The Need for Alcohol & Drug Classes

Little is known or understood about the need for Amish alcohol and drug intervention. Because their use often begins with a rapid onset at age 16, rather than the gradual onset usually seen in non-Amish adolescents, intervention may require a much different approach. The Vision Project has conducted initial surveys of younger Amish adolescents, and found that their attitudes toward alcohol and drug use are different than their non-Amish peers as well.

Amish SchoolOur work with alcohol and drug classes builds on our experience with Amish youth, and data collected across time. However, we continue to understand relatively little about their attitudes, opinions, and use compared to the wealth of information available on non-Amish adolescents.

What the Classes Offer

The teenage years can be a challenging time. Particularly for Amish youth, the stress of moving into adulthood includes decisions about the future as a member of the Amish church, and a life separate in Christ. Those teaching them need to remain aware of the struggle that many Amish youth face as they explore the world. Those teaching them also need to remain aware that Amish youth will be using their freedom to make an ultimate decision about their faith.

With this in mind, these classes offer an opportunity to learn about the effects of alcohol and other drugs commonly used by Amish youth and young adults. They also teach ways to make responsible decisions about alcohol and drug use. The classes do this in the context of Amish life. They serve only Amish youth and young adults (under age 21). Parents are encouraged to attend for a portion of the sessions.

The Use of Amish Educators

The classes are taught by “English” counselors alongside Amish educators. These Amish educators feel called to the program, and respect the privacy of those attending. They are trained in working with these classes.

Amish Youth Vision Project Goal

To work with the needs of Amish adolescents as they observe the world.

Goals of the Classes

  • Increase responsible decision-making about alcohol and drug abstinence and use
  • Raise awareness about the effects of alcohol and drug use on self, family, and community
  • Better respond to the challenges of passing through the world
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