Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exit Interviews

The Van Buren Community School District with the assistance of the SAFE Coalition will again be conducting exit interviews with 8th and 12th grade students.

The intent of these interviews is to gauge the climate of the school building and learn more from students who are leaving the school. These interviews ask students to share their opinions of staff, academic offerings, guidance and student support. Students are interviewed by members of the coalition or community who do not have a direct connection with the students on a daily basis, the hope is that this will allow them to open up and be honest about their responses to the questions. Most of the questions are open ended and allow the student the opportunity to share how they feel without leading them to a specific response.

This will be the third year for these interviews and will offer the district an opportunity to see if there are trends in the data collected. New questions about the addition of the middle school and bullying and harassment have been added to the interview questions this year.

For more information on the interviews or about the SAFE Coalition please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or email at or check out the website at or on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

YLC members promote Alcohol Awareness Month

Each April since 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month has been in existence to bring attention to the immediate and long-lasting consequences that alcohol brings to individuals, families, and communities.

According to the Iowa Youth Survey of 2010 26% of 8th graders and 36% of 11th graders have had at least one drink of alcohol in the last 30 days. These are local statistics, not a national average. This is happening in Van Buren County.

Individuals, families, and communities throughout our nation are tired of deaths, violence, and other harmful consequences that underage drinking sets upon today’s youth. The responsibility to take action against underage drinking is not only directed at parents, but also to the whole community. Parents, guardians, and other adults in the community are encouraged to start and continue the conversation about negative effects of alcohol with youth. The constant message adults can give to youth is that any use of alcohol by youth involves risk.

Youth Leadership Council Members are also assisting in these efforts by holding a variety of events to bring awareness to the dangers of underage drinking. Activities include:

Sticker Shock– youth will visit all convenience stores that sell alcohol and place stickers and posters on products reminding patrons it is illegal to provide alcohol to a minor.

Peer Teaching– youth will be visiting the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms and provide them with lessons and information about being alcohol-free.

Reach out Now Teach In– Jon Tharp along with youth YLC members will visit 6th grade classes and provide them with information on risky behaviors and how to make good choices.

Media Releases– Newsletter, Radio, Newspapers, Cups in Fence, School Announcements related to alcohol awareness month.

YLC recruitment– Visiting 6th grade classrooms to recruit YLC members for the 2012-2013 school year.

Middle School Dance– An alcohol-free event for all students in grades 7 & 8.

Protecting our youth has always been everyone’s responsibility; for they are the hope of the future. Underage drinking is not acceptable and it is not safe. It is against the law for an adult to purchase alcohol for a minor and it is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.

For more information you can contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is continually working to keep alcohol out of the hands of youth. This is a problem that shatters young lives and communities across the nation. Motor vehicle crashes, alcohol poisoning, violence, and addiction are just some of the ways children under age 21 are being devastated by the inappropriate and illegal use of alcohol.

Keep Children Alcohol Free
Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among the nation's youth and it can have serious, often lifelong, consequences for them, their families and their communities.
"Scientific evidence shows that the earlier children begin drinking the more likely they are to develop serious alcohol problems in their lifetime," says Enoch Gordis, M.D., Director of NIAAA. "Put simply, our nation can no longer ignore alcohol use by children."

"Underage alcohol use is a significant threat to the health and safety of our children. It is time for us to come to grips with this widespread, devastating public health problem," noted Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., President and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The extent of alcohol consumption by children ages 9 to 15 is startling, and preventing it must become a national priority. Consider these national statistics:
• Every day in the United States, more than 4,750 kids under age 16 have their first full drink of alcohol.
• Approximately 10.0 million persons ages 12 to 20 (26.3 % of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Nearly 6.5 million (17.0%) were binge drinkers, and 2.0 million (5.1%) were heavy drinkers.
• 40% of 12th graders say they have used alcohol in the last 30 days.
• More than 100,000 12-13 year-olds binge drink every month.
• Ninth graders who drink are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who don't.
• Youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse in their lifetimes than those who begin drinking at age 21 years or later.

During April, talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers. Experts say the number one deterrent to underage drinking is having parents who talk to their teens about the dangers.

For more information on talking to your teen about alcohol you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or visit us on the web at

National Drug Take– Back Initiative

Date: April 28th, 2012
Time: 10am—2pm
Location: Keosauqua Senior Center

Prescription Drug abuse is a significant public health issue in our country. Because they are legal, prescription drugs are easily accessible and often kept in the medicine cabinet long after they are needed, making them readily available to people who might misuse or abuse them. A recent study found that people who reported non-medicinal use of prescription drugs within the past year, 70% got them from a friend or relative.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will be working with the Van Buren County Sheriffs Reserve Officers to hold the county’s second Drug Take-Back event. This effort is in conjunction with the DEA’s National Drug Take-Back event. The law enforcement, with the DEA, will collect potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction. The service is free and anonymous, no paperwork, no logs, no questions asked. The coalition is asking for your help in promoting the event, please let anyone who may have unused medication know about this! For more information contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sticker Shock

Look for these stickers and posters around the community!

You may wonder what this is all about. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and youth from the local YLC chapter will team up for Alcohol Awareness Month to remind adults that it is illegal to purchase or provide alcohol to minors. The goal of this youth-led initiative is to change adult attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors.

The students will visit almost every business in the county which sells carry-out alcohol to patrons. They will place bright red stop sign stickers on alcohol products in the stores to remind adults “It is illegal to purchase or provide alcohol to minors. Large posters will also be hung throughout the store near the alcohol.

“Kids are getting alcohol from friends and family who are old enough to buy it,” said one youth member. “When adults supply alcohol to youth it sends us a very mixed message. Underage drinking is not a teen problem, but a community problem. Adults, youth, law enforcement, and retail stores all need to be part of the solution.”

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition recognizes the following stores for their desire to manage the sale of alcohol responsibly: Boyd’s Grocery, Casey’s, Circle B, Douds Kwik Stop, H&K Pony Express, Jet Stop – Birmingham, Bonaparte and Milton and Moore’s Grocery. “A strong community message is sent when a business takes responsibility for speaking out against underage drinking,” said Heidi Bainbridge, Van Buren County SAFE Coalition coordinator. “We commend local businesses for taking a stand on this very important issue!”

Alcohol has been identified as the number one drug of choice among youth, and according to local youth, one of the easiest ways to obtain alcohol is from friends and family. The Sticker Shock campaign hopes to cause adults to think twice before making it any easier for youth to access alcohol.

For more information on the sticker shock campaign you may contact the SAFE coalition at: 319-293-6412 or check us out on the web at