2021 Teen Health Survey Data Released

The Communities That Care Coalition has released the results of our 2021 Teen Health Survey.

More than 1,500 Franklin County and North Quabbin students from 9 school districts participated in the survey during February of this year, providing valuable insights into COVID-related health behaviors and concerns.

You can view our data presentation here. And you can find the chat and jamboard from the meeting zoom here.

UMass School of Public Health Master’s student Jasmine Inim provided a look at the data on family time spent together in the pandemic.  Find her presentation here.

Find WWLP22’s coverage of the Teen Health Survey data here.

First-Ever FC/NQ PreVenture Training a Success!

We are delighted to report that over the April vacation, 11 counselors from 6 school districts and Clinical and Support Options participated in a 3-day training in a PreVenture Program Facilitator Training.  The PreVenture Program teaches cognitive-behavioral skills and motivational techniques to students in a small group setting, based on their personality type.  The program has been shown to be highly effective in reducing mental health problems as well as drug and alcohol use.

The reviews of the program and the training were overwhelmingly positive, and local counselors are very excited to bring this program to their students!

Check out these online resources to find services in Western and Central Massachusetts

Look4Help is an online search tool for all kinds of services in Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions. Look4Help has a range of resources sorted into easy-to-navigate resources including topics like: mental health, addition and recovery, health care, disability services, finances, transportation, domestic violence, and more. It is a project of Community Action Pioneer Valley, together with Baystate Health and the United Way.

My Turn: “Steering our children clear of addiction”

Kat Allen’s My Turn column ran in the Greenfield Recorder July 22, 2016. It highlights some of what parents of younger kids can do to prevent substance use.

Of course, I don’t mean to make it sound like this stuff [like locking up alcohol and hiding ’empties’] is all there is to substance use prevention. There’s the all-important emotional skills (how do you handle big feelings like anger and anxiety in healthy ways?) and social skills (how do you make a new friend, or say “no” politely to a request from a friend?) that we’re teaching them — intentionally or not — through modeling and teachable moments.

And I’m delighted to report that nearly all of our local middle schools are teaching this, too, by offering the LifeSkills program.

And there’s the super-protective-factor of the warm, caring, safe relationship that kids have with their parents. These are far beyond the scope of my locking cabinet in the pantry but obviously tremendously important to drug and alcohol prevention and just about everything else in life.

Kat Allen

In case you missed it, you can find the article here.

Fall 2020 Coalition Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended our October 22 Fall Coalition meeting and made it so special!  You can find a copy of the data presentation at the bottom of this page and you can find further information about some of the microaggressions we discussed here, on the Racial Justice tab of this website.

We were delighted to present our 2020 Community Builder Award to Kia Burton-King of Community Action’s Family Center.  Congratulations Kia and thank you for everything you bring and give to the community!

Family Day

PEER Ambassadors and Families at Unity Park in Tuners Falls

Family Day is a national celebration of family dinners and a reminder of the importance of spending quality time together as a family. s youth grow and reach their developmental competencies, there are contextual variables that promote or hinder the process. Family dinners are proven to promote these competencies.

The benefits of families enjoying meals together include opportunities to:

  • Connect as a family to talk about almost anything
  • Cook with your children
  • Give your children regular chores, like setting the table or helping to clean up after the meal

While these may sound simple or mundane, they’re vital protective factors that correlate with positive teen health outcomes related to decreased substance use.

A protective factor is often defined as “a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, or community (including peers and culture) level that is associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or that reduces the negative impact of a risk factor on problem outcomes.”

O’Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009 p. xxvii

You’ll find lots of ideas about family-friendly meals, conversation starters, dinnertime games, and more (like getting everyone to help prepare dinner and clean up afterwards!) at the Family Dinner Project and Family Day websites. Here’s a post (with recipes!) about Family Dinner Day from our Parent Education Workshop, and listen in here for an interview with Bekki Craig of  CTC’s Parent Education Workgroup on WHAI about Family Day.

PEER Ambassadors

We are launching a new program for reaching out to local parents!  The PEER Ambassador Program (PEER stands for Parent Engagement, Enrichment, and Resources) is a collaboration between a number of different community organizations that work with parents and families.  Currently the host sites include The Recover Project, The Salasin Center, the North Quabbin Community Coalition, and Community Action’s Family Center (who also works with the Center for New Americans).

These organizations have nominated parents who are natural leaders from within their programs to participate in the PEER Ambassador self-paced training program, and then to represent their organizations and the Communities That Care Coalition in providing outreach and education to other parents in the region – helping to connect families to important online and local resources.  PEER Ambassadors receive monthly stipends for their participation as well as ongoing professional development opportunities.

2020 Community Action Plan and 2019 Teen Health Survey Data

The Communities That Care Coalition has revised its Community Action Plan and the latest version (the Coalition’s fifth) was presented for approval at the full coalition meeting on October 25, 2019.  Also featured at the meeting:

  • a facilitated discussion about the importance of leading with race in a predominantly white rural area 
  • release and discussion of data from the 2019 Franklin County/North Quabbin Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • presentation of the 2019 Mike Fritz Community Builder Award to Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández from Greenfield Community College
  • networking and lunch

Communities That Care Coalition’s “Got Outcomes” Coalition of Excellence Award

In 2007, Communities That Care was recognized as the “Got Outcomes” Coalition of Year by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). CADCA is the nation’s premier membership organization for substance abuse prevention coalitions, with representation from more than 5000 coalitions. The Communities That Care Coalition was selected from a nationally competitive pool of nominees.

The Got Outcomes! Coalition of the Year awards recognize coalitions that have successfully reduced substance abuse in their communities through evidence-based programs, policies or strategies. Applicants undergo a rigorous review process and winners are judged by a panel of expert coalition leaders. “These organizations represent the best of the best, and exemplify the excellent work that coalitions are doing around the country to prevent and reduce drug use in their communities,” said General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA’s Chairman and CEO, of Got Outcomes! Award recipients.