Briefly in english

Introduction of the Association

Elämäni Sankari ry is a non-profit association that focuses on substance abuse prevention. Our work includes meeting people face-to-face mainly in schools and other educational institutions, all the way from elementary school to secondary education. Face-to-face work means communication between people, interaction, sharing knowledge, and influencing values and attitudes. Our preventive work is targeted at the end of elementary school, when experimenting with substances often begins, and secondary school, when experiments become more common and established. At precisely these stages of development, preventive work is particularly important.

Since the beginning of our operation in 1998, we have given altogether over 8,000 substance abuse lessons, and during these lessons we have reached ca. 208,000 people. According to the feedback from 2019, 92% considered the lesson versatile, 85% of the youth received new information during the lesson, 83% received information on local welfare services, 78% got means/tips on how to say no in situations where substances are offered, and 78% felt that their negative attitudes towards intoxicants were strengthened.

Staff in educational institutions, regional actors, and students´ parents have a significant role in the alcohol and drug education of young people. For the staff of the institutions, we organize packages that focus on substance use prevention, substances, and expressing concern and early intervention. With parents, we talk about the same topics on schools´ parents nights or at separately organized events. According to the feedback from 2019, 100% of the stakeholders considered our operation interactive, 99% versatile, 90% received new information on substances, 67% received new information on local welfare services, and 66% considered our expertise in preventive work the main reason for our cooperation.

In content planning, evaluation, and monitoring of face-to-face work, we utilize internet surveys with which we collect information on the welfare behavior of the target group. The results are obtained fast and the reports for each grade level and all the students as a summary are given to the schools to use. The results and the analysis based on them are utilized at events with students, staff, and parents. We receive information on the welfare of young people annually from more than 5,000 students.

In addition to substance abuse lessons, we organize different types of events and participate in events organized by other actors. Our own events include Hero Floorball Tournaments between schools, camping activities, and the Superhero Day which is targeted at families with children. These events complement the work we do in schools and help emphasize the importance of choices and alternatives.

The staff of Elämäni Sankari ry include Executive Director, Events Coordinator, Developer of Encounter Work, Coordinator of Encounter Work and Developer of Communication. Second level coordination has been outsourced to a part-time face-to-face work developer. When necessary, we use part-time and/or external experts and employ young people as camp counsellors in summer. The executive power of our association is exercised by the board which is led by Minna Karhunen from Hyvinkää. The values guiding our operation are reliability, efficiency, customer orientation, continuous renewal, and contemporaneity. Our goals are increasing the target groups´ knowledge, influencing attitudes towards intoxicants, enhancing advocacy work and raising awareness, development and maintenance of the expertise in the association, and high-quality and versatile implementation of face-to-face work in different environments.

Our main sponsor is STEA, a funding centre under the responsibility of Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the grant component of which covers ca. 75% of the funding of the association. The rest of the funding consists of inter-municipal cooperation, the schools´ and educational institutions´own contribution, foundation funding, sales of our own materials, proceeds from our events, and grants from our sponsors.


Henrik Norrena

Executive Director
040 535 9495
twitter: @HNorrena