Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

Cabarrus Health Alliance

Second Presenter's Institution

Cabarrus Health Alliance

Third Presenter's Institution

Cabarrus Health Alliance

Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution




Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Family & Community


Cabarrus STARS (Students Taking A Right Stand) aligns closely with the “Heart” and “Home” strands of the conference.

In regard to the “Heart” component, STARS is specifically modeled to be a violence prevention program. As a three-tiered prevention model, STARS addresses violence through systems-level training for school staff, a group-level positive youth development component which utilizes an evidence-based violence prevention curriculum and a variety of enrichment activities, and individual case management services for students in need of personalized, wraparound services. The group-level programming specifically discusses anger management, behavior modifications, positive communication skills, and healthy relationships with peers, authority figures, families, and intimate partners. STARS collaborates with local law enforcement agencies by matching students one-on-one with officers and provides opportunities to have monthly roundtable discussions on community policing and the perceptions that both youth and law enforcement officials hold towards one another.

When considering the “Home” strand, STARS aligns itself well with the mission of involving key members of the community at large and the immediate caregivers to enhance the wellbeing of the program participants. Program staff work closely with teachers, administrators, public officials, and a wide array of community partners to create a broad system of support for STARS students. Through mentoring, summer and yearlong enrichment programming, college campus tours, career exploration activities, and guest speakers from local community organizations, STARS students are exposed to an array of presenters and topics related to positive youth development. Parents and other caregivers are given the opportunity to participate in Triple P, an evidence-based positive parenting program, in an effort to empower these caregivers with strong parenting skills and techniques. Caregivers can engage one-on-one with program staff or can opt to work with a group of other caregivers, allowing them to expand their own social connectedness, decrease their sense of isolation, and gain useful knowledge on how to best support their adolescents.

Brief Program Description

Cabarrus STARS is a comprehensive program designed to promote positive youth development for minority male youth through a combination of system-, group-, and individual-level services. Program staff will discuss the successes and challenges they experience in working with a variety of schools, students, and families. Ideal for student support staff and community-based organizations focused on adolescent health.


Cabarrus STARS is a grant-funded program housed within North Carolina’s Cabarrus County public health department. STARS partners with four local schools in the county’s two school districts. All of the intervention schools have been deemed as low performing, high poverty schools. The students referred to the program are males, grades seventh through eleventh. They have been identified as students facing multiple risks, including low academic achievement, frequent discipline referrals related to aggression, and poor social-emotional skills.

As a multi-tiered minority male youth violence prevention program, STARS utilizes practical models and strategies on three main levels: systems-level training and development for school staff members, group-level component strategies focused on positive youth development, and individual-level case management services, mentoring, and parental support opportunities. The systems-level component provides professional development opportunities to school staff members to enhance their understanding and skill sets in regards to youth mental health. In addition, it teaches how to best support students who have experienced or are experiencing some adverse circumstances which negatively impact their academic performance and social skills. The group-level piece specifically employs an evidence-based curriculum that includes topics such as goal-setting, positive communication, and anger management. These sessions are coupled with related enrichment sessions that build upon the topics discussed and skills learned through the curriculum. The third tier of STARS focuses on a specific subset of the students, and provides this population with highly individualized supports, through case management, parental support programs, intensive counseling, and one-one-one mentoring with positive male role models recruited from the local community. Additionally, parents and caregivers of the participants can participant in Triple P, an evidence-based positive parenting program, provided in either a group or individual setting.

Staff will discuss how strategies utilized were effectively implemented, modified, and evaluated in order to ensure fidelity to the program while increasing the students’ chances for success in the realms of enhancing social-emotional learning, peer to peer interaction, academic success, and reducing disciplinary referrals.


Cabarrus STARS utilizes several evidence-based programs and approaches: Too Good for Violence (middle school), Too Good for Drugs and Violence (high school), Student Assistance Program (student support staff), Youth Mental Health First Aid (student support staff, teachers, and administrators), and Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (student support staff, teachers, and administrators). A quarter of all students are selected for case management, in which they engage with interactive journaling, a promising practice for positive behavior modification. STARS also incorporates Triple P, an internationally recognized program that empowers caregivers and provides them with the skills and knowledge to create and sustain positive, safe, and secure homes for their families.

STARS undergoes a rigorous evaluation in conjunction with an external evaluator from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Program’s participants are evaluated for any significant changes in knowledge and attitudes and are matched with a control group student, who receive both the pre- and post-tests at the start and end of the program. Additionally, STARS conducts a schoolwide climate survey among both teachers and students, which evaluates positive changes made within the school that may be attributed to STARS. In addition to the four intervention sites, two control schools have been selected and are also surveyed annually in regards to the school climate. Since the inception of STARS, a statistically significant increase has been detected among all the intervention sites, while the opposite has occurred in each control school. The majority of pre- and post-tests for control and intervention students also showed statistically significant improvement in the knowledge or attitudes among intervention students, while there were no significant changes among the control students’ knowledge or attitudes.

Biographical Sketch

Katie Dight was born and raised in New Jersey and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received in Bachelors in Sociology and Political Science in 2012 and remained at UNC to obtain her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees. Her educational and professional experiences increased her interest in injury and violence prevention work. Katie began working as a case manager for the Cabarrus Health Alliance, a countywide public health authority, with male teens. She now oversees several initiatives focusing on improving school climate, reducing youth violence, and promoting positive youth development.

Rolanda Patrick was born and raised in New York and attended Winston-Salem State University where she majored in Molecular Biology. In 2006, she obtained her Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. With ten years of public health experience at local health departments, she has managed nutrition education, teen pregnancy prevention and youth violence prevention programs that have educated over 9,000 youth. She is a passionate public health professional that enjoys assisting individuals and communities with pursuing healthier lifestyle behaviors.

Corey Graham was born in Georgia, to a single mother who was enlisted in the U.S. Military. Upon graduation from High School in South Carolina, he later enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte earning a B.S. in Business Management. Corey has always remained connected to serving youth through coaching sports, church teen ministry, and various volunteer initiatives in North and South Carolina. Corey is currently pursuing his Academic Life Coaching Certification in efforts to reach male youth to address the mindset and perspective towards pursuing their education. Challenging them to see the value and need for adequate education and training in order to be a top competitor in today’s working economy. Corey serves as a Case Manager for both Kannapolis and Cabarrus County schools which he is responsible for conducting one on one meetings, addressing some of the personal and academic challenged faced daily.

Keyword Descriptors

Positive youth development, violence prevention, community engagement, mentoring

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-8-2017 9:45 AM

End Date

3-8-2017 11:00 AM

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Mar 8th, 9:45 AM Mar 8th, 11:00 AM

Students Taking a Right Stand – Male Youth Violence Prevention through Positive Development and Role Modeling


Cabarrus STARS is a comprehensive program designed to promote positive youth development for minority male youth through a combination of system-, group-, and individual-level services. Program staff will discuss the successes and challenges they experience in working with a variety of schools, students, and families. Ideal for student support staff and community-based organizations focused on adolescent health.