Friday, May 30, 2014

Harmony High School Members Peer Teach

Taryn Counts, Alena Whitaker, Patrick Douthart,
Taylor Diephuis and Emily Housh 
On Tuesday, May 27th five Harmony High School Youth Leadership Council Members visited the Harmony 6th grade classes to speak to them about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.

The YLC members presented a skit to the students that shared with them how the media portrays alcohol as okay and acceptable. The YLC members wanted to make sure that the youth know that this is not the truth! These YLC members also gave the 6th graders the opportunity to think about what their lives will be in the future. What do they want to be when they get older, what are their dreams, where do they want to live, do they want to go to college, what will their life be like in 20 years. They then asked the students the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. The students gave them answers about how it can have an impact on their bodies and this is very true. The YLC members reminded them that not only does it have an impact on their bodies but it also has an impact on their futures and could have an impact on the rest of the lives. The students placed their dreams and hopes into a bottle, they were reminded about their plans for the future and then the YLC members talked about how all of those dreams and plans could be ruined if they choose to use drugs or alcohol underage.

6th graders were then given the opportunity to sign up for YLC for next year. Heidi Bainbridge and the YLC members spoke about the program and all of the things that YLC members were able to get involved with. They shared information about speaking to their peers, doing work in the community and being involved in trips where they can learn more about being a leader in their community. All 6th graders who sign up for YLC will be notified about summer events and can start attending meetings at the start of the next school year.

YLC has ended regular meetings for this school year but the group will have a couple of activities they will be a part of over the summer. These activities include the Keosauqua 4th of July Celebration and the Safe and Healthy Kids Fair. Thank you to the community for all of the support of the YLC program and have a great summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

100 Things to Do to Beat Summer Boredom

Summer is just beginning and you do not want to be thinking, saying, or hearing; “I’m bored” in the next few months. Below is a list of 100 things you can do to beat summer boredom. Write each of these things on a piece of paper and put it into the summer fun jar and when you get bored draw one out and have fun! Challenge yourself to accomplish all 100 before school starts.

If your kids start to suffer from summer boredom, let them come up with their own ideas for fun summer activities to put into the fun jar.  When you let children come up with their own solutions to boredom, you’re helping them develop important problem-solving skills and they will take ownership in the activity.

As the summer progresses, new ideas can be added to the jar. Then when the children get bored, they can reach into the jar for a fun activity. And, you’ll be less likely to hear, “I’m bored!”  
1.       Go hiking in the park
2.       Ride your Bike
3.       Go swimming at the lake or pool
4.       Paint a picture
5.       Play a board game
6.       Get out the hose and sprinkler
7.       Go horseback riding
8.       Go to the Library
9.       Go on a nature scavenger hunt
10.    Go fishing
11.    Have a talent show
12.    Go Camping
13.    Have a pet parade
14.    Hold a lemonade stand
15.    Tie Dye Shirts
16.    Build a sandcastle
17.    Make a collage with magazine pictures
18.    Have a pizza decorating contest
19.    Go to a baseball game
20.    Start a hobby
21.    Scrapbook some photos
22.    Go bowling
23.    Go to a water park
24.    Visit a museum
25.    Do a science experiment
26.     Pick a bouquet of flowers
27.    Blow Bubbles
28.    Make homemade ice cream
29.    Have a fashion show
30.    Finger paint
31.    Create Sidewalk Art
32.    Rent a canoe and go canoeing
33.    Write a letter to a pen pal
34.    Write or draw your own story book
35.    Start a journal
36.    Make a home movie
37.    Play catch
38.    Have a puppet show
39.     Play twister
40.    Wash the car at home
41.    Go miniature golfing
42.    Make mud pies
43.    Have a picnic
44.    Play croquet
45.    Catch fireflies
46.    Go hunting night crawlers
47.    Color in a coloring book
48.    Do a craft project
49.    Paint your room
50.    Throw a Frisbee
51.    Fly a kite
52.    Read stories
53.    Throw water balloons
54.    Play red rover
55.    Have a garage sale
56.    Build a fort
57.    Play a musical instrument
58.    Walk a dog
59.    Go to a concert
60.    Have a pancake party
61.    Plant a garden
62.    Go skateboarding
63.    Play hopscotch
64.    Do a good deed for a neighbor
65.    Clean up trash in the park
66.    Take pictures in nature
67.    Play with play dough
68.    Dance
69.    Clean your closet
70.    Design, plan and make a meal for the family
71.    Conquer a Rubix cube
72.    Hula hoop
73.    Jump on a trampoline
74.    Make root beer floats
75.    Have a fashion show
76.    Start a collection (stamps, rocks, coins)
77.    Ride a 4 wheeler
78.    Make a quilt
79.    Go shopping at a garage sale
80.    Read a magazine
81.    Play horseshoes
82.    Swing on a swing set
83.    Bake a cake
84.    Play baseball
85.    Make a smoothie
86.    Go to a fair
87.    Play basketball
88.    Play wiffle ball
89.    Play charades
90.    Go golfing
91.    Build a Lego creation
92.    Play badminton
93.    Adopt a pet from a shelter
94.    Have a pedicure party
95.    Play beach volleyball
96.    Jump rope
97.    Read a newspaper
98.    Play tennis
99.    Create a new recipe
100. Go to a farmers market

For more information on how to get involved with your kids this summer visit the SAFE Coalition at or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Facebook!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition Scholarships 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 from a former coalition member the SAFE coalition is able each year to award up to two graduating Van Buren County Seniors a scholarship.  The recipients of the scholarships must be active members 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 recipients are Lydia Heald and Faith Murphy. Lydia and Faith have been members of the youth coalition for their entire middle and high school careers.  They have been active in numerous coalition activities and helped to make community changes in Van Buren County to help reduce youth drug, alcohol and tobacco use.  Lydia has been given the honor of being a national youth trainer for CADCA, teaching others how to make changes in their own communities.  Faith has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the dangers of youth marijuana use and providing recommendations for strengthening the school conduct policy to combat this. 

It has been an honor to have Lydia and Faith as part of the SAFE Coalition and the Youth Leadership Council, their work ethic and drive have been an inspiration to their peers and they will be missed. We wish them luck and much success in their future endeavors.

Congratulations to Lydia and Faith on their graduation and receipt of the SAFE Coalition Scholarship for 2014.

YLC is losing some other valuable members this year.  Exceptional Senior Awards were presented to Nicole Coffin, Cassie Johnson and Abby Rider for their contributions to the program. 

For more information about YLC or the SAFE Coalition check us out on Face Book at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or online at  You can also call the office at 319-293-6412.

Help Make Alcohol Abuse in Our Community a Thing of the Past – It’s Our Health, Our Future

Alcohol abuse is a widespread issue in the United States. In 2012, 17.7 million people aged 12 and older were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year. (1) Even though it’s legal for individuals aged
21 and older to purchase and drink alcohol, many consume alcohol at levels that pose safety and health risks to themselves and others. Excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular problems and chronic disease; it’s also associated with approximately 80,000 deaths per year. (2, 3)

To prevent alcohol abuse, it’s important to recognize that alcohol use tends to begin at an early age:
·         ­ In 2012, the majority (58.3 percent) of people who tried alcohol for the first time were younger than age 18.
·         ­ Adults aged 21 or older who had first used alcohol at age 14 or younger were more than seven times as likely to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse than adults who had their first drink at age 21 or older (15.2 vs. 2.1 percent).(4)

There’s no better time than right now for parents, educators, and community leaders in Van Buren County to have open conversations about alcohol use and abuse, and to model healthy choices for our young people.  Parents and role models’ behavior makes a big difference in curbing alcohol use that could turn into alcohol abuse later in life. For example, youth aged 12 to 17 who believed their parents would strongly disapprove of their using specific substances, such as alcohol, were less likely to use those substances.(5) Even one person’s actions can have an important effect on a loved one’s health and future.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent alcohol abuse, please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or online at  You can also find more information on the coalition website at or on their Facebook page at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.  You may also find more information at

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Atlanta, GA: CDC.

3 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2012). Medical consequences of drug abuse. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse among Children, Youth, and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Retrieved March, 25, 2011, from

4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

5 Ibid.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cassie Johnson - How YLC has Impacted My Life

Youth Leadership Council has impacted my life by; helping me discover my passion. I’ve been involved with YLC for 6 years, since my 7th grade year of middle school. I mainly first joined YLC because all of my friends were there and It got me out of class for awhile. But then I attend a JEL Summit, a JEL summit used to be an overnight conference that kids came to from all over Iowa to learn about tobacco prevention. I made many new friends at this summit but I also saw a lot of heartbreak too. One the first night of the summit, once it was dark outside we all gathered around a small water fountain for a CandleLight Vigil. At this vigil, kids had a chance to remember their loved ones they lost from tobacco. For the first time, I realized how much tobacco was affecting people lives. and I knew after that summit, I wanted to be involved with YLC as much as I could because I didn’t want to be the one standing in front of everyone telling them who I had lost to tobacco. I have had so much fun during my high school year being involved with Youth Leadership Council, I’ve learned so much! I am now apart of the I-STEP (Formally JEL) Executive Council at the state level, which has increased my passion for tobacco education and prevention. There is one major thing about how YLC has impacted my life. Recently I went to a meeting at the new Keosauqua Welcome Center with another YLC member, we attended the meeting because we wished to ask the council to consider making their courtyard smoke-free. Before we even left the meeting, they decided to agree to make the courtyard smoke-free. I had a huge sense of pride knowing I just helped pass a new ordinance, I felt like I just made it to the state basketball tournament or scored the winning touch down. I would like to thank everyone who has supported YLC the last 6 year I’ve been involved, I want to personally thank Heid Bainbridge, Melissa Daugherty and the SAFE coalition, without them I wouldn’t of had the experience I did.

Mark National Prevention Week by posting your prevention messages

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and its community coalition partners are marking National Prevention Week, May 12-18, with the promotion “Your voice. Your choice. Make a difference.” The theme, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), emphasizes that the prevention of substance abuse and the promotion of mental health starts with choices each of us makes in our own lives.

All Van Buren County residents are invited to participate in the promotion. To participate, take a photograph of yourself or of a group of your friends/colleagues holding a sign with your personal message about why substance abuse prevention or mental health is important to you. You can download the formatting for this sign at: You can post your photo on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services web page:

The SAFE Coalition invites you to celebrate National Prevention Week with your family and in your community. Reach out to local community groups working on reducing youth substance use, including the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition, Van Buren County Healthy Villages, Van Buren County Health Department and SIEDA! Connect for more resources at: or by contacting the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Van Buren Students Participate in Community Service Day

On Friday, May 2nd 183 high school students from Van Buren High School participated in a day to give back to their communities for the second year. Julie Chapuis, Van Buren staff member, helped to organize the event this year. All students from the high school participated and were assigned service projects throughout Van Buren County.

The students began their day at 8:30 am and worked hard until 2:45 in the afternoon. The projects the students participated in varied from painting projects to cleaning projects to yard work. The students felt a sense of pride being able to give back to a community that has been able to give so much to them.

The following were the sites where students volunteered their time on Friday; Douds Community Club, Douds Historical Preservation, City of Milton- Fire station and City Hall, Lacey State Park, VBHS- front flower beds and track clean up, Morris Park, Cantril Grassroots, Bentonsport Rose Garden, City of Birmingham, Van Buren County Courthouse, Village Terrace, Country Lane Apartments, Center Village, Van Buren County Hospital , Riverview Country Club, Historical Society, Keosauqua Fire Department, City of Keosauqua, VBHS Trophy Case, VBHS Weight Room, SAFE Coalition, Kids at Play project.

Principal Chuck Banks thanked the students for their participation at the end of the day and encouraged them to not let this be the only time they give back, “one day is better than none, but two is better than one” and asked them to continue giving back to those who have graciously supported them throughout their high school careers. “Planning the event was a great joy. Our community members were so grateful for the student help. Many students and local leaders were able to develop relationships as they worked together. ” said organizer Chapuis.

Thank you to all of the volunteers in the community and the school who made this event happen, without these people this event would not be the success that it was. Thank you also to all of the students who worked so hard to make the community a better place. If you are interested in more information about Community Service Day feel free to contact Julie Chapuis at the Van Buren School 319-293-3183.


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has found that one of the largest problems facing our community today is the underage use of alcohol.  As graduation time draws near, we encourage all families with high school seniors to not provide alcohol at your graduation parties as the parties are in honor of your student.  Also please take time to discuss the potential dangers that occur when alcohol is available at graduation celebrations or other parties your senior may attend these last days of the school year. They should consider the consequences they could face for consuming alcohol under the legal age.

Underage drinking can have varied consequences for the youth of Van Buren County.  Making the decision to consume alcohol under the age of 21 could take away the chances of receiving financial aid in college.  If convicted of alcohol use, it will be on their permanent record, which is something Federal Aid takes into serious consideration.  They may not be able to practice the following careers in Iowa if convicted as well: accountant, architect, attorney, chiropractor, dentist, engineer, law enforcement, medical doctor, nurse, optometrist, pharmacist, physical therapist, physician assistant, psychologist, real estate broker, court reporter, social reporter, teacher, or veterinarian. 

Most people would never think of violating laws related to drug use, but the community norm regarding use of alcohol is often thought of differently.  Clear expectations and boundaries are important components of healthy community norms and values.  Positive adult role models also play a significant role in establishing these norms.  While it is legal for adults to consume alcohol, graduation parties are not held in honor of adults.  Such celebrations are held in honor of the young person for their achievements and graduation from high school.

Please examine your personal beliefs about alcohol use by young people and the example set by our community during graduation time.  We are hoping you will plan to join the many families who are celebrating their student’s graduation in an alcohol-free environment. Congratulations and best wishes to your high school senior and your entire family on behalf of the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition!

For more information about underage drinking or the SAFE Coalition please feel free to contact the office at 319-293-6412 or via email at  If you are interested in what the SAFE Coalition has been doing please check it out on the web: or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Face Book!