Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School Activities: It’s 3pm on a school day. Do you know where your children are?

As summer vacations end and students start a new school year, here are a few reasons you should encourage them to get involved with after-school activities:
·         Children & teens are more likely to be the victims of crime during the after-school hours than at any other time
·         Children & teens are more likely to participate in violent crimes during the after-school hours than at any other time
·         Children & teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol or drug use or sexual activity during the after-school hours than at any other time
Courtesy National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center

Our young children often attend after school daycare or programs provided by their elementary schools, but by the time children reach middle school they are often left on their own after school.  It seems sensible enough. They are old enough to get their own snacks and open their books to complete their homework. They know who to call if they have an emergency. However, adolescents benefit from after-school activities and supervision, too.

Youth who spend only a couple of hours per week in extracurricular after-school activities are significantly less likely to drop out of school; become teen parents; or use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Spending 5-19 hours per week in after-school activities reduced the risk even further.

It is important that these activities are not just time wasters, but are programs that help youth develop skills and values and provide them with experiences that mean something to them.

It doesn't take a lot. Our schools and community offer a variety of after-school clubs, sports and activities. Encourage your children to find something that interests them and participate regularly.

For information on keeping your kids active and activities available in Van Buren County you can contact the SAFE Coalition by email at or by phone at 319-293-6412.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Van Buren Community Schools Team Meetings

Attention: Van Buren Students and Parents- Team Meeting Info

Van Buren Community Schools are changing the way that they do Team Meetings this year! Last year was the first year that these meetings were held and it was a trial year to see how things would go and to learn from the process.  Parents and students, we listened to you! We will only be holding 2 meetings this year for students who are involved in Athletics and Extra Curricular Activities. Once you have attended the meeting and completed the necessary paperwork for the year you do not have to attend another meeting!

These meetings are MANDATORY for all student athletes, students involved in any extracurricular activities AND a parent. This also includes Junior High Students and any Harmony students who will be participating in activities at Van Buren during the 2015-16 school year. Information will be provided at these meetings regarding required forms, physicals, expectations of both students and spectators as well as additional information and materials for the start of the seasons and school activities.

The first meeting of the year will be held during Open House at the High School:

Tuesday, September 1st
Van Buren High School Gymnasium

If you cannot attend this meeting there will be a make-up meeting held on Wednesday, September 2nd at 4pm at The Van Buren Elementary Cafeteria in Douds or you can contact the Activities Director, Bret Moews at 319-293-3334 ext. 2002 to set up an appointment to complete the necessary paperwork.

Again, ALL Students AND a parent are REQUIRED to attend this meeting at least one time per year prior to the start of the season/activity, if they plan to participate in any sports or extracurricular activities.  The second meeting will be held between the winter and spring sports season.

For more information on the team meetings you may contact the school at 319-293-3334 ext. 2002.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Van Buren County Youth Attend CADCA Mid-Year NYLI Training

Cheyenne Schmitter & Emily Jester
at the NYLI Conference
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition along with more than 1,500 substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists from across the country convened in Indianapolis August 3rd – 6th for CADCA’s 2015 Mid-Year Training Institute. The week-long training, held at the JW Marriott, taught participants how to address one of our nation’s biggest public health challenges – youth drug use.

CADCA sent the SAFE Coalition participants home, revved up and ready to implement new ideas as “Agents of Change” in Truth or Consequences, in Van Buren County, Iowa.

Emily Jester shared that her experience in Indianapolis was a great opportunity. The NYLI taught her how to recognize a problem in the community and effectively find a solution. She also learned how to strategically put the resolution into action. The leaders at NYLI had great ways of making our time worthwhile and exciting.  As teenagers, sitting all day long through seminars isn't a very effective way of learning. So, the NYLI leaders made sure that they were not only mentally, but physically involved with the material they were learning. They also had us talk and listen on a personal level to the other people at the conference. What was most interesting was hearing all of the different issues that people from all over the country are dealing with and how they are planning to resolve their problems. Emily plans on sharing as much information as she can with the rest of the Youth Leadership Council to make sure everyone is taking a progressive approach to addressing substance abuse in Van Buren County.

Cheyenne Schmitter shared that the week at the NYLI Mid-Year Training was amazing and unforgettable.  It was truly as their motto says “Youth Led – Adult Guided”.  It was so interactive and they kept them interested.  From the strategic prevention framework to action planning she believes that she learned how to be more effective in helping her community.  The trainers did great, for having approximately 200 kids there, of listening to their ideas and answering their questions.  The second day they broke the students into breakout rooms, which was a great way for kids to put into action what they learned and get feedback from the trainers in the room.  Overall it was a great experience!  The people that went with Cheyenne just added to the greatness of the experience.  Thank you again for the amazing experience. 

For more information on the Youth Leadership Council or the SAFE Coalition please contact them at 319-293-6412 or at

Monday, August 10, 2015

Public Health Organizations’ Positions on Medical Marijuana

Published by learnaboutsam

As the conversation about marijuana becomes more prevalent in the United State the SAFE Coalition feels it is important that you are aware of the viewpoints and stances of national organizations on the legalization of marijuana. 

American Society of Addiction Medicine: “ASAM asserts that cannabis, cannabis-based products and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices, and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. ASAM rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery since it is not safe. ASAM rejects a process whereby State and local ballot initiatives approve medicines because these initiatives are being decided by individuals not qualified to make such decisions.”

American Glaucoma Foundation: “Marijuana, or its components administered systemically, cannot be recommended without a long term trial which evaluates the health of the optic nerve. Although marijuana can lower IOP (Intraocular Pressure), its side effects and short duration of action, coupled with a lack of evidence that its use alters the course of glaucoma, preclude recommending this drug in any form for the treatment of glaucoma at the present time.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Although it is clear that cannabinoids have potential both for the management of MS symptoms, such as pain and spasticity, as well as for neuroprotection, the Society cannot at this time recommend that medical marijuana be made widely available to people with MS for symptom management. This decision was not only based on existing legal barriers to its use but, even more importantly, because studies to date do not demonstrate a clear benefit compared to existing symptomatic therapies and because issues of side effects, systemic effects, and long-term effects are not yet clear.” — Recommendations Regarding the Use of Cannabis in Multiple Sclerosis: Executive Summary. National Clinical Advisory Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Expert Opinion Paper, Treatment Recommendations for Physicians, April 2, 2008.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that “[a]ny change in the legal status of marijuana, even if limited to adults, could affect the prevalence of use among adolescents.” While it supports scientific research on the possible medical use of cannabinoids as opposed to smoked marijuana, it opposes the legalization of marijuana. — Committee on Substance Abuse and Committee on Adolescence. “Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth.” Pediatrics Vol. 113, No. 6 (June 6, 2004): 1825-1826. See also, Joffe, Alain, MD, MPH, and Yancy, Samuel, MD. “Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth.” Pediatrics Vol. 113, No. 6 (June 6, 2004): e632-e638h.

Similarly, Dr. Christian Thurstone, a psychiatrist board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry, who serves as an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and as medical director of one of Colorado’s largest adolescent substance-abuse-treatment programs, said: “In the absence of credible data, this debate is being dominated by bad science and misinformation from people interested in using medical marijuana as a step to legalization for recreational use. Bypassing the FDA’s well-established approval process has created a mess that especially affects children and adolescents. Young people, who are clearly being targeted with medical marijuana advertising and diversion, are most vulnerable to developing marijuana addiction and suffering from its lasting effects.”

For more information on marijuana in the state of Iowa please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or by email at  You may also check the following sites for up to date information:,,, and