With scores of grants and contracts received since the Institute's inception in 1999, the projects implemented by IFNL are too numerous to list. Among the largest initiatives that the Institute is currently undertaking are the following:
IFNL is leading one of the most comprehensive studies of rural adolescent dating violence ever undertaken in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health funded study is collecting data from adolescents and a parent or caregiver, teachers, and youth service providers. Data are also being collected to characterize the adolescents’ neighborhoods. The results will identify factors that influence the developmental trajectory of dating violence victimization and perpetration.
The IFNL is leading efforts in the United States to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, developed in Norway, is a comprehensive, school-wide program designed for use in elementary, middle or junior high schools and identified as one of only 11 national Blueprints for Violence Prevention by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado.
IFNL faculty and staff are actively engaged in the development and implementation of a National Bullying Prevention Campaign. The public information campaign, targeted at “tweens” (children and youth between the ages of 9 to 13), launched national print, broadcast, and web campaign ads on March 1, 2004. Dr. Susan Limber, professor, and Dr. Joyce Ott, research assistant professor, have provided expert consultation in this national public awareness campaign: “Take A Stand. Lend A Hand. Stop Bullying Now.”
Campus-wide Suicide Prevention
With funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), IFNL is partnering with faculty in the Department of Psychology, various Student Affairs divisions such as the Student Health Center, Healthy Campus, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Dean of Students Office, New Student and Family Programs, Residential Life, and various student representatives.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. This project will build upon Clemson’s existing resources to create an enhanced and comprehensive suicide prevention approach that focuses on promoting mental health seeking and filling in gaps in resources and infrastructure.
Clemson Sustainable Community Project
The Clemson Sustainable Community Project focuses on the use of technology to improve the attitude and skills in the academic areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and in STEM professional disciplines; of students who participate in the Boys and Girls Club After-School Program at Mary H. Wright Elementary and Chesnee Elementary Schools provide efficient access to educational resources, and provide essential technological skills for youth and adults in at-risk environments. This project is a comprehensive, intensive, community-based program developed with active citizen participation in all phases. It calls for collaboration among community partners, curriculum areas, and capacity building for sustainability, as well as a holistic approach that views the individual in the context of the family and community.
Grounded in the Principles of Positive Youth Development, Momentum Bike Clubs provides consistent mentoring support through bicycle clubs in Greenville County to middle and high school youth. Young people and adults learn to repair and maintain bikes and build stamina and friendships as they explore roads and trails on bikes. Some outings are riding for the sake of riding while others are to a specific destination, such as a tour of a museum or a radio station. Exposure to healthy nutrition and active lifestyles are proven ways of enhancing physical, emotional, and intellectual development. All youth need supportive people in their lives. Momentum Bike Clubs seeks to provide that, one pedal turn at a time.
Suicide Prevention among Youth
IFNL faculty has been awarded Distinguished Investigator funding by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to investigate the epidemiology of suicidal trajectories in youth transitioning to adulthood. Little is known about how suicide risk changes over the course of emerging adulthood. This project will use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to determine how suicide risk changes over the span of 13 years and what risk and protective factors predict these trajectories. These findings will provide an empirically and theoretically-supported basis for targeted suicide prevention programs.
IFNL faculty and staff have been engaged in guiding an increasingly visible agenda to build a South Carolina system of quality child care and early education. Activities include: enhancing the professional development system; building a system of technical assistance for caregivers with a strong evaluation component; guiding the development of early care and education core knowledge and competencies; structuring a system of child care standards reimbursements. Although much of the work relates to state policies and programs, IFNL has also led in the development and facilitation of a group in the tri-county area whose mission is to educate civic and business leaders on the importance of quality environments for young children.
Growing Foods Locally seeks to change traditional thinking about community food assistance by clustering small-scale farm operations with a selected group of emergency food assistance providers (i.e., called a micro-economic agricultural clustering approach) with the goal of enhancing the amount of nutritional food items available to the poor. It also seeks to alter the food handling, preparation and consumption behaviors of emergency food assistance providers and consumers.
In collaboration with national and local partners, IFNL has undertaken a series of projects in South Carolina's Lowcountry to strengthen the capacity of youth serving organizations and create a comprehensive, coordinated youth development system. The projects included the ABCs of Youth Work, a survey of program directors and front line staff members of organizations serving out-of-school children and youth; Advancing Youth Development Professional Training and BEST Network Partner, a series of training sessions for youth workers in out-of-school programs; and Building a Youth Development System, an effort to create a coordinated youth development system across four lowcountry counties.
The SC Rural Communities Compassion Project, a grant from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, provided sub-awards and technical assistance to faith- and community-based organizations in South Carolina. The SC Center on Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership, a center of the IFNL, implemented the Compassion project, which included technical assistance to the state in the form of informative workshops, funding resources, one-on-one skills training, distance learning events, and web resources.
IFNL has collaborated with the Chesterfield County Coordinating Council (CCCC) on three projects intended to enhance the capacity of organizations and institutions in Chesterfield County to improve the well-being of young people and their families. The Substance Abuse/Mental Health Rural Planning Project undertook a two-year effort to identify the service needs and obstacles to service for people with severe emotional disturbance and their families, and to develop a strategic plan to strengthen the service infrastructure. The Stop the Violence Project was a two-year effort to increase awareness of violence against girls and young women and to implement a targeted prevention and intervention program. Drug Free Chesterfield is a five-year project to strengthen the capacity of community organizations and institutions to prevent substance use among young people and to develop a County-wide coalition to plan and implement substance abuse prevention strategies and improve the well-being of young people and their families.
Safe Families is an initiative that provides community support for families and children. Today, far too many families lack the strong network of support necessary to stay afloat during times of crisis and need. Safe Families acts as a safety net, supporting families who are experiencing a challenging situation and who are temporarily unable to meet the needs of their children.
Strong Communities, a long-term effort supported by The Duke Endowment to design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive effort to prevent child abuse and neglect in communities in southern Greenville County and adjoining sections of Anderson and Laurens counties. This effort represents the largest grant ever received by Clemson University in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. Unlike most of the comprehensive community initiatives to prevent child abuse and neglect, the strategy is to build community itself, not merely to foster collaboration among community organizations. To our knowledge, Strong Communities for Children is the first effort fully to implement the Neighbors Helping Neighbors strategy proposed by the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1993. More than 4,500 volunteers have been mobilized throughout the service area to prevent child abuse and neglect.