Watertown Healthy Youth educates youth substance abuse drugs alcohol

The Watertown Wholesome Youth coalition focuses on educating the group on risk-taking behaviors and selections that have an effect on youth.

The coalition works to mobilize group companions to assist and implement evidence-based practices, insurance policies, and packages to stop and cut back substance use amongst youth.

I’ve facilitated Watertown Wholesome Youth and the group’s prevention efforts for a few years. This month is my “workiversary” on the Human Service Company as a prevention specialist addressing alcohol, tobacco, medicine and social points that affect Watertown youth.  

Over the previous 30-plus years, I’ve seen many issues change however have seen some keep the identical. So, wanting on the huge image of our prevention efforts, I needed to ask myself some essential questions. Has the work of prevention affected the alternatives, selections and lives of our younger individuals? Have we seen group perceptions and attitudes change with reference to alcohol use and different substances? Have we seen constructive outcomes and alternatives?

Sure, and that’s what retains us shifting ahead.

Within the discipline of prevention, there may be at all times the following era of youth and households. There’s at all times some new development we try to remain forward of and new relationships and partnerships that must be created and maintained. 

My position is to attach individuals of all ages to assets, info, and to one another.  

By means of Watertown Wholesome Youth we proceed to create consciousness of the social points that have an effect on our youth by offering the means to entry our native assets and dealing with those that have the affect and want to make adjustments to enhance the lives of our younger individuals and group.  

Our native information reveals that our youth substance use charges have decreased dramatically. Once we first surveyed college students in grades seven by way of 12 in 1996, 45% of scholars reported ingesting alcohol within the final 30 days. Our most up-to-date information from Fall 2019 reveals that 14% of Watertown college students in these grades reported ingesting alcohol within the final 30 days — a discount of 31%.

We now have seen a rise in youth understanding of the chance of hurt in the event that they use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and different medicine. 

College students report that they select to not use as a result of they’ve buddies who assist them and do not wish to disappoint them or their dad and mom or different adults of their lives. College students have future targets and plans, and so they wish to take part in sports activities and different extracurricular actions.

In immediately’s society, a lot of the knowledge we hear about youth focuses on the damaging. But, in actuality, nearly all of our children are making good selections. 

As adults, we frequently overlook what it’s wish to be a young person. On the identical time, it’s not honest to match our teenage life to youngsters of immediately. The world is totally different. Youth are anticipated to develop up quicker and tackle extra obligations. They’re uncovered to rather more due to the social media world and expertise.   

We have to proceed to offer our children the chance to be resilient by permitting them to develop by way of experiencing successes and failures with individuals they will belief. Concentrate on the youth when they’re speaking about issues that matter to them and pay attention. Supply info and sensible assist to unravel an issue and train our children that making errors is part of studying. Reward them for his or her onerous work, whether or not they succeed or fail. Set expectations on your youngster and allow them to know what your guidelines and limits are. Give assist each when they’re struggling and when they’re succeeding.

It takes the constructive efforts and the constant messages of a kid’s household, neighborhood, college and group to assist them develop right into a wholesome and accountable particular person. Collectively we will proceed to assist our youth handle the stressors that they face. Proceed to assist and encourage their choice to not use alcohol and different medicine. Youth must know that there are adults who care.

Is there nonetheless work to be performed? After all, however we additionally must take this time to have a good time and for me to increase a thanks to the group for the imaginative and prescient of creating Watertown a protected and wholesome place for our youth.

Kelli Rumpza is the Watertown Wholesome Youth coordinator on the Human Service Company

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