Monday, February 23, 2015

Kick Butts Day 2015

By Sydney Goemaat and Rose Rankin
Kick Butts Day on March 18, 2015 is about getting involved in activities so American youth can raise awareness about the tobacco problem, encourage peers to be tobacco free and support effective solutions to reduce tobacco use. Every day more than 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time and 700 kids become new regular daily smokers. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing more than 480,000 people every year.

That is why Van Buren Middle School YLC 8th graders are participating in Kick Butts Day by doing fun activities to show awareness.  The activities we will be doing are…

*On March 16th a group of girls are going to pick up cigarette butts on 1st Street in Keosauqua, to show that they care about having a smoke free environment. They will be displaying the cigarettes in the display case in the school lobby.

*On March 16th during parent teacher conferences, YLC will assist with a Tail Gate/Smoke out. This group of boys is going to put facts about smoking and how it affects the body on the food containers.

* On March 17th a group of girls are planning to put stickers on cigarette boxes and advertisements. These stickers have facts about the physical consequences of smoking.

*On March 18th two groups of students will travel to the Elementary School to teach the 6th grade classes of Mrs.Corry and Mrs.Jones. The groups will teach the students how the cigarettes would affect their career or favorite activities. They will also have a lung display to show the effects of smoking on their lungs. They will also have a coloring contest as an activity and facts about smoking.

*On March 18th there will be a video skit shared with students during lunch time. 

All of these activities are a reminder to students and adults of the dangers of using tobacco, not only for the smoker but also for those around them. If you know someone who uses tobacco and is interested in quitting the coalition has resources available. Do your part as well to remind youth to never begin this addictive habit. For more information or resources you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at To learn more about what the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council is working on you can go to

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Senior College/Career Readiness Week

The Van Buren Community School in conjunction with the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition, Indian Hills Community College, local financial institutions and Iowa Works are putting on an educational event for graduating seniors. This week will consist of sessions that graduating seniors will attend each day to help better prepare them for their exit from high school and entrance into college or the career world.

Indian Hills Community College will hold a session on personal safety. They will talk to the students about the importance of being aware of their surroundings, some basic self-defense and safety information they need to know if they are moving to a larger city to attend college, the military or start their career.

Three local financial institutions will provide financial education and safety information to the students. Community First Bank, Libertyville Savings Bank and Farmers and Traders bank will share information on identity theft, financial security, credit card safety and money management. This session will have great information for the students to help them be fiscally smart as they leave high school.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will be providing the students with information about drug and alcohol safety as they leave high school. Many students will be exposed to many new things as they leave Van Buren County and they want ensure they are prepared for the dangers of these drugs and the long term problems they may cause for their future.

The students will spend one day taking the national career readiness certification. This test will provide them with a score that employers will be looking for in the future as they hire new employees into the workforce. NCRC is a great opportunity for students because it increases employment opportunities and helps build a resume.

The final session the students will be a part of is Iowa Works A-Game training. This session will teach the students about good work habits and soft skills that they will need as they enter the workforce. This session will be high energy and a lot of fun for the students as well as providing them with crucial life lessons.

For more information about senior week you may contact Julie Chapuis at the Van Buren Community School- 319-293-3184 or Heidi Bainbridge at the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition 319-293-6412.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Through with Chew Week Gets Boost from YLC

The CDC has proclaimed the week of February 15–21, 2015, as "Through with Chew Week" in an effort to call attention to the use of smokeless tobacco.  In 2013, 5.7% of high school students in the United States used smokeless tobacco. The public awareness campaign is designed to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people. 

The Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) has chosen to join the effort of the CDC to make sure that members of their community understand the dangers of smokeless tobacco.  During this week they will be spreading the message with different activities in the community.  Educators will be addressing youth about health risks commonly associated with this type of tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes, as some young people believe, and it is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes.  Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums, and throat. In addition, smokeless tobacco is addicting.  The use of smokeless tobacco can also lead to other oral problems, such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, bad breath, and permanent discoloration of teeth.

Through With Chew Week is sponsored by the Van Buren County YLC Members and the CDC. For more information or for materials, please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or by email at


Heidi Bainbridge
Heidi Bainbridge, from the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition, was named the 2015 Advocate of the Year & Outstanding Academy Instructor by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization representing over 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions across the country. Bainbridge received her awards February 5th during CADCA’s 25th annual National Leadership Forum in National Harbor, MD.

The Advocate of the Year award recognizes substance abuse prevention leaders who are exceptional advocates for the drug prevention field, forging relationships and educating their elected officials throughout the year about key substance abuse-related issues and helping to ensure that Members of Congress understand the importance of community coalitions.  Heidi is one of two coalition leaders in the United States who received CADCA’s Advocate of the Year Award.

The Outstanding Academy Instructor Award recognizes the commitment of the trainer to the innovative delivery of academy materials and exceptional technical assistance services to CADCA Academy students. 

Heidi is the Coalition Coordinator and Drug Free Communities Proj­ect Director for the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition. Coalition successes include items such as a keg registration in the county prior to the state making this a law and a smoking ban in local parks. The coalition has worked closely with local law enforcement to implement semi-annual compliance checks and a policy that guides the process for these checks, along with a training program for merchants. Most recently, the coalition worked with a school district in Van Buren County to revise their conduct policy and hold a mandatory parent/stu­dent team meeting to address substance abuse and health concerns with all parents and students involved in extracurricular activities.

“Heidi truly exemplifies the meaning of these awards. She is a tireless advocate for the substance abuse prevention field and understands the importance of educating lawmakers and other coalition leaders about effective ways to reduce teen drug use,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean. “We are honored to be able to call attention to some of her work.”

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation's largest and premier training event for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers, featuring more than 70 courses to help participants learn effective strategies to address drug-related problems in their communities.

For more information about the work of the SAFE Coalition in Van Buren County please contact them at 319-293-6412 or by email at

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fourteen Businesses Keep Youth from Accessing Alcohol in Van Buren County

On January 17th Alcohol Compliance Checks were completed at 16 alcohol establishments in Van Buren County. Congratulations to the businesses who checked the ID and refused the sale, they included: AJ’s, American Legion, Boyd Grocery, Casey’s, Circle B, First Street Grille, Birmingham Jet Stop, Bonaparte Jet Stop, Milton Jet Stop, Moore’s Grocery, Riverbend Pizza & Steakhouse, Tillie’s Tap, Town & Country Tavern and the Vet’s Club.  

Two businesses, Douds Kwik Stop and River’s Edge Pub & Grub, made sales to a person under the age of 21. The clerks making alcohol sales were issued citations for furnishing alcohol to a person under the legal age. The business may face additional fines from the alcohol and beverage division of Iowa.

The ultimate goal of the compliance checks are to keep youth from accessing alcohol from local retail outlets. The community wants to be sure that all merchants are taking action against youth alcohol access. This can be accomplished by ensuring that all employees are properly trained in checking identification cards. It is important that all employees check the ID of anyone who looks under the age of 40. This process will ensure that youth are unable to purchase alcohol from local retailers.

In an effort to protect the young people of our community, The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will continue to do random alcohol compliance checks of all alcohol establishments in the county. If your business would like to take part in a FREE merchant alcohol training you may contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.