Reflections by Randy Hodge
|Posted on May 19, 2017 at 7:15 AM|
One of the ways we work to keep our students safe is to focus on their long-term health and well-being. One of the threats for young people everywhere is the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Research indicates when substance abuse prevention programs are properly implemented in schools and communities; use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs is reduced.
For many years, St. Patrick students have participated in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) substance abuse program. Unfortunately, this program was not available this year.
We were fortunate however, to find and implement a new program at St. Patrick School for our 5th grade students. “Too Good for Drugs” builds the framework for drug-fee living through a fun and interactive journey of setting reachable goals, making responsible decisions, and refusing negative peer pressure. The lessons review the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco on the body, as well as the goal-compromising effects of marijuana and other drugs. “Too Good for Drugs” is an evidence-based curriculum by the Mendez Foundation.
Mrs. Debbie Thalison, Ionia county substance abuse prevention director and Ionia county community health supervisor, worked with our students on the program. Each week, she led them through the program with role playing, interactive games, discussions and sharing.
This week marks the 10th and final week of the program. Students will receive t-shirts, wristbands and a certificate of completion when they are done. Each participating school receives a plaque which is updated every year the program is completed.
We are blessed that the funding for this program has come from the Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative (ICSAI), the Ionia County Health Department and Mid-State Health Network. The ICSAI is the county initiative for substance abuse prevention which has both an advisory board and a workgroup. The workgroup consists of community members, local public agencies, schools, and local treatment providers. The Advisory Board is a 7-member volunteer board that is appointed by the Ionia County Board of Commissioners representing each of the (7) commissioners’ districts. ICSAI meets monthly to focus on substance abuse prevention services in our community through data collection and analysis, information dissemination, community engagement and mobilization. Among the many programs offered through the ICSAI is the “Too Good for Drugs” program.
The St. Patrick School community would like to congratulate our 5th grade students on their completion of the program. We hope they continue to keep these lessons, skills and tools with them throughout the rest of their lives.
We would also like to thank Mrs. Debbie Thalison for working with our students each week and the Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative board, the Ionia County Health Department and Mid-State Health Network for providing the funding for this program.