Coalition and partners, NCSO and NEO collaborate to prevent underage drinking

The Coalition, the Sheriff’s Department, and NEO are collaborating in a series of interactive school presentations about underage drinking consequences, reasons to choose a drug and alcohol free lifestyle and local fun events and activities. With the help of ABC funding, the Sheriff’s Department is focusing on education, prevention and compliance enforcement to reduce youth access to alcohol and underage drinking. The funding also allows them a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Coalition in outreach and education presentations for local students.

NEO Youth, Hayley Pritchard displays her musical talents for the audience
NEO Youth, Hayley Pritchard displays her musical talents for the audience

The April 4th presentation at Seven Hills Middle School, opened with a powerful song performed by local NEO musical artist and Youth Coordinator, Hayley Pritchard. Hayley’s remarkable vocal talent has been on display to support NEO and the plans for a youth center for the last three years since she first discovered the powerful duo, Lynn Skrukrud and Halli Ellis, who founded NEO. Hayley and Lynn shared the plans for a youth center in Grass Valley and their hope of promoting a location where youth feel safe, engaged, supported, and essential to community development.

From Left: Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh
From Left: Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh

Hayley introduced Nevada County Sheriff Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh for an informative presentation about the risks of alcohol use among youth and the potentially very serious consequences for adults purchasing or furnishing alcohol to anyone under 21 years old. With t-shirts as incentive to ask and answer questions, the 5th through 8th graders remained hands in the air and eager to participate.

Students learned that law enforcement officers often go undercover at places where alcohol is sold. They also learn that if they have an incident with alcohol as a minor they jeopardize something very important to them; their ability to have a driver license.  The middle schoolers learned about arrests being made for adults purchasing or providing alcohol to a minor and that merchants face fines and can lose their liquor license for selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern
Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern demonstrates “Balloon Juggle”

Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern for the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County engaged the youthful audience by selecting one male and one female attendee to participate in a “Balloon Juggle” activity. The concept, Shasta explained, is that we have responsibilities in many areas of our lives. We have to balance school, chores, friends, family, hobbies, sports, and other interests into 24-hour days. These responsibilities, even for young children can add up quickly leading to a very involved schedule that may seem stressful and unreasonable to the person experiencing all of these tasks.

Shasta demonstrated this experience using balloons. At first, the two balloons full of tasks and day-to-day commitments appeared manageable for the two participants. Once the balloon, identified as alcohol and drug use was added to the equation, the students realized that they could no longer juggle the tasks they needed to perform and responsibilities while keeping the alcohol and drugs balloon in the air.

The assembly concluded with an interactive Q & A session designed to highlight the positive choices teens make and dispel misperceptions of use. Arming students with the truth: Most youth don’t use drugs and alcohol and sharing the Good News: 94% of 7th graders say the DO NOT drink alcohol and 96% report they DO NOT smoke marijuana.

The hope following these presentations delivered at the middle school level is that youth will be better armed with the truth during these critical years where peer influence and disproportionate reporting can influence their decisions and lead them to think that alcohol and drug use is much more acceptable and prevalent than it is. This collaborative partnership between ABC, Nevada County Sheriff’s and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County is reaching out to provide education, awareness, and a better sense of the healthy alternatives available to the youth of our community so that the next generation of adults can be positive role models and share the message of a healthier community…today, tomorrow, forever.

Is it a problem? Take a self-assessment quiz and Get Help.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To learn more about keeping our young people safe and healthy, check out our website www.drugfreenevadacounty.org or Click HERE to visit our Underage Drinking page.

To submit your opinion in our Community Voices section:
1.       Submit up to 250 words
2.      Please include your name, email address, and phone number for follow up contact
3.      Email submissions to mkelley@corr.us

 

 

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?

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.

 

 

Talk. They Hear You.

The greatest influence on young people’s decisions to begin drinking or doing other drugs is the world they live in, including family, friends, schools, and the community environment.

PARENTS, you should know that the greatest influences on teens decision to be free from using alcohol or other drugs is YOU.
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking)    

Sometimes parents are not sure how to have the conversation, and so may avoid it entirely. When was the last time you talked to your children about alcohol? Has it been a while? Are you wondering how to have the conversation?

It’s never too early to talk to your kids about alcohol. If you talk to them directly and honestly they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol use.

Here are some considerations to begin having these important conversations:

Short and frequent discussions can have a real impact on your child’s decisions about alcohol. Sitting down for the “big talk” about alcohol can be intimidating for both you and your child. Little talks take the pressure off of trying getting all the information out in one lengthy discussion, and your child will be less likely to tune you out. Try using these opportunities to talk; in the car, during dinner, or while you and your child are watching TV. And remember, the conversation goes both ways. It’s important to hear their point of view and listen to their feelings, concerns too.

They may even ask some tough questions like “Did you drink when you were a kid?” If you drank as a teenager, you’ll probably want to be honest but acknowledge that it was risky. Or, “Why do you drink?” you could point out that when you choose to drink it’s always in moderation to enhance a meal, or celebrate a special occasion with friends or family. You could also share with them that some people should not drink at all. Make a clear distinction between alcohol use among children and among adults.

Here’s another example of a great opportunity to talk about the risks of drinking: With football season in full swing we can expect to see more alcohol advertisements on TV. Studies show that exposure to enticing alcohol advertisements can influence young adolescent perceptions about acceptable drinking behavior and underage drinking in general. So talk about it… Not in a “Wow, that was a cool ad they had on during the Super Bowl,” kind of way. More like this; “Wow, they really make drinking alcohol look cool, don’t they? But drinking alcohol can really get people into lots of trouble — let’s talk about it”.

The Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County is partnering with SAMSHA to prevent underage drinking. Visit these web links for more information on the Talk they Hear You Campaign and other helpful tips and resources:

https://www.cncyouth.org/nccommitted/

http://www.samhsa.gov/underagedrinking/index.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn9enF9awM4

http://www.drugfreenevadacounty.org

http://www.corr.us

Parents; Talk, they Hear You

In 2010, the use and consequences of underage drinking cost the U.S. $62 billion. Help prevent underage drinking by talking to kids, as early as 9 years old, about alcohol. For tips on getting the conversation started, visit http://1.usa.gov/16mUbSo.