COMMUNITY OF CONCERN
History - In early 2008, leaders in our Community saw the real need for a program that could help both parents and students gain a better understanding of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, as well as the situations surrounding this use. Research revealed a national program, begun some 20 years ago, based in Washington, DC called The Community of Concern (COC).
The Community of Concern is truly a philosophy – one that promotes effective dialogue on the best ways to handle challenging situations related to underage drinking and other drug use. Three basic steps complete the actual program:
1) Educate everyone – students, parents and others involved with our youth
2) Communicate – bring everyone to the table for productive conversation
3) Set one goal each year that both parents and students can achieve in an effort to stay alcohol and other drug free.
SUCCESSFUL METHODS - COC is a parent-driven effort using the schools as the place to meet and the vehicle to disseminate information. The sharing of information and a pooling of resources has empowered adults and youth in our community to make smart, safe choices in difficult situations. Program goals are achieved through many activities to include:
• Brown bag lunches or coffees at each school – parents gather to learn/discuss current trends and topics that are grade appropriate for their child. The challenges facing seniors in high school are very different from the ones facing a fifth grader – although both are very important.
• Parent Information Meetings – Parent Programs in which current facts and keen insight about substance use/abuse is shared. Powerful presentations provide parents with the skills and insight that is critical in keeping their child safe
• Conversations That Count – parents and students gather and are given real life situations of “What would you do…” ; each has the opportunity to anonymously respond and with the assistance of a facilitator both parents and students decide on the best way to handle these situations. Great opportunity for discussion.
• Informal Class Meetings – students have the opportunity to anonymously ask a question of a panel of law enforcement, drug education council counselors and judicial representatives – often dispels many myths and serves as an excellent education tool for the students.
For more information contact: Jean Downing, Drug Education Council - 478-7855 or email, email@example.com.