I have worked with SAFE on several levels. My initial contact was a Public Health School nurse, then as a parent and most recently working with our church families and youth. After attending Cafe Conversations as a parent, I felt like the parents in our church would benefit from the message. They helped us start the conversation between teens and parents about substance abuse and healthy choices. We are looking to partner with them again in the spring to implement a Parent Pod. They are truly a community coalition partnering with numerous organizations to help spread their message. They get down to the grass roots level and motivate others to join them in spreading their message. I feel very fortunate to be one of their partners and know my family and community have benefited greatly.
I became familiar with SAFE in the 2010-2011 school year as representatives from SAFE presented various programs at Ettrick Elementary School, where I served as principal. During the first program on inhalant abuse prevention, one of our patrons asked how to get involved in SAFE’s work. From that contact, two Ettrick volunteers were trained in conducting Parent Pods – small group meetings designed to engage, educate, and empower parents and grandparents in simple strategies to use that increase the likelihood that their children will remain drug and alcohol free.
The Parent Pod was underway and our Communities in Schools coordinator wanted to offer additional resources to parents and fifth grade students transitioning to middle school. Ettrick and CIS partnered with SAFE to bring Café Conversations to the school in the spring. This event provides a structure through which parents and their children share a meal together, engage in interactive fun together, and have facilitated conversations about the danger of drinking alcohol for underage youths.
I am impressed with the work of SAFE since its initiatives are created in response to community data regarding substance use and our young people. Data drives most of my decision making as an administrator and I see great value in this coalition since it plans community interventions very strategically. SAFE staff and volunteers clearly share a passion for working toward greater health and wellness in our comunity’s future leaders – the school children of today. SAFE is a wonderful non-profit organization!
Chesterfield County Public Schools