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Prevention Coalition is gaining ground

Prevention Coalition is gaining ground
The atmosphere at the first meeting of the Weakley County Prevention Coalition for this school year reflected change and an enthusiasm for progress.
The coalition met Tuesday afternoon and was introduced to a few new faces and fresh members joining the team. Among those were new school resource officers Jennifer Owens and Jason Arant.
Additionally, Martin Housing Authority will be the new fiscal agent for the Partnership for Success grant.
“This is really an appropriate move,” said Lorna Benson, director of Weakley County’s Alliance for Safe and Drug-Free Schools. “Now, a broader range of topics can be covered and with this affiliation, we can branch out into the community more and not be known as strictly a school-identified entity.”
Over the summer, Josh Greer left the coalition to take a job in Henry County and, now, the coalition is seeking a new program and grants director to fill the vacancy.
The treasurer’s report showed a balance of $2,579.55 with a $2,000 reimbursement from last year. This amount does not reflect grant money.
Carrying over from last school year, the coalition is still seeking sponsors for SADD chapters. The goal is to have a chapter of SADD for each high school in the county.
The coalition is working toward getting the paperwork ready to become a graduating coalition and, according to Benson, it needs a few finishing touches and tweaking.
Once the paperwork is ready, the coalition hopes to be announced at the National CADCA forum in Washington, D.C., as a graduating coalition.
As chairman Tommy Moore could not be present at the meeting, the coalition will consider choosing members for an executive committee at the October meeting.
This committee will look at possibly meeting before regular meetings or in alternating months in order to make decisions on grants.
The subject of the town hall meeting was brought up again and still needs a new date and topics.
“We’re limited only by imagination,” Benson said.
Several ideas were batted around, including deciding how to motivate parents to come with their children, how to possibly coordinate with schools to make the meeting town-specific with an “awesome” guest speaker leading the way, extra incentives and offering extra credit for students to attend.
A subcommittee was formed to consider ideas for the town hall meeting and communicate by email or over the phone to put the theories into motion.
In announcements, Red Ribbon/Character Education Week is Oct. 24-28 and there will be a prescription drug take-back on Oct. 26.
As of 2009, prescription medicine-related deaths have become more prevalent than deaths in car accidents.
The three-on-three tournament needs motion as it carried over from last year with no action taken. Benson encouraged “sustainability” in working toward these goals, such as the three-on-three tournament, as bigger grants lie on the horizon and those who issue the grants will need to see that a coalition can stick with an application process to the end.
The coalition is looking at eventually coordinating with school physical education teachers on a local level and forming a combination corn hole tournament/5K race.
This idea is strictly in its beginning phase, but is on the table for future discussion.
The coalition encourages people to go to its website, www.weakleyprevention.com, or its Facebook page, Weakley County Prevention Coalition.
The coalition’s next meeting is set for 1:15 p.m. Oct. 11.

WCP 9.22.11

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