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August 23, 1991 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Parent Action Groups

Local parents join forces
to prevent teen problems.

Artwork by Catherine Kanner. Copyright© 1990, Catherine Kanner. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

RUTHAN BRODSKY

Special to The Jewish News

Parents' Pledge
I will provide adult supervi-
sion for all children visiting
my home.
I will provide a secure place
for the storage of all forms of
alcohol, firearms, toxic
chemicals, and other potential-
ly hazardous items.
I will not allow young peo-
ple under legal age to use
• tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
in my home or on my property.

From Troy Families For Safe Homes

at Gilberg of Novi is
not satisfied with let-
ting schools do all the
educating. She is one of an in-
creasing number of moms and
dads who are involved in
what happens to their
children inside and outside
school walls.
Mrs. Gilberg heads up a
fledgling group of parents
called the Novi Council of
Substance Abuse. They raise
money and put together pro-
grams and projects to inform
parents, children and
teachers about the dangers of
alcohol and other drugs. In
September they'll distribute
hundreds of red ribbons that
will decorate cars reminding
us about the dangers of drink-
ing and driving. The organi-
zation also helps sponsor the
Drug Abuse Resistance
Education (DARE) program

p

in which police officers visit
each Novi 6th grade class
once a week for 17 weeks and
teach kids how to say "no" to
drugs.
"I'm very aware of the pro-
blem because we've had a son
who was chemically addic-
tive," Mrs. Gilberg explains.
"He's recovering and he's suc-
cessful, but it's groups . like
ours which may prevent other
families from enduring the
kind of pain we've lived with.
We're working very hard to
improve our association with
the Novi School District
because it's the best way to
get to our children, especial-
ly when they're young."
The statistics tell part of
the story:
• Children are using
alcohol at an early age, the
average being 12.5 years.
• One-half of high school

students are classified as
regular drinkers.
• One of three drinks heavi-
ly at least once a week.
• One of four students in
high school has a serious
drinking problem.
• Approximately 4 million
youth under the age of 17 are
alcoholics.
• Children as young as 9
years old are being treated for
alcoholism.
• Teen drinkers account for
nearly 50 percent of all fatal
automobile accidents.
• Some 80 percent of high
school seniors have used
marijuana, and two-thirds of
American children will have
used an illegal drug other
than marijuana and alcohol
before they graduate.
"Our efforts in the school
and the community begin
early," says Barbara Everett,
recently retired president of
the parent organization, West
Bloomfield Families in Ac-
tion. "Preventing abuse is
easier than controlling it and
understanding that drug use
of any kind is dangerous and
unacceptable must be told
when children are young."
Parents such as Ms. Everett
understand that because
alcohol use is implanted in
our society, their efforts to
prevent substance abuse
among children means pro-
grams directed at mobilizing
the community. New pro-
grams and curriculum pack-
ages aren't going to have
much meaning if youngsters
don't get the same message
that use of alcohol and other
drugs is not expected or ac-
cepted in the school and
community.
A program for the preven-
tion of alcohol use and
substance abuse is now part
of the formal curriculum,
K-12, for the West Bloomfield
school district. Some of these
programs, originated by the
8-year-old parent organiza-
tion, have been expanded and
changed to meet the com-
munity's growing needs.
"Kids are smart and
sophisticated these days," ex-
plains Ms. Everett, "which

makes preaching ineffectual.
We look for more innovative
ways to implement abuse
prevention and try a variety
of approaches including peer
counseling."
One very successful pro-
gram recently launched in
the middle and high schools
is the national program,
Youth to Youth. In these
adult-sponsored and student-
led groups, older students are
trained to recruit younger
students to join a club that
meets weekly (after school for
high school, during school for
middle school) to learn how to
have a good time without
alcohol and other drugs.
This year there are over 200
children participating in the
4th annual Oakland county
convention of Youth to Youth
groups, a 24-hour convention
in which students learn how
to say no to alcohol and to
help others say no to peer
pressure. The strongest club
has been at the middle school
level says Ms.Everett, who
thinks it's good because a
large number of 8th-graders
from this group entered high
school this fall, which means
the high school group should
become more influential.
What's more, the middle
school club plans to do some
recruitment at the elemen-
tary level.
The Birmingham-Bloom-
field Families in Action
(BBFA) has geared its efforts
to support parents in raising
healthy, drug-free children
through networking and
education for the past 10
years. Working with 'the
school districts, programs
reach students of all ages in
public and private schools. Ac-
tivities include the Youth to
Youth program plus other
undertakings such as the
Hotel Project , Project
Graduation and Parent to
Parent programs.
For the fourth consecutive
year, BBFA's award-winning
Hotel Project was conducted
last spring. BBFA and 17
other community prevention
organizations in Oakland
County asked hotels in the

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

61

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