August 2019 McK-UDOS Newsletter


Summer Youth Program 

Our 2nd annual Summer Youth Program started July 1, 2019.   We had 25 youth start and finish the 6 week program.  Our summer program had various activities including in which the students learned: 

Using Clay




Civic engagement


Volunteering at the Chinatown 5k


The Art Institute

The program also provided the youth with excursions to cultural venues, for example:

The students also learned a substance abuse prevention curriculum through Project Alert and Generation Rx, Chinese, photography, calligraphy,  and did physical activity (i.e badminton, ping pong)


Illinois Eye Institute


Also, the Heritage Museum of Asian Art,  Chinese American Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Last week we had our closing ceremony with the youth where they had their art 


Closing Ceremony


Evidence-Based Project Alert Curriculum

MAHA is having its 2nd annual summer youth program from July 1, 2019 to August 9, 2019.  We will have 25 youth ages 13-years-old to 16-years-old.  We continue our work in providing activities like field trips, painting, ceramics, civic engagement, substance abuse prevention education and more. 

We During our summer youth program, we used the Project ALERT curriculum and created our lesson plan to teach teens from 13 to 16-year-old about substance abuse and prevention for 6 weeks. The Project ALERT curriculum addresses the pro-drug mindset of today’s teens and effectively increases their likelihood to be drug-free by raising awareness among teens about the dangers of the use and abuse of different types of substances including alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, inhalants and other types of psychoactive substances.  Lesson plans included videos, posters, game activities, worksheets, and participation from the teens.  It was necessary to have a participatory group sharing information about its dangers in early use, as an adolescent’s body is not fully developed, and the use and abuse of substances can have negative effects on their growing bodies.


We first test out to see what teens know when it comes to drugs, alcohol, vaping, tobacco and marijuana with a pre-test. By the end of the curriculum we tested them again to see how much they have learned from our lessons. We talk about the consequences of smoking cigarettes and marijuana as well as consequences of drinking alcohol. We ask teens why people drinking alcohol as well as smoking. In identifying the reasons why youth and adults use substance, the summer youth program teens identified reasons like stress, want to try it out, think it’s cool, or they were pressured to do it. We have developed some ideas along with the teens about how to counteract those pressures, whether they were external or internal pressures. We provided teens other healthy alternatives can to substitute alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana. Creating awareness about one’s own decisions is a fundamental basis for the project to succeed. In order to practice counter measures, the teens performed a short skit enacting various situations in which someone maybe pressured to use drugs. We also enacted situations where teens may be offered drugs and the summer youth teens were to practice the various ways they can refuse. Knowledge and information about each of the substances and their effects allow the youth to develop a very important mechanism for future decision making, which is beneficial for them and for the people around them. It is essential for adolescents to learn how to say no and to remove one’s self from situations in which one’s mental and physical integrity can become compromised.

After informing teens about the consequences and building up their resistant skills, it was time to inform them of the benefits of not using drugs. Having teens write out what the benefits are in not drinking alcohol, not smoking tobacco and not smoking marijuana gives them a sense of realization of the negative effect alcohol, tobacco and marijuana have in their body as well as how much they can lose once a person becomes addicted

Within the adolescent population, it is necessary to use activities which allow them to use their creativity and skills, practice what they have learned in an engaging way, and utilize their skills and strengths. Having teens play games and participate in activities help them to be active as well as able to bond with one another during the activities. In some activities, we asked teens about the consequences of drugs underage drug use and reviewed the resistance skills they learned when someone offers them drugs. Having different activities per lesson keeps the teens excitement high and the lesson plan are not repetitive. We build teens’ knowledge about drug usage, the negative consequences of using them as well as knowing the benefits of not doing drugs. However, knowing the consequences does not mean that individuals will not do drugs, so we inform, practice and have teens build up their resistant skills in hopes that the teens will make better choices in the future when it comes to alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and many more.  

In conclusion, the use of the curriculum of Project Alert was an excellent way to talk with teens about the different topics surrounding the world of substances because it gave the students the freedom to critically think about the consequences involved in the use of drugs in the short, medium, and long term. In our own experience, excellent results were obtained in the groups in which it was applied because the active participation of the students and the positive way in which they responded to each of the sessions made it clear to the facilitators this curriculum works in opening the discussion of a serious topic, while adding activities to keep the students interested and engaged.

Summer Youth Program PhotoVoice Project

The youth of the summer program created a PhotoVoice project.  They were instructed to look in their neighborhood and take photos of what they observe about substance use and the messages they see about substance use.  They worked in groups of to put together some picture of their community.  Below are the outcomes of their PhotoVoice.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image


The new McK-UDOS website is up.  Go and check it out

We have completed many works.

Please let us know if you are interested in presentations for students or parents in English, Spanish and Chinese. 

We continue to work on improving our social media presence.  With the volunteer/interns we have had in the last semester, we have able to be more consistent in our postings.  Please follow us on Twitter  @McKUDOS_chi and Facebook @mckudoscoalition

There was a training on Trauma Sensitive Yoga, which given Healing Lotus Trauma Sensitive Yoga through Hartgrove Hospital. It provided an short introduction to integrate strategies in a clinical session or when dealing with children and adults who have experienced trauma.  

Internship/Volunteer Position

The Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA) has an opening internship for a part-time or full-time intern / volunteer for the McKinley Park Underage Drinking and Other Substance (McKUDOS) Prevention Coalition to begin immediately.

Coalition’s Goal: McK-UDOS is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program. The coalition’s goal is to prevent and reduce alcohol and marijuana use among youth in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood.

Typical Duties:

  •  Assist in expanding, sustaining, and coordinating a multi-sector coalition in McKinley Park by reaching out to schools, churches and local community organizations.
  • Attend meetings with social service agencies, law enforcement, schools, community-based organizations
  • Write articles to promote coalition prevention efforts and activities to be published on Chicago Tribune’s Community Contributors page, local ethnic newspapers, social media channels.
  • Manage social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook.
  • Assist the coalition in planning prevention activities to meet the aims and objectives of the coalition.
  • Assist in distributing campaign materials (posters, flyers, and brochures) to schools, parents, and community members at events and meetings
  • Communicate /present Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) results and other data related to underage drinking and marijuana use in McKinley Park to public health officials, coalition members, local community leaders, school administrators and teachers, and parents
  • Prepare briefs, reports, policy statements, presentations, and other materials as needed.
  • Carry out project-related administrative responsibilities and perform other duties as required.


Education: Must be enrolled in university at undergraduate or graduate level, studying public health, journalism, communications, marketing, global health, education, social work or other equivalent equivalent field preferred. Or have a Bachelor’s degree in the above mentioned studies.

Experience and Qualifications:

  • Experience in journalistic writing and social media.
  • Knowledge and professional experience in substance abuse or related fields preferred.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, comfortable with public speaking and presentations.
  • Flexible working hours with the ability to work independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks.
  • Demonstrated cultural competence and professionalism in the workplace.
  • Experience with Latino and Asian community highly desirable
  • Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin, speaker highly preferred

Salary Range: This is an unpaid position and can be paired with school credit.  If interested, please email a resume with a cover letter to:

Vernalynne De La Rosa
Program Coordinator
Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA)
230 W. Cermak, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60616
Tel: 312-225-8708

Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 12:00pm  - 1:30pm
Midwest Asian Health Association
230 W Cermak Road, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 

Please let us know if you have any announcements you would like us to provide for our next meeting and newsletter.

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