The South Dakota Masonic Model Student Assistance Program
(MMSAP) is the signature or flagship program of the South Dakota Grand Lodge. The Freemasons of South Dakota offer this distinct
student assistance program to serve communities throughout the state in the belief that prevention is the most effective tool
for combating the scourge of addiction. Prevention stops use and abuse of drugs and alcohol before they take root.
The statistics are both alarming and depressing. Each day in the United
States 3 children die from child abuse, 5 children under the age of 20 commit suicide, 9 children under the age of 20 are
homicide victims, 9 children under the age of 20 die from firearms, 180 children are arrested for violent crimes, 340 children
are arrested for drinking or drunken driving, 367 children are arrested for drug abuse, 2,350 children are in adult jails,
2,861 high school students drop out, 4,248 children are arrested, 5,703 teens are victims of violent crimes, 7,883 public
school students are suspended, and 7,945 children are reported as abused or neglected. Research has shown that 1 out of 4
of America's youth is extremely vulnerable and another 1 out of 4 is moderately vulnerable to the negative consequences of
engaging in multiple high-risk social and health behaviors. Concerns and problems concerning today's families and youth are
often too intimidating for families and youths to solve on their own. Research has also shown that 8 out of 10 of America's
youth are in need of behavioral health services and may not be receiving them.
The South Dakota Masonic Model Student Assistance Program is an intensive 3-day training workshop
for educators to team how to identify, intervene with, and create appropriate referrals for students that may be at risk for
substance abuse, depression, suicide, or violence. The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of South Dakota, is
1 of 19 Masonic jurisdictions that sponsors a Masonic Model Student Assistance Program. The Masonic Model Student Assistance
Program is coordinated through the National Masonic Foundation for Children and training is conducted by Newman/Stecher International,
the sole providers of Masonic Model Student Assistance Program training.
The purpose of the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program is to train a core team of 5 to 8 educators
from a school building in how to intervene early and effectively with students who display patterns of behaviors that threaten
their success at school. Masonic Model Student Assistance Program training involves practice sessions designed to simulate
real events along with presentations on such subjects as chemical dependency, depression and suicide, conflict, anger and
violence, communication skills and intervention, family dynamics, enabling, life skills development, treatment and aftercare,
and group process. Participants leave the training with a specific plan for behavioral interventions, and a system for implementing
a Masonic Model Student Assistance Program in their schools. The Masonic Model Student Assistance Program has proven to be
an effective tool for educators as they seek increasingly to make the most out of every minute of teaching time.