In today’s world, children deal with so much more than just homework and tests when they are at school. Kids are now experiencing higher rates of peer pressure and bullying, resulting in issues such as lack of confidence, drug/alcohol use, teen pregnancy and violence.


A Positive Approach to Teen Health, Inc., or PATH, is a nonprofit organization based in Northwest Indiana that has developed a curriculum to teach middle school students how to deal with these types of pressures. The organization has turned this lesson into a school program called Positive Potential.


The Positive Potential program uses videos, games, discussion time and other methods for conveying some of the decisions that 5th – 8th graders may find themselves faced with. The children also get the chance to talk about their personal experiences with trained and trusted mentors.


The goal of the Positive Potential program is to address some of the issues that classroom teachers do not include in their curricula. Learning about self-confidence and healthy choices is just as important to positive growth and development as reading and math. Additionally, to ensure attendance, PATH builds its program right into the school day. This way, students are not required to stay after school or figure out how they might get a ride to class.


The Positive Potential program is held in schools across Northwest Indiana, including Washington Elementary School in East Chicago. The 5th and 6th grade Positive Potential students at Washington meet every Friday to cover a different lesson, from aggression replacement to self-worth. The Washington Positive Potential program is funded by a grant from the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC).


To learn more about the Positive Potential program or other youth programs offered in the city of East Chicago, visit, or follow @FoundationsEC on Facebook and Twitter.


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