Thursday, March 26, 2015

SAFE Sends Community Member’s to the Iowa Drug Endangered Children Conference

This year the annual Iowa Drug Endangered Children Conference will be held in Des Moines on March 30thDrug Endangered Children (DEC) are part of a very large and growing population of children whose lives have been seriously and negatively impacted by parental or caregiver abuse. Hundreds of children across Iowa go unnoticed and do not receive the necessary intervention and care to heal from these abusive environments. The purpose of this conference is to provide the best practices in identifying and caring for drug endangered children.

 This conference is intended for professionals who work with drug endangered children and their families including those from law enforcement, human services, prosecution, healthcare, mental health, substance abuse treatment and prevention, child development and education.  It is to enable the learner to use best practices to identify and care for drug endangered children. At the completion of the training community members will be able to: Describe the structural and functional changes that occur in the developing fetal brain when a woman uses drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and identify the relevant, current national drug trends including the growing trend of synthetic drug abuse.  The breakout sessions will offer a variety of options for additional education and will enhance participants’ understanding of:  The medical and neurobehavioral consequences for the newborn infant prenatally exposed to illicit drugs;  The core elements of family drug court practice;  How to incorporate evidence-based and promising practices into the services they currently provide;  Different types of drug tests that are now available; and the eight phases of EMDR therapy for children, adolescents and adults.

There will be one coalition member and two Parents as Teachers staff members attending this conference this year with support from the coalition.  For more information on the Iowa DEC Conference or local prevention work being done by the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Friday, March 20, 2015

Kick Butts Day 2014

National Kick Butts Day activities were held across the country on March 18th. Kick Butts Day is a day dedicated to encouraging smokers to kick the habit and if you don’t smoke encouraging people to never start.

Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members held a variety of events and activities to bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco use. Activities that Van Buren YLC members were involved in included:
·         Videos: two groups developed videos displaying the dangers of tobacco use. 
·         Interviews: one group was interviewed about Kick Butts Day Activities and the dangers of tobacco use.
·         Posters were developed and hung around the school to promote Kick Butts Day.
·         Cigarette Butt Cleanup: members did cleanups on Main Street in Keosauqua and on the school grounds.
·         Cups in Fence: members displayed a tobacco free message for all visitors to see in the fence at the school.
·         Tailgate Dinner: YLC Members assisted in a tailgate dinner during Parent Teacher Conferences with Tobacco Facts on the cups. 
·         Peer Teaching: YLC Members did peer teaching with the 4th graders at Van Buren Community Elementary School
·         Lunch Activities: during lunch on Kick Butts Day Middle School Students participated in a scavenger hunt, watched videos and were given suckers with tobacco facts to remind them to be tobacco free.
·         Sticker Shock: YLC Members put stickers on tobacco products reminding smokers of the dangers and encouraging them to quit.
·         Awareness Walk: this was held to end the week on Friday and give the students the opportunity to get out and breath clean air – not air filled with smoke.

All of these activities are a reminder to students and adults of the dangers of using tobacco, not only for the smoker but 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.
Van Buren Community Middle School 8th Grade YLC Members doing Peer Teaching at Douds Elementary School with contest winners.  

Thursday, March 12, 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 held an educational event for graduating seniors. The week of March 9th – 13th consisted of sessions that graduating seniors attended each day to help better prepare them for their exit from high school and entrance into college or the career world.

Two Indian Hills Criminal Justice instructors held a session on personal safety. They spoke 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.

Two local financial institutions provided financial education and safety information to the students. First Iowa State Bank and Libertyville Savings Bank brought information on identity theft, financial security, credit card safety and money management as well as lots of fun giveaways. This session had great information for the students to help them be financially smart as they leave high school.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and SEIDA Substance Abuse Prevention Agency provided the students with information about drug and alcohol safety. Students learned that they will be exposed to many new things as they leave Van Buren County and they want to ensure they are prepared for the dangers of these drugs and the long term problems they may cause for their future. This presentation was innovative and got the kids up and moving to help illustrate the main message of the presentation.

The students spent Tuesday morning taking the national career readiness certification test. This provided 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. Students received their scores right away and some are even talking about taking the test again to see if they can improve their scores. There has also been an interest from local businesses to learn about implementing this certification as a part of their hiring process.

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

This was a very educational week for seniors. They learned many valuable skills they will be able to use for a lifetime. Plans are in the works for next year based on feedback from both the students and the presenters to make this event better in years to come. 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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

VBCSD Parent/Athlete Team Meetings Spring and Summer Sports

Date: Monday, March 16th
Time: 5:30-6:30pm
Location: VB High School Gym
For: ALL Jr. High and High School Athletes involved in
Track, Golf, Baseball or Softball and their parents.
Large group meeting to be held at 5:30pm, individual sport meetings will follow.

VBCSD Parent Teacher Conferences

The Van Buren SAFE Coalition would like to encourage you to take the time to attend Parent-Teacher Conferences in March at your son or daughter's school. Being involved in your adolescent's educational upbringing is just as important when they're in middle school and high school as it is when they are younger. While you rely more on them to communicate with you as they get older about the happenings at school, it's through discussions with their teachers that you get a better understanding of not just their grades but how they interact in the classroom, which can clue you in to other issues your son or daughter may be dealing with in their school or personal settings.

Everyone is busy. Everyone has other things to do. It can be hard to find the time to get to conferences, but the message you send your child by attending is invaluable! Their education is important and taking an active role shows you care. Studies show that parents are the most influential person in a teen's life. Having a good relationship with your adolescent will go a long way in helping them navigate the tough decisions they face and the challenges they must endure in the process of growing up. So again, we encourage you to support your child by attending conferences. It really is the little things that add up to make the biggest difference.

A few things to note about conference this year at the Middle/High School:

  • Dates are: Monday, March 16th PK-12thgrade, Tuesday, March 17th PK-6th grade & Thursday, March 19th 7th- 12th grade.
  • A Transition Night will be held on March 16thfrom 6:30-7:30 pm at the Middle/High School.
  • A Parent/Athlete Team Meeting will be held March 16th from 5:30-6:30 pm at the Middle/High School.
  • A free will donation meal will be available at the Middle/High School on March 16th from 5pm-7pm; all proceeds go toward CAPS Council.