Will Straughan is the Founder and CEO of Soundcheck Prevention Network (SPN) and has taught substance use prevention education to thousands of young people in over twenty states in the U.S. and throughout Europe, Central and South America and Asia.
In his previous experience with FCD Prevention Works, he was Regional Officer for the Southeastern United States, Senior Prevention Specialist and helped facilitate professional development workshops and trainings within the organization. Will utilizes his personal story of addiction and twelve years of healthy recovery to communicate critical prevention principles to young people and generate non-judgmental, age-appropriate conversations about alcohol and other drugs.
A North Carolina native and a resident of Asheville, NC, Will grew up in Chicago attending public schools before graduating from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. He attended Wake Forest University and Trinity College (Hartford, CT), graduating from Trinity in 1996 with a B.A. in English Literature. In addition to his career in prevention education, Will has served as Director of Annual Fund for Montreat Conference center, a Lead Youth Mentor for YMCA’s 21st Century Program, and is a founding member of the Asheville based Americana music trio Red June. When travelling for work or when at home, Will likes to trail run, find local restaurants, play music, and follow Chicago Cubs baseball.
The Soundcheck Story
Why "Soundcheck"? A young graduate student who struggled with addiction in high school suggested “Soundcheck” for the name because she felt that better communication and education could have encouraged her to ask for help. She also knew about Will's background as a musician and that musicians do a sound check so members of the band can hear one another and communicate clearly. Evidence shows that a sound network, or community, in which there is sustained and informed dialogue, positively influences the attitudes and choices young people make.
Soundcheck was inspired by students of all ages and experiences who expressed a genuine desire to be healthy, support their peers, learn unbiased facts about alcohol and other drugs and play more of an active role in their school’s health and prevention initiatives. SPN also addresses the critical need to increase parental participation and education. Soundcheck evolves through our partnerships with schools, as well as through extensive and ongoing consultation and planning with school leaders, public health experts, and colleagues in the school-based prevention world.
SPN develops strategies with each school that "front-load" student input in order to design school-specific curriculum from the "inside-out". When students feel heard, they gain ownership in their health and become active in their school’s prevention discussions. Through a combination of in-person, qualitative assessments with students, and brief, community-specific surveys, student insights will also be the mechanism for clarifying the roles parents and other stakeholders have in strengthening the school community's prevention network.
The Board of Directors and Advisors
The organization is supported by Board of Directors and Advisory Council, who we greatly value for their professional experience and personal commitment to the mission.
We are made up of professionals in the field of independent and university public health research, experts in developing quantitative instruments and qualitative evaluations, innovators of technological solutions in education, and thought leaders with decades of experience in school-based prevention and social-emotional counseling.
We are invested in deepening those relationships and seeking new ones that bridge the spaces between public health professionals, community and government policy, and the arenas where young people grow and play in order to advance the healthy outcomes of individuals, whole communities and cultures.