Friday, October 29, 2010


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has been named a “Coalition of Excellence” in the Coalition of the Year Category by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). The Got Outcomes! Coalition of The Year Award is given annually to coalitions that have successfully implemented a comprehensive plan to reduce substance abuse and related problems at the community level.

CADCA’s Got Outcomes! Coalition of Excellence Awards recognizes grassroots organizations that used innovative strategies to prevent youth drug and alcohol use. Applicants nominate themselves for one of three award categories based on the substance abuse outcomes achieved. In order to win the award, applicants must demonstrate their ability to use local data to drive their community planning process and implementation of evidence-based program, practice and policy changes. Applicants complete a rigorous two-phase application process requiring them to clearly communicate their story and contribution to community outcomes. Winners are determined by a panel of experts at the federal, state and local levels.

The SAFE Coalition aims to make Van Buren County a SAFE Place to live. The coalition was selected for their work addressing alcohol and tobacco issues related to youth. After gathering and analyzing key local assessment data, the coalition prioritized their focus on alcohol and tobacco availability and acceptability. They implemented a variety of strategic, data-driven community-level strategies including supporting compliance check operations, drafting and enhancing school and community policies, disseminating information and increasing awareness of the problems.

CADCA Chairman & CEO General Arthur T. Dean noted: Van Buren County SAFE Coalition exemplifies the excellent work that coalitions are doing around the country to prevent and reduce drug use in their communities,” he said. “By using sound and strategic data-driven practices, the SAFE Coalition achieved measurable decreases in substance abuse in their community.”

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will receive their award at CADCA’s 21st Annual National Leadership Forum. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation’s largest training event for community coalition advocates and substance abuse professionals, featuring more than 100 workshops on some of most pressing issues facing substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals. Learn more about the CADCA Forum and register online at More information on the Got Outcomes! Awards is available at


CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is the national membership organization representing coalitions working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA's mission is to build and strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit

ABOUT Van Buren County SAFE Coalition

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is committed to making Van Buren County A SAFE Place to live.

The coalition is comprised of community members who volunteer their time to address issues

related to drugs, alcohol and tobacco use by youth. The coalition seeks to stimulate community

involvement to promote responsible behaviors, among youth and adults, leading to SAFE, healthy

communities. For more information about the coalition you may visit their website at: or their blog at:

Hall of Horrors- JEL Event

This is a video from our Halloween JEL event. Executive council member Alicia Schalla explains the event!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week, held annually for the past 25 years during the last week in October, is a nationwide effort to celebrate healthy, drug-free living and to motivate youth across the country to choose to live drug-free. The week serves as a great opportunity to create dialogue with youth, to mobilize your community, and to honor law enforcement officers who work eve

Engaging youth, parents, and leaders in your community during this year's Red Ribbon Week and bringing awareness to the dangers and consequences of drug use is more important than ever. Several recent studies, including the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, indicate perceptions among youth about dangers of substance use are down, while substance use is up.

The NSDUH study also showed that prevalence of substance use was lower among those youth who reported having seen or heard drug or alcohol prevention messages in the past year from sources outside of school than among those who reported having no such exposure (7.4 percent versus 10.5 percent, respectively).

This finding highlights the importance of drug prevention programs such as those operated by Drug Free Communities coalitions and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, as well as the importance of leveraging Red Ribbon Week to engage youth in drug prevention activities. Hundreds of organizations across the country use Red Ribbon Week to bring drug prevention messaging to their communities through events and activities. Van Buren Community High School JEL/YLC members are doing just this. They will be providing a Red Ribbon Week presentation to elementary students at the Douds Elementary center on Friday, October 29th. Their message will be one encouraging students not to get caught in the web of drug, alcohol and tobacco use. The members will be asking students to sign a drug free pledge wall and providing them with an incentive for participating in the event. Activities will also be held in the after school enrichment program.

Youth in the community are encouraged to participate in the Above the Influence "Influence Project," during Red Ribbon Week. The "Influence Project" is a new initiative from the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign aimed at getting teens to share their insights about the positive and negative influences they see around them and their approach to "staying above it." Teens can go to the Above the Influence Heat Map to share the influences in their lives and see what other teens in the community and across the country are saying - online at

The three communities with the highest number of entries on the "Influence Map" will receive a special promotional event from the Above the Influence team in their hometown. Phoenix, Ariz. and Houston, Texas were the first two communities selected. The third and final community will be selected on Oct. 31, 2010.

Take time to talk to your teen about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. For information on talking to your teens check out the website:

For more information on Red Ribbon Week you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.comry day to keep communities safe from drugs and the associated consequences.

Monday, October 18, 2010

JEL Members Provide Education at Fall Festival

The members of the Van Buren High School JEL/YLC program provided information to the public at the Fall Festival in Keosuqua on Saturday October 9th. These members dressed in various costumes that represented the dangerous tactics used by Big Tobacco to get youth to use their products. Costumes included; a rat, an M&M, a toilet, a baby, and a cow. These characters were then placed throughout the down town area. Spectators were encouraged to visit each of the characters, listen to their fact and when they had collected all facts return to the main booth for a prize. All participants received a prize and a grand prize drawing was held for everyone who was involved. Congratulations to Abbie Johnson for winning the grand prize!

The students had a great time with this activity and were able to educate the community and vistors about the dangers of the use of tobacco. They have other street marketing activities planned throughout the year as well as activities in their school and at the elementary center.

JEL (or Just Eliminate Lies) is a statewide program dedicated to fighting big tobacco across Iowa. Started in 2000, they have had many successes, including a dollar cigarette tax, and the statewide smoking ban. They hold many street marketing events and are actively involved with PSA's and preventing teen tobacco use.

For more information on the JEL program you may call the office at 319-293-6412

Monday, October 11, 2010

Parents Can Make a Difference!

Did you know…. 74% of kids (age8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decision about drinking? Doing interventions as a family can reduce underage drinking and drunkenness by 30-60%. When parents and kids are better connected, kids are less likely to drink and do or use other drugs.

Seven Tips for getting through to your teen:
1. Communicate before a problem starts.
Have important discussions now, before there’s blaming, anger or punishments.
2. Discuss Rules and Consequences
Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act and why.
Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking.
Agree on consequences of broken rules.
3. Show You Care
Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection.
Tell your teen you love them and want them to be safe and healthy.
4. Pay attention
Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen.
Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing, constantly.
5. Share Family Activities
Have dinner together at least three times a week.
6. Give and Get Respect
When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully.
Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.
7. Enforce Consequences
If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.

Information provided by Power of Parents, It’s your influence by MADD. For more information on influencing your teen please visit

Brought to you by the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition. For more information on the
coalition and their activities you may check them out online: or you may also call them at 319-293-6412.

Monday, October 4, 2010

More JEL Training Photos!

click to view hidden photos.....

JEL members get trained!

Members of the Van Buren County Just Eliminate Lies/ Youth Leadership Council were able to spend Wednesday away from classes and attended an all day training at the Roberts Memorial Building in Keosauqua.
The intention of the training was to provide the skills necessary for the JEL/YLC members to effectively work in their community to reduce the drug, alcohol and tobacco use in youth. The training brought together a variety of speakers who were able to split up the students into groups and work with them more intimately.
A presentation was provided by Garin Buttermore the coordinator of the state JEL organization. He trained the students in street marketing activities they can use in their community to make people aware of the dangers of tobacco use. Also from the state JEL organization was Bryant Hickey, the JEL President, to speak about the state JEL program, how to get more involved and the opportunities at the state level. Local JEL member and state executive council member, Alicia Schalla, also assisted with this portion of the training.
Sgt. Piepho from the Iowa National Guard provided three team building and leadership training activities for the students to participate in. These obstacles gave the members the opportunity to work together as a team to solve a problem and determine the necessary steps to reach their end goal. These types of activities model some of the day-to-day things that the members encounter in the work they do.
Also training the students was SAFE Coalition coordinator Heidi Bainbridge. She provided information on peer teaching topics the students could use when teaching elementary the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Students were given samples of peer teaching topics, allowed time to prepare a presentation and then shared their activity with the group. This gave the students the opportunity to participate in the presentation and learn hands on how the activity should look.
The students were also provided time during the training to begin brainstorming ideas they wanted to accomplish this year during the JEL/YLC program and come up with ideas based on what they learned at the training.
There were 75 students who attended the training from Van Buren High School, Middle school and Harmony High school. This is the largest training that the program has completed to date. Each year there are more and more students interested in making a change around the drug, alcohol and tobacco use in Van Buren County. Be watching for activities in your community from these students as the year progresses. Please commend these students for a Job Well Done!