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Embassy Notes

Casa-Nica Connects Professional Director with Nicaraguan Youth to Produce “Keepin’ it REAL” Videos

August 21, 2014

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) and local organization Casa-Nica, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) program, is developing a drug and violence prevention curriculum for middle school aged youth in the Managua area. Modeled after the Drug Abuse Resistance and Education (D.A.R.E.) “Keepin’ it REAL” curriculum, Casa-Nica is tailoring the curriculum to Nicaraguan youth by using Nicaraguan themes and Spanish.

To produce six videos that will be part of the curriculum, Casa-Nica brought in a professional film director from the United States with experience working with at-risk youth population. Over a two-week filming period, the director worked with 12 volunteer marketing and communication students from the Catholic University of Nicaragua (UNICA) and local students chosen to be actors, to develop their skills in film production and acting. Film editing and the curriculum will be completed in time for a kick-off event in February 2015 to coincide with the start of the Nicaraguan school year. The curriculum will be taught to 7th and 8th graders over the next school year and data will be collected so UTK can determine the effectiveness of the program.