The Fayette County Prevention Coalition is set to hold several events over the next three months to increase awareness and continue to meet their seven strategies.
The first event will be held on Thursday, April 19 as members of the coalition will travel to Columbus for the “We are the Majority” youth rally. According to preventionalliance.org, on April 19 the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network will host this annual rally with youth from all over Ohio. The rally allows youth from all over the state to celebrate living a healthy, positive lifestyle.
Each year, the group shuts down the streets of downtown Columbus to march to the statehouse and make their voices and mission heard: “The majority of youth in Ohio, aged 12-17, are not participating in substance use, physical violence, and are leading the way in promoting mental health wellness!”
“Really the majority of youth between 14- and 17-years-old are not using drugs or participating in violent behavior,” Tiffany Garrison, prevention coordinator with the Fayette County Community Action Commission, said. “The state is doing a rally for these kids. We are going to meet at Southern State Community College at 7 a.m. and then we are busing to Columbus. There is going to be vendors and live music, but after the group is going to march to the statehouse to say, ‘We are the majority that are not using.’”
The second event is a drug take back day. Although sometimes one day is set aside for this a year, Garrison said they hope to increase the amount of days that drugs will be received by around 50 percent. The first of these drug take back days has already been planned for April 28, with two locations to drop off unused or expired medication for safe disposal.
“We are going to host several of these days, up to six, over the next 18 months,” Garrison said. “Our first one is April 28th and we have one drop off location at the Fayette County Health Fair at 525 Glenn Avenue, and another at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Annex at 110 West Market Street. I have made contact with all of the pharmacies in town to host a box for these events. All of them are interested and they are looking to talk to their corporate offices on how they can be involved.”
On May 14, the coalition will host another “#Pizza4Prevention” event at the OSU Extension Office, 1415 U.S. 22 NW, to help with education and awareness. Parents, guardians, kids and anyone else interested in attending will learn how to help youth avoid substance abuse, learn what the youth are doing in Fayette County to stop the epidemic, and will also enjoy a free pizza dinner. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“We have a lot of fun things for the kids to participate in,” Garrison said. “The Pizza4Prevention event is for community members as well as parents. It really allows them to see what our kids are doing, and the kids are involved by presenting what they are doing to attendees.”
The final event, called “Making the Case for Prevention,” will be held on June 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Southern State Community College, 1270 U.S. Route 62. The event is designed to allow residents to gain an overall understanding of prevention. Additionally, residents will learn about youth-led prevention with tips on working with a youth-led prevention group, as well as about tools and how to develop them to incorporate prevention strategies into daily work.
Registration for this event is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PAAFC. Contact Kylena France with questions at (740) 335-7282.
One topic Garrison wanted to ensure the community understands is that the compliance training and environmental scans are safe for the children to participate in. She said typically during these scans, kids ask for tobacco products at nearby gas stations or other locations to help show the business is complying with the law. The kids involved will never exchange cash or touch these products and have been trained, if the business attempts to sell them tobacco products without verifying their age, to leave immediately. Afterward an adult will follow up, prior to law enforcement taking time to communicate with the business that this practice is not legal nor right for them to do.
“We want to stress, some people think we are deputizing children, and we are not doing anything like this,” Garrison said. “We are not seeking punitive damages, we are not wanting to throw people in jail, we just want them to know that what they are doing is wrong and that we will help them take the steps to fix it and train them on how to fix it. Some people are afraid we are putting the youth at risk and it is not like that at all. This is all volunteer-based. This is just so people know we are watching and if they are compliant, they will be rewarded and praised.”
For more information about any of these events, contact the Fayette County Community Action Commission at (740) 335-7282.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy