the high school where FAST is being held who represent the youth perspective on the team;
  • One (1) Parent Partner to represent the parent perspective;
  • One (1) School Partner, ideally a classroom teacher for the targeted student population, but could include a school psychologist, school secretary, school librarian, etc.; and
  • One (1) Community Partner who Is knowledgeable about local community resources, and usually has expertise in mental health and emotional well-being or substance abuse prevention.