Protocols & Best Practices

The Hero Project: Cultural/Adventure Rites of Passage: NREPP Intervention Summary

Summary of findings from SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Programs and Practices [NREPP] for the Hero Project’s work.

The Hero Project (THP) is a high-risk behavior prevention program for Native and Non-native youths ages 11–18, which is based on the traditional stories of heroes and heroines from around the world. Through mental and physical adventure-based rites of passage, and activities such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, archery, white water rafting, cultural activities, and teachings, students awaken to the adventure of self-discovery. By placing their feet in ancient footsteps they awaken to their heroes within.

Each Hero Project is custom-designed for every tribe, school, district, or organization. The program kicks off with a large recruitment event, called An Epic Day, with up to 100 students. The event is followed by the core 8-week cycle adventure program, which meets with a group of between 5–10 students twice a week for up to 4 hours each session.

The program focuses on reducing risk factors and improving assets in the areas of self-esteem; internal locus of control; increased connection to their culture or feelings of belonging; decreased risk-taking behaviors; longer-term perspectives on life; increased positive attitudes toward school and attending college; and an increased perception of the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD).

THP is based on social constructionist and narrative theories. The program has been implemented with Native Hawaiian and Native American populations both on and off reservations, in Hispanic and border-town communities, as well as with Non-native populations in urban and rural settings.

To learn more about the qualitative findings of this study visit HERE or download the attached PDF. To find out more about Hero Project’s other work or to inquire about consulting services, visit HERE.