POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Prevention Coalition met on Tuesday afternoon discussing the local school’s Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD) chapters.
Greg Fowler, executive director of the Mason County Family Resource Network (FRN), shared Wahama Junior/Senior High School has started up a SADD chapter at the school this year. At the first meeting, there was an advisor and eight students in attendance. According to the minutes of their first meeting, these students would like to have a drunk driving simulation activity for their classmates, literature on the dangers of destructive decisions to hand out to class mates and guest speakers about destructive decisions. They also want to become involved in their community to spread information about their organization and host a trunk-or-treat at their school for Halloween. Fowler would like to have the students also attend the Point Pleasant Halloween Block Party.
Richard Sargent, Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School teacher and SADD Chapter advisor, shared at their first SADD meeting of the year, he had nine students in attendance and officers were elected. The group has started planning activities for the year, such as having activities in and out of school for Red Ribbon Week next month. The students will also be attending the Point Pleasant Halloween Block Party.
Fowler, Bree Ramey of Workforce West Virginia Career Center, and Ronie Wheeler, prevention coordinator, will all be going to Hannan Junior/Senior High School to speak with the administration about starting up a SADD chapter there as well.
Fowler would also like to see SADD students attend the upcoming Teen Institute as well as attend the monthly prevention coalition meetings.
In other business, Wheeler shared his day at the prevention coalition regional meeting and the coalitions throughout the region will be participating in a project so youth in foster care can receive care packages.
The prevention coalition members gave approval to be involved with a Prestera Federal Grant wherein the Appalachian rural counties involved will be focusing on reducing opioid use. This is a regional strategic plan and between two-three meetings will be held in Mason County regarding this federal grant. There is no money associated with this federal grant, it is just research based.
The prevention coalition will be receiving their annual check for $12,000 from the Mason County Commission. This annual check aids the members when using funds from their annual Prestera Grant.
Fowler shared he and Debbie Hon, community development coordinator for Aetna Better Health, have been working on putting together an anti-vaping/anti-juuling/anti-tobacco program to be presented at Mason County Schools. Yearly, the pair visits New Haven Elementary, but Fowler would like to expand this to Ashton Elementary, Point Pleasant Intermediate School, and the three local high schools, PPJ/SHS, Wahama and Hannan. They plan to revamp this program they present to the Mason County students and Fowler wants to incorporate the use of a projector, which the prevention coalition members approved Fowler to purchase with prevention coalition funds.
Also, the prevention coalition approved an incentive to be involved in an anti-vaping study program as well as to have Ramey apply for a $600 healthy start mini match grant to help with next year’s back-to-school event.
Fowler feels like the prevention coalition is making progress within the community and the organization is on a good track. The local schools will not only be receiving trainings on anti-vaping/anti-juuling/anti-tobacco this year, but also trainings about practicing safe sexual activity and preventing teen pregnancy.
Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.