Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SAFE Coalition Offers Training Opportunities

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition seeks to stimulate community involvement to promote responsible behaviors among youth and adults, leading to SAFE and healthy communities. The coalition is made up of a variety of members from various sectors of Van Buren County.

Being a member of the coalition provides members with the opportunity to make a difference in their community. They can be a part of an initiative to keep Van Buren county youth free of drugs, alcohol and tobacco in turn making our community a SAFE place to live. Another benefit of being a coalition member is the wonderful training opportunities the coalition is able to afford to its members.

Upcoming coalition trainings include:

Cultivating Partnerships for County Growth Through the Strategic Prevention Framework - This training will provide an overview of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), detail the components of the Assessment and Capacity steps, and highlight key milestones. The SPF is a five-step process that assists states in developing a comprehensive plan for prevention infrastructure and supports selected local communities in implementing effective programs, policies and practices to reduce substance abuse and its related problems. CEU’s are available for this training. This training will be held on Monday, June 20th at the Honey Creek Resort.

Power of Parents- In response to scientific evidence that parental influence can reduce underage drinking, MADD began a parent initiative: Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence™ and partnered with Dr. Robert Turrisi from Pennsylvania State University to adapt his research – based handbook model to reach parents of high school students. The goals of MADD’s parent initiative are to influence parenting behavior to prevent underage drinking, maintain the 21 minimum drinking age law in all 50 states, and engage new supporters to carry on MADD’s lifesaving work.

MADD’s Power of Parents parent workshops are facilitated by trained and certified Power of Parents Facilitators. You can facilitate these 30-minute parent workshops in your community after you attend training and receive certification. Training includes a step-by-step Facilitator Guide and Resource CD that prepares you to begin facilitating workshops and training other facilitators immediately. This engaging and interactive training is scheduled for Monday, June 27, from 9 am – 3:30 pm at the Midwest CounterDrug Training Center (MCTC) in Johnston, IA

Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws- National Leadership Conference- The conference, held in conjunction with the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, includes distinguished speakers from OJJDP and other leadership in the field. The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center's NLC brings out some of the Nation's largest policy and public health funders including OJJDP, NHTSA, NIAAA, SAMHSA, DOE and the FTC. This extends UDETC's reach nationally to federal, state and local agencies as well as their outreach to state and local communities through their relationship with 51 EUDL Coordinators in each State, the District of Columbia and the US Territories. The NLC is a gathering for States, Territories and communities with interest in enforcing underage drinking laws and in sharing of resources. This training is being held August 9-12 in Orlando, FL.

These trainings will all strengthen coalition member’s skills in the work they do in the community with the coalition, their employment and/or everyday lives. All of these trainings are provided to active coalition members free of charge.

For more information on training opportunities through the coalition or becoming a member of the organization please contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.com.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition Scholarship Awarded this Week!

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is committed to making Van Buren County a SAFE place to live. They seek to stimulate community involvement to promote responsible behaviors among youth and adults, leading to SAFE healthy communities. The youth of Van Buren County are key to making this happen.

The coalition works with the community to provide information and programming to help the members of Van Buren County understand the dangers of underage drinking, underage tobacco use, misuse of prescription medications, and illicit drug use. Thanks to the gracious gift of a former coalition member the SAFE coalition is able each year to award a graduating Van Buren Community School District Senior a scholarship. The recipient of the scholarship must be an active member of the youth coalition and have shown a desire to make a difference in their community. Graduating seniors must complete an application for the scholarship process and explain why they are deserving of the award.

This year the scholarship recipient is Alicia Schalla. Alicia has been a member of the youth coalition for her entire high school career. She has been active in numerous coalition activities and helped to orchestrate the cigarette butt cleanup on the school grounds. Her dedication to this project even reached national media where she was interviewed for an article in the National School Board Journal.

Not only has Alicia been active at the local level but for the last two years has been a member of the J.E.L. (Just eliminate Lies) executive council. This has given her the opportunity to have a voice at the state level on tobacco issues affecting the state. This opportunity has provided her with knowledge and skills that will last her a lifetime.

It has been an honor to have Alicia as part of the SAFE Coalition and Youth JEL/YLC Coalition, her work ethic and drive have been an inspiration to her peers and she will be missed. We wish her luck and much success in her future endeavors.

Congratulations to Alicia on her graduation and receipt of the SAFE Coalition Scholarship for 2011.

For more information about the SAFE Coalition check us out on Face Book or online at www.vbsafecoalition.com. You can also call the office at 319-293-6412.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Van Buren JEL Group Looking for Donations

The Van Buren High School JEL Members are going to be doing a beautification project this spring at the Keosauqua Basketball Courts. The JEL Members are looking for the community to assist them with this by donating flowers, plants and mulch. Maybe you need to clean out a flower bed or are going to be making a trip to the greenhouse. Think about picking up a little extra fro the JEL Members. If you are interested in donating to this project please contact Heidi Bainbridge by May 26, 2011 at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com. The plan is for the project to be completed by the beginning of June.

Congratulations Graduating Seniors! Attention Senior Parents: Now is the Time to Talk to Your Graduate

Graduating high school is an important milestone in your child’s life, one which calls for celebration with friends and family. Though this is a happy time in life, it is also a dangerous time of year. Before sending your graduate off to celebrate, make sure they know the seriousness of underage drinking. Taking the time to simply talk to your child just may save their life.

The following are important points to stress when talking to your child about the risks of consuming alcohol:

• Legal Risks:
Consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. If caught by law enforcement, your graduate may be charged, which possibly will go on their permanent record. This in turn could affect the bright future they have worked so hard to achieve. Chances of financial aid are jeopardized, as well as a chance at certain careers. Getting caught consuming underage could also equal fines, court costs, and possibly even jail time. This does NOT sound like a fun way to celebrate such a great achievement.

• Health Risks:
Your graduate’s brain is still in a critical stage of development, which makes them even more sensitive to alcohol’s effects. Inhibitions are effected, which may cause your graduate to make regretted decisions. They are more likely to take risks, which could lead to serious injury and even death. Other risks of underage drinking include over consumption, which may cause your child to pass out, stop breathing, and even be poisoned by alcohol.

Research has shown that YOU as a parent can make a difference in your child’s decisions just by taking the time to talk to them. Set aside a moment and let your graduate know how you feel about them consuming alcohol, what the risks are, and that you want them to celebrate safely. Set the rules and stick to them. Let them know you are there for them, and answer any questions they may have. Taking these steps may affect your child throughout their entire life.

For more information on Talking to your kids about alcohol you may contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or on the web at www.vbsafecoalition.com.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

JEL Members Participate in Trainings and Fun

On Tuesday, April 26th Faith Murphy, Drew Nolting, Hannah Sprouse (JEL Members) and Melissa Daugherty attended the 26th annual Risky Business Conference. This one-day conference brought together adults and youth from Iowa and surrounding states to develop skills and increase knowledge of community youth development and the critical issues confronting youth and professionals who work with youth today. The general movement of the day advanced from competency-building and skill development in the morning to a more practical application of knowledge and skills in the afternoon sessions. The conference goals included promoting Community Youth Development, informing communities about the value of increasing developmental assets of youth, increasing awareness of major problems facing America's families and youth, examining new ways to intervene earlier in the lives of at-risk families and promoting partnerships between youth and adult.

On Wednesday, April 27th Carson Schuck, Cassie Johnson (JEL Members), Chuck Banks, Heidi Bainbridge and Tonja Jirak attended the Life of an Athlete Training. At this training they learned about helping athletes be the best that they can be. This was accomplished by examining the importance of a strong code of conduct; alcohol’s effects on student athletes and getting the support that you need to support a strong code. They also learned about what to do once the code is in place; how to promote, enforce and make the policy a living document. This training provided information on doing what is best for youth. The JEL members decided they wanted to take this one as a group initiative for the 2011-2012 school year.

Finally, on Saturday, May 30th the Van Buren JEL Members attended a Substance Abuse Free Day at Adventureland. 52 Van Buren County youth from both Harmony and Van Buren High School and six chaperones attended this event. This is the end of the year JEL event for all of the hard work and success they have accomplished during the school year. All enjoyed the beautiful day and fun to be had at the park!

Monday, May 2, 2011

5th graders participate in “Dear Senior” Project

During the past two weeks SAFE Coalition Coordinator, Heidi Bainbridge, visited the classrooms of the fifth graders at the Harmony and Van Buren elementary centers and worked with them to write an important letter to one of our high school seniors as part of the “Dear Senior”project, a safety promotion project put on by the Van Buren SAFE Coalition.

Using knowledge and skills learned from Mrs. Bainbridge and the faculty and staff of the school district, each fifth grader asked the senior receiving their letter to go through graduation season free of alcohol and/or other drugs and to remember that young children view older students as important role models.

The letter will be delivered to each Senior during the month of May. Each letter is valuable to the project’s purpose and each speaks with a unique voice to the senior who receives it.

Another copy of the child’s letter has been saved to be given back during graduation of their own senior year. In this way, the current fifth grader’s own advice will come back to them. We hope this message from themselves will help them remember and rethink their own best interests and choose not to use alcohol or drugs during the important times of their last year in high school and beyond.

If you have any questions about the “Dear Senior” Project please feel free to contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.