Building Skills

The Building Skills Program is a curriculum for youth that is designed to enhance self-esteem, encourage healthy choices, increase self-discipline, improve social skills, discourage negative thinking and promote mutual respect. This curriculum utilizes lectures, group and individual participation, experiential activities, games, fun, laughter and real-life presentations from individuals with stories or positive
encouragement from many different backgrounds. Some of these presentations include bad consequences from poor decisions and offer time for reflection on how things might have been different if better choices had been made.

Life is about making good choices. Good choices that create opportunities for better outcomes in our lives. Building skills helps young people look beyond their “temporary circumstances” and see how the choices they make now can have a positive or negative effect on their lives in the future.
This program is designed to provide truthful, honest, relevant information to our young people including information on the following topics:

  • Abuse and Violence
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Depression & Suicide
  • Drugs & Alcohol
  • Eating Disorders
  • Gay, Lesbian, BI, & Transgender
  • Pregnancy & Birth Control
  • Relationships
  • Your Body, Sex, and STDs

In today’s world we need small groups and our Teens need them more than most. Here at Building Skills we want to give our kids a place to go during this Pandemic and for years to come. A place where they can stay connected, get help or information, and encouragement. We are offering online and in-person groups for ages 12-18.

Positive Attributes to Utilizing “Building Skills”

It is Free! This program is free to the public! It is funded by a grant from the State of Tennessee, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. There is no cost to any individual, the Hamblen County School System, Hamblen County or the family of any participant.

Community Service: This program is approved by the Hamblen County Juvenile Court, the Hamblen County School System (for truancy) the Department of Children’s Services (probation) and ETHRA (East Tennessee Human Resources Agency (probation) for acquiring Community Service Hours. Participants must successfully complete the program in its entirety to obtain community service credits.

Tennessee Promise and Service Group Community Service: Persons needing community service hours for the Tennessee Promise Initiative, college and other service groups may assist the HCSAC, Inc. in the “Building Skills” program to obtain community service hours (Assisting in a minimum of nine classes is required to obtain credit hours).

Parental request for Youth Participation: Parents may request that their youth attend the “Building Skills” program at no cost to the family.

Participation in Attitude Exchange Company: Participants and their families may also become involved in an optional program, the Attitude Exchange Company, a program that targets similar issues for persons needing to rise above their circumstance and situations and changing their perspective and attitude. This
program is for persons ages 6 and up! This program is also free.

Target Group for Program

Preferred participants for this program are youth, ages 12-18, which may be included in one or more of the following subsets:

  • High school dropouts
  • Youth in foster care of living with relatives other than their natural parents.
  • Juvenile offenders
  • Youth with poor scholastic performance/truancy
  • Children of substance-using parents
  • Children of incarcerated parents

Other candidates may include: 

  • Youth with poor social skills
  • Youth with poor behavioral skills
  • Youth with low self-esteem
  • Youth with poor anger management
  • Youth experiments with alcohol/drugs

All youth that fall within one or more of these subsets may be at elevated risk of substance abuse and risky behaviors. Although this program can offer no guarantees pertaining to decisions that youth might ultimately make, many young people that have completed this curriculum have become more responsible with their life choices.

Much of the program focuses on increasing higher self-esteem and a mindset that the power of making good choices is in the hands of program participants. Life is ALL about making good choices; good choices that create opportunities for better outcomes in our lives. In the program, we emphasize that all of us have circumstances in our lives which we have no control over. We need to understand that these circumstances may only be temporary while the decisions that we make will impact the rest of our lives as well as the lives of others!

Helping young people to look beyond these “temporary circumstance” and learning to realize how the choice that they make now can positively or negatively change their lives is a major triumph!

The Building Skills” program, as shown in the data sheet below, has had great successes in reducing substance use (especially marijuana and alcohol) among the program clients that completed the course. As seen below, there were positive results in EVERY category of the survey. 78% of students completing the course showed positive results in maintaining abstinence or reducing substance use.

Interested in learning more about the Building Skills program or want to know where we hold classes please contact the Program Director Emalie Martin at 423-438-8560 or the HCSAC office at 423-748-7494.

Services We Provide

Family Recovery Workshop

There are many programs that cater to a person in addiction, not so much for a family member. That’s why we’re here to help! Learn more.


Our Hispanic Community Outreach Program. Learn more.

The Youth Connection

Investing in our student’s leadership abilities we are empowering them to tap into their own beliefs and ideas. Learn more.


Coming soon!

Let’s build something great together.