Our Young People are Fantastic!

An excellent read: letter to the editor by Ned Russel with the Good News about young people:

http://www.theunion.com/opinion/10157904-113/generation-parents-voices-knowledge

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

This may have been said by Socrates, who lived 2,400 years ago, or maybe not, but similar words have been said about the younger generation over and over.

Most recently, an Other Voices column in the Feb. 8 edition of The Union displayed a similar sentiment, saying that today’s children are out of control and that the situation could be changed if teachers and parents would spank and hit the kids with sticks more often. I strongly disagree.

The current generation, those under 25 years old, will turn out to be the next “greatest generation” (this in no way diminishes the contributions of the Other Voices writer’s generation any more than Hank Aaron’s baseball feats diminish Babe Ruth’s). Perhaps the Other Voices writer has personal knowledge of a few youth and families that match his complaints, but I urge all to view a wider picture.

Attend a NEO event with a few hundred kids. The music is too loud and some of them dress in ways that may seem odd, but watch how they interact with each other — and with you — if you speak to them. Visit the after-school Hangout. Consider how students at Nevada Union have elected a homecoming king and queen for reasons other than being a top student or athlete. Look at what they do for senior projects and personal campaigns to reduce hunger and poverty around the world. Outside of Nevada County, sports teams have allowed opposing players who have little chance to be regular stars to be stars for a moment.

Current youth will surpass all other generations precisely because many parents, and others, have learned that there are better ways to discipline their children than by hitting and yelling. The Friendship Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters use these ways with exceptional success — with absolutely no spanking by mentors. Nonviolent discipline is completely supported by research. (See this story online for a summary of study of 7,000 U.S. families, 32 countries; and a study of 967 middle school youth on yelling from University of Pittsburgh).

Will this generation be perfect? Of course not. Most people agree that human behavior is one of the most complex phenomenon that exists, but anyone can become a developer of behavior in a child without knowledge of how or training.

It’s difficult for parents and others to put aside what they learned from their parents when they were 10 or from their limited experience as parents of a few children, but the more we learn about what children need and how to give it to them, and the more people accept new knowledge, the better each generation will be.

Ned Russell lives in Grass Valley and volunteers for Got40?

As we near the end of 2013, we thought we would reflect on all the ways you have helped to make a difference.

Looking back at a year in prevention…

We’re grateful to you for taking the time to be involved this past year in helping to create a community where young people can thrive and succeed, free from the impacts of substance use. On behalf of the amazing young people in our community, thank you for volunteering. You have emailed, staffed fair booths, collected Rx medications for safe disposal, volunteered at NEO events, provided education and resources, attended meetings and focus groups, webinars and trainings, donated items and shown our young people we care about them and support them in being the best they can be without the use of drugs and alcohol.  Here are some highlights of progress made in 2013:

  • Developed first ever Report Card to Community with local data and trends in youth drug and alcohol use. We were encouraged to report declining alcohol use among teens and other progress in addition to our focus on challenges still at hand. Presented Report Card at Community Town Hall with 157 in attendance. View report HERE
  • Began campaign to grow positive social norms in our community. We already know Nevada County teens are amazing, but did you know that Most Choose Not to Drink Alcohol?  We hung 390 posters that highlight positive student choices  at 3 high schools, 2 middle schools, in theatre ads, and on Facebook, websites and other media.
  • 119 health care providers and educators in Nevada County have been trained in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) since 2010. SBIRT is an evidenced based prevention model in which providers screen for risky alcohol and other drug use at a teachable moment and helps them become motivated to change. We also helped regional prevention partners in Truckee and Placer provide SBIRT training for providers in their community.
  • This year Nevada County was 3rd largest in state in terms of volume of pounds turned in at the DEA’s Take Back Day. In 2013 alone, Nevada County community members turned in more than 1,910 lbs of expired and unwanted prescription medications for safe disposal. The Grass Valley Police Department makes this possible by servicing Local Safe Disposal Sites at Kmart, Rite Aid, Save Mart and in the lobby of GVPD. Special thanks to the participating pharmacies for being champions in promoting prescription drug safety and helping to keep our kids and our water drug free.
  • The Coalition and NEO partnered with Nevada County Sheriff’s and the state department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to prevent underage drinking in Nevada County. Together we developed the “No Thanks Campaign”, an interactive student outreach program which we presented at four schools to more than 670 students while passing out hundreds of T Shirts.
  • Helped to enhance local Youth Safe Havens:
    • The HangOut: average of 40 youth participants daily with four adult volunteers daily
    • Overtime: average of 74 youth participants on Fridays with 14 adults
  • Increased our community’s capacity for preventing youth substance use by training more than 200 youth and adults in prevention, youth leadership and youth development.
  • The Coalition and NEO conducted a total of 74 prevention education and awareness presentations in our community and at middle, high school and college campuses.
  • The Coalition and NEO hosted a week long celebration of health, called Wellness Week, at Nevada Union. Partnering with the Youth Opposing Tobacco for Health and Peer Advocates Clubs.  The festive week hosted daily themes and activities including Spirit Day, which featured a lunchtime golf cart parade with live music; Love is Louder Day, where youth were able to express what they love about themselves; R U Ok? Day based on the global movement to create awareness about mental health; Kick (Cigarette) Butts Day in which youth were are to learn important facts about tobacco use and pie the Marlboro Man; and Laugh More Day aimed at reducing stress and encouraging youth to enjoy life.  In addition to the lunch time activities, we brought assembly speaker Jeremy Bates of Revolution Speak to Nevada Union, Park Avenue and Bear River high schools.  During his 3 days here, Jeremy was able to lead four assemblies, and student and teacher workshops speaking to a total of 1400 people with his powerful and inspirational story.

 

Holiday Mocktail Contest 2013

Community Recovery Resources and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County invite you to participate in our first ever Mocktail Recipe Contest. 

The purpose of the “Mocktail Contest” is to blend this fun and festive contest with the important message of being safe and responsible during the holiday season. Join us in creating awareness about drinking responsibly and encourage hosts to offer delicious, non-alcoholic beverages to their guests. We know that this helps keep our streets safer through the Holidays.

The Holidays are the perfect time to introduce friends and family to the concept of Mocktails – visually appealing, non-alcoholic and delicious  beverages to serve at parties, and to order while you are out on the town. The contest offers holiday entertainers and local restaurants and bars a few new delicious recipes to serve their guests.

You are invited to submit a recipe online here: Submit your recipe HERE! Entries can be made between now and Thursday December 19th, 2013 at Noon. The winner will be chosen on Friday the 20th.

The Winner will receive “Movies and Dessert” for two.

 

 

Social Norms: Highlighting the Positive

Social norms are the expectations and beliefs we hold around what is acceptable–for youth, families, individuals, and the community as a whole. Our perceptions about youth, their beliefs about each other, and what data and science tell us about youth behaviors are important factors when working to reduce youth substance use and promote overall health and well-being.

Beginning March 2013, the Coalition released a series of new posters with positive messaging that are posted at local high school campuses. Youth were very involved in the development of the messaging through focus groups and feedback participation over several months.

Traditional prevention efforts have often focused on negative behaviors and a just say no approach with a minimum of positive outcomes. The messaging in this series of posters reflects our intentional switch of focusing on the positive behaviors that our youth are engaged in. Science tells us that this switch of highlighting the positive leads to a growth in positive behaviors.

The Truth is… Nevada County teens are a great group of young people who are making mostly good choices in their lives. Recent data tells us that in many areas it appears that youth are reducing their substance use – except for marijuana – and they are experiencing greater connectedness at school and in the community.  So what do we do to help them continue making good choices? We arm them with the truth: Most teens don’t use alcohol or other drugs.