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American Character Builders introduces self-contained kits for schools, churchescomment (0)

November 11, 2010

By Kristen Padilla

Since the 1970s, American Character Builders (ACB, formerly ALCAP School Program), an arm of Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), has had a presence in Alabama schools, teaching students how to make wise decisions and live healthy, productive lives.

Last year, ACB teachers were in 522 schools. But the number of schools has been decreasing each year partly because schools have a difficult time scheduling around standard testing, activities and the ACB teacher’s commitments.

In an effort to get in to more schools and reach more young people, ACB is getting ready to launch self-contained educational kits that a school can buy and use on its own at any time. The kits will include a PowerPoint presentation with a script, a teacher’s guide and visual aids.

ACB Education Director Bill Day said the kits could be especially valuable for substitute teachers.

“If there are no lessons provided … they have to kill time. If they have one of these kits, then they can use it and it will not be wasted time but something that will be productive for them,” he said.

ACB currently offers 15 programs and is making its four most popular ones available in the kits: Alcohol Awareness; Tobacco Awareness; Saying NO to Meth, Marijuana and Cocaine!; and Bully Prevention at School.

Day hopes not only will schools take advantage of the kits but also churches.

“What are churches doing with bullying, suicide prevention and gang awareness?” he asked. “A lot of churches have after-school programs, and these kits would be a great after-school activity.”

And churches could present the gospel with the material in the kits, Day noted.

While churches could use the kits at a church function, they also could use them in their students’ schools, suggested Joe Godfrey, ALCAP executive director.

“[Youth ministers] can go in and teach it in their schools, and then they can have follow-up programs in their churches, where they can invite parents and kids and then use it as an evangelistic (opportunity),” Godfrey said.

Of course, the goal of reaching students isn’t confined to ALCAP and Alabama. Similar organizations in other states — as well as individuals in other countries — have expressed interest in using ACB’s material, which was developed by Day.

“That’s why we chose the name American Character Builders because we see the potential of using this nationwide,” Godfrey said.

“We’re now even talking about ACB International, translating these materials into other languages,” he continued.

But ACB isn’t just talking about alcohol and drugs. It recently introduced a program called Pornography Awareness to help adults, especially church ministry staffs, deal with the issue.

“Pornography is a big issue and a multibillion dollar industry in America,” Day said. “With … computers, we often have a problem with church staff.”

He and Godfrey are available to speak to church staffs on this issue at no cost.

For more information about pre-ordering a kit or the programs ACB offers, visit www.americancharacterbuilders.org or call 205-985-9529. To schedule a speaker, call Day at 205-985-9062.

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