Monday, July 29, 2013

Come Enjoy the Carnival

August 1st — 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The Child Abuse Prevention Council will be sponsoring the eighth annual “Safe and Healthy” Kids Fair. The event will take place on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at the Roberts Memorial Building in Keosauqua from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and is open to all Van Buren County residents.
The fair theme this year will be a Carnival with many fun games and activities for kids.  As always the fair will focus on keeping kids, ages 0-18 in the county safe and healthy.  Topics that will be covered include: child abuse prevention, nutrition, mental health, dental, immunizations, lead poisoning, fire safety, literacy, quality child care and preschools, parenting skills, and many more. Last year 35-40 exhibitors participated in the fair.

All school-aged children K-8 from Van Buren Community Schools, Harmony Community Schools and home-schooled children will receive free school supplies. Handouts promoting health and safety will be given to each child as well as other community services. Prizes and backpacks will be earned by the children participating in carnival activities at the various vendors’ booths.  A raffle will also take place where prizes will be given away being donated by the various vendors. 

This event promotes the many resources we have available to the children of Van Buren County. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer please call 319-293-7157.

Van Buren County Youth Attend CADCA Mid-Year

Cassie Johnson, Cierstynn Welcher and Lydia Heald at the NYLI Conference!
Van Buren County SAFE Coalition along with more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists from across the country convened in Austin, Texas last week for CADCA’s 2013 Mid-Year Training Institute, where they gained new skills to tackle their community’s drug and crime problems.

This one-of-a-kind intensive training opportunity offered participants more than 75 half-day and full-day courses on a wide range of topics – everything from how to address prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs to how to create tobacco-free environments and develop policies to reduce marijuana use and underage drinking.

Youth Leadership Members Cassie Johnson and Cierstynn Welcher were a part of the National Youth Leadership Initiative that took place as part of the Midyear event.  Cassie said “The NYLI in Austin was an amazing experience, we learned so much about the process and the steps to making changes in our community. The process we learned can easily be taken and used for everyday life. There is so much I want to use and implement in our community and school. I got so many ideas from hearing from other coalitions. There were over 300 youth and their mentors in attendance for this event and we became a sort of unique family in the 4 days we were there. The trainers and facilitators were inspirational and motivated in their jobs and tasks. I definitely hope we continue to be able to bring Van Buren YLC members to this conference”.

Cierstynn also felt that the conference was a valuable experience. She stated “At the CADCA NYLI conference I learned what it takes to be a leader, what it means and how many people depend on you. To be a leader you need vision, determination, integrity, altruism, courage, collaboration, and cultural competency so you can make a community change.  I’ve had a chance to meet amazing people from all over the nation to see what coalitions are really trying to change. The people I’ve met at CADCA are friends I will have for a lifetime. I would like to thank the people who funded my trip and the trainers.”

SAFE Coalition member Julie Chapuis also attended the training with the Youth Leadership Council Members and was able to be a part of the NYLI conversation. She saw how important this training is not only for this work but how it can be used in all aspects of their lives. “I love that CADCA is teaching our youth transferable skills which can be incorporated into their lives and serve them for years to come” stated Chapuis.

Also attending the CADCA Conference was SAFE Coalition director, Heidi Bainbridge, she served as a CADCA trainer, training two sessions during the event as well as conducting Personal Technical Assistance Sessions throughout the week. YLC member Lydia Heald also served as a CADCA Youth Facilitator for the event, training the NYLI advanced session over the 4 days.
The Mid-Year offered something for everyone, whether the coalition leader was new to the substance abuse prevention field or a veteran of this field. Van Buren County representatives came back energized with information and eager to make community changes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Van Buren County Should Care About Having Drug-Free Workplaces

Drug-Free Workplaces are important because substance abuse in the workplace is a widespread problem.  Alcohol and other drug abuse is widespread in our society.  It affects us all in many ways.  Although national, state and local efforts have begun to show encouraging results, the problem of alcohol and other drug abuse remains a serious problem.  No workplace is immune.  According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 74.9 percent of all adult illicit drug users are employed full or part time.  It was also found in this same survey that most binge and heavy alcohol users are also employed full or part time.

Substance abusing employees often do not make good employees.  Studies show that, compared with non-substance abusers, they are more likely to change jobs frequently; be late to or absent from work; be less productive employees; be involved in a workplace accident and file a workers’ compensation claim. 

Workplace substance abuse can also have a serious effect on people other than the abuser.  For example, some studies ( suggest that working alongside a substance abuser can reduce non-abusers’ morale and productivity.  It also is quite common for substance abusing workers who are involved in workplace accidents to injure other people (rather than themselves), especially if they work in safety-sensitive industries, such as the transportation or construction industry. 

Employers who have implemented drug-free workplace programs have important experiences to share (Joel Bennett and Wayne E.K. Lehman. 2003. Preventing Workplace Substance Abuse: Beyond Drug Testing to Wellness. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.):
·   Employers with successful drug-free workplace programs report improvements in morale and productivity and decreases in absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover and theft.
·   Employers with longstanding programs report better health status among, and decreased use of medical benefits by, many employees and family members.
·   Some organizations with drug-free workplace programs qualify for incentives, such as decreased costs for workers’ compensation and other kinds of insurance. (U.S. Department of Labor. “Florida State Law: Drug Free Workplace Act.”)
·   Employers find that employees, employee representatives and unions often welcome drug-free workplace programs.  If employers do not have a program the employees may be wondering why.  (Robert R. Bonds and Effie Bastes. 1999. “A Peer-Professional Team Intervention Approach in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Problems in the Workplace.” Paper presented at the International Union of Railways World Conference on Occupational Health and Safety, September 23.)

The Collaboration between SEIDA, Southeast Iowa Occupational Health Services and Van Buren County SAFE Coalition would like to encourage all Van Buren County residents, workers and businesses to find out the facts about Drug-Free Workplaces and be informed.  If you are interested in implementing a Drug-Free Workplace Policy at your business please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Monday, July 15, 2013

Teens Selected to attend CADCA’s Midyear Training Institute in Austin, TX

Three Van Buren County Teens have been selected to attend the CADCA’s Midyear Training Institute and the National Youth Leadership Initiative Experience. This event is being held in Austin, TX July 22-25th. Cassie Johnson and Cierstynn Welcher, both Van Buren High School students, were selected by a team of adult SAFE Coalition members who reviewed all applications submitted for the event. Their applications were rated the highest and were given the honor of attending this year. Along with these two youth Lydia Heald will be attending the event as a Youth Facilitator for NYLI’s advanced track.

CADCA's NYLI Experience is built on the framework of the National Coalition Institute's National Coalition Academy. In these sessions, both youth and their adult advisors learn how to help community coalitions be more effective in producing community change. The NYLI Experience helps coalitions build their capacity to foster youth leadership in the design, implementation and evaluation of action strategies        addressing community problems. In addition, this training builds the relationship between the youth leader and the adult coalition coach.          

The participants learn about the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), logic models, strategic planning, developing interventions, advocating for change, evaluation, and sustainability. The NYLI Experience is a CADCA workforce development strategy that teaches what is required to create and nurture the growth of committed leaders and their work within coalitions. It better equips youth and adults to develop an action plan that clearly defines the strategies that young leaders will carry out to address the problems and goals that the coalition is striving to affect.

It is an honor to be selected to attend this event. The coalition only sends two Van Buren County students each year based on applications of the YLC members. These teens should be commended for their hard work and dedication to their community!  Congratulations Cassie and Cierstynn!

For more information on NYLI or the YLC Program please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ISTEP Summit 2013

Drew Nolting, Cassie Johnson, Cierstynn Welcher, Chase Murphy
By Cassie Johnson

On June 12th, the state group I-STEP held their second I-STEP Summit. The Summit was held in Ankeny. Unlike last year’s I-STEP summit, there were several buses spread out through Iowa that brought 37 summiteers to the summit.  The theme for this year's summit was “The Choice is Yours” Guest appearances included Nigel Wrangham who is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Prevention Specialist, Jessi from Nebraska who is involved in a tobacco prevention group called “No Limits” and a coordinator from I Am In – a website where teenagers can write articles or blogs about everyday teenage life.

The main events of the summit day included; breakout sessions involving: Social Justice and Tobacco,  Chapter 101, Media Literacy, I-STEP Social Media Uses, and a session with Nigel Wrangham. Last year's Street Marketing event included a water balloon skit related to “Big Tobacco”; this year’s Street Marketing event introduced a brand new idea. Everyone was invited to a formal “Tobacco Free Ball”. The ball featured news reporters and a bright shiny red carpet. And then of course everyone got to bust a move on the dance floor! The summit “The Choice is Yours” ended with a candlelight vigil, a popular tradition from the former JEL Summits.

Summiteers are able to apply for the executive council at this event as well. Two Van Buren County youth applied to be members of the council and were both selected to be part of a statewide movement to bring awareness to the dangers of drugs alcohol and tobacco. Chase Murphy and Cierstynn Welcher will join two other Van Buren Youth Leadership Council members, Cassie Johnson and Drew Nolting, as part of the council. These members will be given the opportunity to work at the state level and bring back information they learn to our local community and share with their peers.  Congratulations to Chase and Cierstynn for this exceptional opportunity.

For more information on the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) or Iowa’s ISTEP program please contact the SAFE Coalition Office at 319-293-6412 or at  You can also check out current YLC activities on the YLC Website at or on Facebook!