NOVA Principles is based upon enduring psychological principles. These principles are included in the Youth Reclamation Program.
The Youth Reclamation Incorporated (YRI) program was commissioned by the State of Utah (July 1996 to December 1997) following a successful pilot study conducted in 1994. The scientifically conducted research concluded that the YRI was significantly more effective than other state funded interventions at addressing juvenile delinquent, antisocial attitudes, mental health, family satisfaction, and moral development. Youth Reclamation was a family-focused and value-based program for the purpose of preventing juvenile delinquency. YRI worked with clients already in the juvenile court system.
Psychologist involved with YRI recognize prevention is more effective than intervention. “A comprehensive review of literature regarding the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency (Mulvey, Arthur, & Reppucci 1993) concluded that the most effective treatment and prevention programs take a broadly based approach which addresses many different areas of the juvenile’s life, including family, school, and peers” (Youth Reclamation Incorporated, 1994).
Preventative programs require psychoeducational training to reduce the likelihood of future poor choices, or risky behavioral involvement. “A number of predictors have been identified in the literature as being significant precursors to juvenile delinquency. Some of these predictors are socio-economic deprivation, poor parenting, family deviance, school problems, attentional or hyperactivity problems, and antisocial child behavior (Farrington 1990)” (ibid., 4).
The primary difference between YRI and N.O.V.A. Principles is the implementation. N.O.V.A. Principles are taught early in a child’s development. Preteens (before age 12) internalize the principles and values necessary to be happy and successful. Learning principles, along with parents, improves the function of juveniles’ and their families (Kazdin, Siegel, & Bass 1992, Klein, Alexander, & Parson 1977). The Positivity & Influence Quadrant Models of moral development are important in the relationship to psychopathology for participants.
Support and training of parents is an integral part of the N.O.V.A. Principles program. Parent training is well established within the clinical literature as an important part of juvenile development (Fraser, Hawkins, & Howard 1988; Mulvey, Arthur, & Reppucci 1993; Patterson, Chamberlain, & Reid 1982; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey 1989). N.O.V.A. Principles provides an opportunity for parents and siblings to work together.
Specific self-improvement tasks are also a part of the N.O.V.A. Principles program. These tasks include but are not limited to journal writing, goal setting, and development of a life creed and plan (constitution). The NOVA Parent Pack is another strength of parent training and the carry-over effect that it has on siblings. Research has shown that effective parent training does have a preventative effect with siblings (Arnold, Levine, & Patterson 1975; Klein, Alexander, & Parson 1977).
N.O.V.A. Principles is facilitated through manualized prevention program with structured psychoeducational teaching modules. One observation is that the Program is replicable and can be effectively operative with reasonable consultation and with focused training by experienced facilitators and mental health professionals.
N.O.V.A. Principles Foundation program reduces youth risky behaviors through evidence-based learning and activities that promote parental involvement. Together, these activities form a strong system of support for youth and parents. Active learning lessons (games) is an integral part of the N.O.V.A. program. Active learning lessons help drive home the main point of each lesson experience. Parents and family members participate in these same lessons through family-based activities. The materials for these family-based activities are received weekly through the parents’ email. By using local law enforcement officers, the program promotes positive relationships with law enforcement.
How the project will be evaluated and who will evaluate the project. N.O.V.A. Principles Foundation has designed a data collection and evaluation process that will ensure that the N.O.V.A. Principles Program achieves its targeted goals and objectives. The Executive Director will work with youth, parents, instructors and educators to collect data corresponding to each of the program goals.
The Executive Director will manage all participant enrollment data and will gather data that is collected by N.O.V.A. Instructors. To track attendance at group sessions, instructors will maintain sign-in sheets. To track participation in Parent family-based lessons, the Executive Director will maintain tracking information.
Goal/Objective 1: The Executive Director will administer a pre-post program questionnaire to all participants to measure their knowledge before and after program participation.
Goal/Objective 2: To track participants’ retention and application of the principles taught, Executive Director will administer a follow-up program questionnaire to all participants.
Goal/Objective 4: The Executive Director will administer a pre-post program questionnaire to all parents to measure their knowledge before and after program participation.
The data collected will be used to determine if the N.O.V.A. Principles Program achieves the target goals and objectives and to identify and address any barriers to success. The Executive Director and Founders will meet regularly to evaluate the progress of program participants. Adjustments will occur as determined necessary by the Executive Director and Founders. Program partners will be involved in this data-driven quality improvement process as necessary and will be informed of any changes to the program.
During the 2018-19 academic year, 11,422 youth from 545 classrooms and 180 schools, participated in the NOVA Program.
Some of our survey results include:
83% would recommend NOVA Principles to a friend or colleague.
94% rate the quality of content as high.
88.6% rate the overall effectiveness as very to extremely effective.
91.4% rate the impact of the NOVA program on student families as valuable based upon observation.
51.4% rank positive officer relationships as the number one result from NOVA in their school AND 40% the officer presence in the school is both positive and important as their second choice.
Our officer takes extra care to connect with our students, knowing that they are in a tough demographic. He takes extra effort to make connections with kids and help them understand the damage caused with substances. I absolutely love the hands-on activities that help the kids really understand the concept.
The interaction between the officer and the students is very positive. Especially in a small town like ours. They see the NOVA officer all around the community and it leads to positive feelings about local law enforcement, plus when they see him the lessons and phrases that he taught come back to their minds.
NOVA is one of the best experiences I can give my students. Every year when we have the Suicide lesson my students leave in tears. After that lesson they become nicer to those around them and care for the other students in their class. I also love hearing about the media fast every year. The students realize how they are spending way too much time on media.
70% would recommend NOVA Principles to a friend or colleague.
Participant Survey Immediately After Lesson Completion (See graphic)
Parent Comments how NOVA has benefited their child:
It brought our attention to the issues facing our children and reminded us to keep talking to them regularly about the dangers they face. It also helped my child understand why we limit his internet and tv access.
I think the most important way that NOVA has helped my child was seeing a police officer in a good setting. Helping them know that officers are there to help, assist, and protect them. It was also good to reinforce what we try to teach at home about making good choices.
My child truly loved the program. He looked forward to the meetings and came home and shared the new things he had learned after each visit from the NOVA leader.
Thank you for the values that you help teach our kids. I have tried to teach these same values in my home. Sometimes you wonder if they listen to what they consider to be an uncool parent!
Participants – 2 years after
Their Involvement in Risky Behaviors
2.5% Alcohol or Binge Drink
0% Never use illegal Substances
0% Never use inhalants
40% Bullying or Teasing
42.5% Anger Issues
35% Suicide or Depression
17.5% Dangerous Video Games or Excessive Usage
0% have been referred to the Juvenile Court System
Youth Reclamation Incorporated. (1994). Pilot Study of the Youth Reclamation Program Final Report. Provo.