A school and community program focusing on the positive choices teens are making in Elkhart County.

Our Approach


Survey Students

We use local survey data to correct misconceptions about local drug and alcohol use. We survey thousands of students in Grades 7-12 each year.

Review Findings

We identify the norms found within the survey data. Time and time again, the results show us that Elkhart County teens think their peers are using drugs and alcohol far more often than they really are.

Work with Students to Design Messages

Area youth help create our campaigns by designing and displaying posters and planning their own summer outreach projects with staff support.

Conduct Campaign and Outreach

Positively Elkhart County staff and volunteers educate students, teachers, and parents about the truth of teen substance use through classroom and community presentations and drug-free events (e.g., dances, sports games).

Social Norms Matter

We believe that healthy truths reduce use.

The healthy truth: Teens in Elkhart County aren’t drinking, smoking or using drugs.

But their peers think they are — and that makes a big difference.

Positively Elkhart County is a social norming campaign that aims to change students’ attitudes, behaviors and perceptions surrounding alcohol and drug use.

 The goal of our program is to show students in our community that drinking and using drugs is NOT the norm and is NOT “cool.” Research shows this approach will reduce use over time.


The Need

Most teens in Elkhart County are making positive choices about alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs.

However, many believe they are in the minority and their typical peers engage in substance use. What teens think about their peers’ behavior has a strong influence on their own choices.

Our surveys show that high school students who believe their typical peer uses drugs or alcohol are 2-3 times more likely to engage in use themselves.

Drinking in Past 30 Days

  • When students believe their typical peers drinks 28% 28%
  • When students know their typical peers do not drink 11% 11%

Marijuana Use in Past 30 Days

  • When students believe their typical peers smoke marijuana 30% 30%
  • When students know their typical peers do not smoke marijuana 8% 8%

Adjusting our approach due to COVID-19

Because of COVID-19, we are no longer able to meet with students in the schools.

Just like our incredible education partners have adapted and continue to show a great deal of flexibility in this uncertain time, Positively Elkhart County will do the same.

At its core, our program is a marketing campaign. We plan to shift our work to a fully digital campaign. Our goal is to engage our youth in conversation and celebration of their positive life choices.

We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to implement this program in so many of our local schools. We hope to be welcomed back next school year. In the meantime, we’d love to partner with you in providing this positive outlet to your students.

Positively Meet Ups
We will be hosting meet-ups on Zoom every Wednesday at 2 p.m. These will be open to any middle school or high school student. We will provide opportunities for them to share their feelings and what they are experiencing. We will be discussing topics with them about life now and their positive choices.

Social Media Outreach
We are looking at social media channels and how best to share the thoughts and positivity from our local students.

Join Us


574-621-FREE (3733)

574-621-FREE (3733)