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Annie Malone helps teens through free drug treatment and prevention program

"We know there is a big opioid crisis and kids are finding in ways to cope that isn’t good for them," CEO Keisha Lee said.

ST. LOUIS — The Annie Malone Children and Family Services has been helping out the community since 1888 and its SAFER Program is one of its newer programs to continue assisting children.

"We know there is a big opioid crisis and kids are finding in ways to cope that isn’t good for them," CEO Keisha Lee said. "We have a teen drug treatment and prevention programming. It’s grant-funded and it’s free."

The SAFER Program is aiming to lead children in the right direction.

Jacilynn Peacock is the program director and she shares, "In the St. Louis area, especially here in the Ville where we are located, there’s been a huge rise in substance use in these youngsters 12-18 age range."

The Safer Program is two-fold.

"On the treatment side, we are serving kids 12-18 in an intensive outpatient program model. They come to us in a 10-week program model. They come three days a week and we have individual counseling and group counseling," Peacock explained. 

In the program, students have peer mentorships and an outlet to connect with others.

The second part is prevention, which is carried out through school partnerships.

"Inside the classroom, we go for 10 weeks at a time and we build those social and emotional skills in those youth," Peacock said.

Now, Lee wants to connect with even more students.

"It’s awareness for that program. I want the schools to know it’s a free program and we can come to the schools to the kids," Lee urged. 

This is just one program in the Annie Malone organization to guide students to success.

"It’s been really awesome to see what these kids are capable of, they just need help getting there," Peacock shared.