HS-level-pairFAST – High School level

FAST® – High School level provides a model of how to balance youth’s increasing independence while strengthening family bonds and communication. Within the boundaries of the family unit, 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 eight weeks, followed by two years of monthly FASTWORKS® meetings. The weekly sessions combine structured core components with elective activities that the team chooses with youth input. Activities are designed to strengthen the family unit and empower parents while providing youth with opportunities to make choices, express opinions, and prepare for adulthood.

Each FAST – High School level Session begins with parents and youth participating in activities as a family unit. This builds cohesiveness and provides opportunities for parents to strengthen their role in the family hierarchy. Parents and youth then participate in separate peer activities to build social capital and relationships within their communities. Next, the parent and youth come together to engage in focused one-to-one time in which they practice discussing issues in an open and respectful manner. The evening concludes with activities that reinforce the importance of the family unit, reciprocity, and ritual.

In addition to meeting with peers during the multi-family sessions, youth also participate in a separate youth group that meets during the school day. The goal of the FAST® Youth Group is to nurture positive and supportive relationships among the participants in the school setting, and it starts meeting three weeks before the multi-family sessions begin. 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 made up of 50 percent youth. This collaborative team is culturally and ethnically representative of the families participating in the program, and it includes:

  • Three Youth Partners, students at the high school where FAST is being held who represent the youth perspective on the team;
  • One Parent Partner to represent the parent perspective;
  • One School Partner, a school employee who works directly (e.g., a teacher) or indirectly (e.g., a guidance counselor or school social worker) with the families attending FAST; and
  • One Community Partner who is knowledgeable about local community resources, often with expertise in substance abuse prevention or mental health and emotional wellbeing.

For more information about FAST- High School, please contact us.