(Placerville, CA) - National Red Ribbon Week is October 23-31, 2017, a time for communities across El Dorado County to join together to prevent substance use. Numerous schools and school children, parents and teachers across the County will wear the red ribbon during the awareness week, hear guest speakers on campuses and conduct other symbolic activities to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of being drug-free.
"Coming together as a community to support drug-free youth is important," said Nora Mays, program assistant with El Dorado County Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP). "When everyone is on the same page, and we have consistent messaging about drug prevention, youth are more likely to make good choices. Schools can provide information and support activities, and parents can reinforce the information at home. Studies show that teens whose parents regularly talk to them about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't."
According to Mays, Red Ribbon Week is also a good time to highlight ongoing local efforts to support youth in being drug-free. Mays is part of a team of County ADP staff that coordinates youth focused prevention programs at local middle and high schools throughout El Dorado County. These programs are conducted in partnership with youth, schools and school staff. ADP also regularly partners with community coalitions dedicated to supporting drug-free youth.
Friday Night Live (FNL) and Club Live (CL) are two prevention programs offered in El Dorado County. "These on-campus mentoring and support programs provide information and opportunities so that young people are less likely to engage in problem behaviors and more likely to achieve in school. FNL and CL build partnerships for positive and healthy youth development, and engage youth as leaders and resources in their communities," said Mays. FNL and CL chapters exist on several school campuses in El Dorado County, and according to Mays, assistance is available for schools that wish to start a chapter.
The Teen Court program is also offered in El Dorado County and open to youth in middle school and high school. Teen Court is an innovative youth diversion program where youth who have committed minor crimes are judged and sentenced by a jury of their peers. Middle school and high school students in El Dorado County serve as jurors, prosecuting attorneys, baliffs and court clerks. Adult volunteer attorneys mentor youth attorneys and a superior court judge presides over hearings. Youth receive real world experience in the juvenile justice system and offenders receive an appropriate sentence.
Alcohol and Drug Programs is part of the Behavioral Health Division of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). For additional information about local alcohol and drug prevention programs, please contact Mays at (530) 621-6326, or find information online at www.edcgov.us/mentalhealth.
Resources for parents on how to talk with their children about alcohol and drugs can be found at www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking or https://drugfree.org/
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