"Emily" the character in the Emily's Hope Education Addiction Prevention Curriculum painting a heart cartoon

Emily’s Hope is developing a prevention education curriculum for students K-12. Our curriculum is designed to teach children the effects of substances on the brain, body, and life in order to promote healthy choices.

WATCH: Pilot Program in Luverne, MN

Cartoons from emily's hope education curriculum animated videos

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Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation logo supporting Emily's Hope Education

Our Support

We are thrilled to announce that the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has come alongside us to help with our prevention education initiative. We were granted $15,000 a year over a two-year period from SFACF to work on our programming for grades K-5. These funds will enable us to create rich educational materials that teach children how the brain works, how to keep it healthy, the effect of substances on the brain, and the dangers of illegal or non-prescribed drugs.

We want to thank the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation for supporting our innovative idea and making it possible to implement it and save as many lives as possible.

Our Prevention Education Committee


December 2022

“I think emotional health is a huge need," said Marie Atkinson-Smeins. "They drew a picture of the weather and they related it to a feeling.”

Atkinson-Smeins has been a school counselor for 34 years. 

"Just being in education as long as I've been in it, you, you've seen what is happening to families, to our society. There’s people that end up dying from drugs," she said.

That’s why Mrs. Atkinson-Smeins is piloting the Emily’s Hope Prevention Curriculum for third graders in the classroom.

“It covers drugs and it covers alcohol, but it's talking about your choices and, and your brain," she said.

Every lesson starts with a song.

“I like the song [because] it's really catchy. And the kids like it," Atkinson-Smeins said.

“The pictures of videos, the music. I like the song," third-grade student Serenity said.

This rich prevention curriculum includes a children’s picture book. 

“I pass the book around and I have different kids read so they can take turns," Atkinson-Smeins said.

“I like the books and the pictures in it, and I like the songs and the videos," said third-grade student Addilyn.

Characters that kids can identify with teach them important lessons on how to keep their bodies and brain safe. 

“We have to educate kids at their level,” Atkinson-Smeins said.

Emily’s Hope CEO and founder Angela Kennecke talked with students in Luverne, Minnesota. 

Kennecke: And what did you learn?

Serenity: “I learned that taking drugs will make you feel different and you won't feel the same. And it won't make you happy. It'll make you upset and angry.”

“A lot of them say, well, I'm not gonna take drugs, or, but then they say other things too, like, you know, I wanna eat healthy, I wanna drink water, I wanna exercise, I wanna sleep. So I think it's just, It's not just about drugs, it's about being like a whole healthy person.”

“I learned not to take… medicine from other people and don't take drugs, but you think you'll change your life and you'll be happy, but it never will,” said third-grade student Callum. “Just make your life a huge, big mess.”

“I just hope that they learn to make good choices in life,” Atkinson-Smeins said. “And that they think about each choice that they make is going to affect them. Like their brain, physical health, and their emotional health.”

Vital lessons these children will take with them as they move beyond elementary school.