In 1981, Project 714 was founded to address drug abuse in one Chattanooga high school. The organization evolved into STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand), a single-focus provider of substance abuse prevention and intervention mentorship programs. We learned that much destructive behavior is part of an overall problem in the lives of students – moral confusion, a lack of positive core values, and the absence of a coordinated system of assistance from trusted adults.
We began to develop materials, curricula and support programs to teach good character traits, basic civic virtues, and habits for healthy living. Word of our programs quickly spread to schools outside Hamilton County, TN generating a national constituency and a new name – National Center for Youth Issues. Today, we are known as one of the primary resources for character education and life-skills development materials, training and services. More than 35,000 schools across the country have used materials and services provided by NCYI, influencing the lives of over twelve million children and youth. One of our guiding principles is captured in the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said, “to educate a person in mind and not in morals is to create a menace to society.”
Our goal is to uphold sound virtues as a model for young people in their daily lives; to craft our materials and services with time-honored, research-based principles, written in a format acceptable and welcome in public schools; and to act as a beacon, shining the light of virtue and illuminating the benefits of making positive, healthy choices into the classrooms of America.