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PfS Strategic Action Plan

 

Summary

Two-Year Partnerships for Success (PfS) Project Draws to a Close

Geauga Family First Council kicked off its Partnerships for Success (PfS) Initiative in September 2004 with the intention of enhancing existing county programs for the area's youth. "Over these past two years, we have seen a remarkable collaboration of community leaders, youth advocates, educators, parents, clergy, youth service providers and law enforcement officials who joined in support of their community and the program's actions," according to PfS Chair Bill Repke. A nationally recognized program, PfS is a holistic and strategic approach to building a community’s capacity to prevent and respond effectively to child and adolescent problem behaviors while promoting positive youth development.

The first year of the PfS Initiative was comprised of a comprehensive research and analysis process involving various committees, organizations and individuals throughout the county. The planning process identified the primary local youth issues to be: Reducing Substance Abuse and Enhancing Emotional and Mental Health Development. It was clear to all involved in this process that these two issues are often interrelated. In the final part of the first year, strategic steps were decided upon which would focus on these two issues. Two initiatives resulted: the All Stars Programand the Parent Awareness and Action Campaign.

All- Stars was directed to children aged 11 to 14. The interactive, curriculum-based program, which was designed to develop and promote resiliency in order to help youth avoid high risk behaviors such as drinking, was implemented in three Geauga County School districts in school year 2005-2006. Assessment results showed that the All Stars participants showed improvement in the following mediators or protective factors that All Stars targets: lifestyle incongruence, normative beliefs about peer drug use, and positive parental attention. Additionally, the parents and teachers involved reported a very favorable opinion of the program and its effects.

The Parent Awareness and Action Campaign (PAAC) encouraged parents of Geauga County's middle school aged children to address the issue of underage drinking with their children. Billboards, mailers, flyers, presentations and other creative efforts were components of this campaign. The core of the awareness campaign, and its most memorable aspect, was the postcard mailings. The postcard portion of the campaign, comprised of six different mailings to 4,500 households, was intended to catch attention with shocking and dramatic photographs while communicating alarming local teen alcohol abuse statistics and suggesting prevention actions for parents to take with their own children.

Although the exact number of households impacted by the parent awareness campaign will never be known, survey responses indicated that at a minimum, hundreds of families were positively impacted. Survey respondents indicated they are more likely to talk to, and continue talking to, their children about the dangers of underage alcohol use as a result of the postcards. Among the primary target group, fully 80% said they discussed the postcards with one or more of their children, with many noting that they saved the cards, some posting them on the refrigerator or elsewhere, to serve as a constant reminder.

"Both initiatives were perceived as being so timely and relevant that funding was successfully sought for their continuation," concluded Nancy Seelbach, the Geauga Family First Council Coordinator. A second phase of the PAAC campaign will start at the end of March 2007 and three additional Geauga County Schools have been implementing the All Stars curriculum in the 2006-2007 school year. Please contact the Family First Council for additional information on these continuing programs.

The Family First Council wishes to the thank the following organizations for their cooperation and support for PfS: Chardon Community Action Team, Geauga Community Impact, Geauga County Board of Mental Health & Recovery Services, Geauga County Educational Service Center, Geauga County Job & Family Services, Geauga County Juvenile Court, Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, Lake-Geauga Center on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Starting Point, and United Way Services of Geauga County. In addition the following sponsors are gratefully acknowledged for supporting PfS: Burr Funeral Home, Chardon Rotary, Junction Auto, the Maple Leaf, Parkside Care Corporation, Troy Chemical Industries, and University Hospitals - Geauga Medical Center, and the Cleveland Foundation.

IFor general questions about the Partnerships for Success Initiative, please contact Nancy Seelbach, the Geauga Family First Council Coordinator, at 440-285-1201 or Nancy.Seelbach@jfs.ohio.gov. For specific questions about either the All-Stars Program or our PAAC Campaign please contact Joann Randall at 440-221-3630 or at jrandall82@adelphia.net.

All-Stars

Partnerships for Success has created “ALL STARS” in Geauga Schools

Three Geauga County school districts stepped forward to take advantage of a unique opportunity offered through Partnerships for Success, an Initiative of the Geauga Family First Council. The middle schools of West Geauga, Berkshire, and Newbury are participating in the ALL STARS program, which is an interactive curriculum designed to promote children’s resiliency and to reduce high risk behaviors. The ALL STARS program targets 11- to 14-year-olds and focuses on delaying and preventing the use of alcohol and drugs by developing positive characteristics and resiliency.

Early adolescence is a significant period for the onset of substance use. Underage alcohol use is recognized as an alarming national problem and statistics show that Geauga County youth are no exception. Alcohol is the drug of choice nationally as well as locally. A recent comprehensive survey of Geauga area youth showed that in the 30 days prior to the survey, 4.2 of 6th graders had consumed alcohol; the statistics jumped to an alarming 53.2% among 12th graders (Communities That Care, Geauga Regional Youth Survey Report 1/2005).

Partnerships for Success, a state-funded Geauga Initiative, selected ALL STARS as the primary strategy to address the most pressing needs of Geauga County youth. The ALL STARS program was identified after a year-long research and planning effort by community teams and social service volunteers. This program, which is an evidence-based “Model Program” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was chosen because of its proven success in preventing risky behavior by building children’s resiliency.

Berkshire, Newbury, and West Geauga piloted ALL STARS in the 2005/2006 school year. Evaluation indicated the program to have been a success and as a result, Geauga Family First Council made additional funding available for the following year. Berkshire, Cardinal, Kenston, Newbury and Chardon are participating in the 2006/2007 school year.

PAAC Campaign

Parent Awareness and Action Campaign

The Parent Awareness Campaign (PAAC) has also been developed through the Geauga Family First Council’s Partnerships for Success Initiative. The first phase of PAAC was designed to create awareness and promote action on the part of Geauga County middle-school parents reinforcing the message that they will not tolerate underage drinking.  
Goals of the program were threefold:

  • Make parents/guardians more aware of the dangers of underage alcohol consumption for youth in Geauga County.
  • Encourage parents/guardians to talk to their children about underage consumption and its dangerous consequences.
  • Make parents/guardians aware of the need to continue talking about this issue to their children through their high school years.

This campaign was a comprehensive community effort, carried out with the help of many Geauga agencies, businesses and organizations.  The first phase of the campaign included:

1.  Mailing educational postcards to all parents of middle-schoolers in the county.  The postcards were designed to grab attention through disturbing photos such as a car accident, a passed out teenager, and youth being arrested. Brief, but pointed messages were printed on each postcard that:  (1)  listed local statistics intended to make parents aware that underage drinking and its dangerous consequences are clearly a problem in Geauga County; and (2) offered parents suggestions as to how to deal with underage drinking. The primary message was that parents must NOT tolerate underage drinking and that they must communicate this to their children now and in the future. University Hospitals-Geauga Medical Center helped underwrite a significant portion of this campaign.

Six different postcards were developed and mailed to these 4,500 households.  Although we originally targeted parents of middle-schoolers, we found that the purchased mailing list was not as accurate as we had hoped so parents of a wider age range of children received the postcards. The cards were mailed every two weeks between January and May 2006.  The final evaluation of the community’s response to the campaign was done by Maple Alley Research.

2.  Several billboards in Geauga County also used some of the same postcard pictures and information. These billboards were sponsored by various businesses including Burr Funeral Home, Junction Auto, and Parkside Care Corporation.

3.  Press releases and news articles about the campaign were printed in many local papers. Four different local papers published pictures of the postcards. Many of the same papers also ran articles and updates about the campaign and one paper printed a free ad three different times, which included a visual of the postcard and a message to parents.  Coverage and participation from local newspapers was excellent.

4.  Posters were also developed by the Board of Mental Health & Recovery Services and by the Chardon Rotary, each depicting a different postcard and statistics and messages from that postcard. The posters were displayed at various businesses and public locations throughout the county.

5.  Sponsors for the PAAC campaign included:  Burr Funeral Home, Chardon Rotary, Junction Auto, Parkside Care Corporation, The Maple Leaf, Troy Chemical Industries, and University Hospitals-Geauga Medical Center.

Because the campaign proved to be so successful, Family First Council applied for and received a significant grant from the Cleveland Foundation to run a second phase of PAAC. This second phase is beginning in late March (2007) and will be targeting parents of Geauga’s high school students, where underage drinking is most prevalent. Both PfS Focus Groups and the Communities That Care Surveys (CTC) which were given to all Geauga 6th-12th graders demonstrated that by 9th grade one out of four 9th graders reported using alcohol but by 12th grade those numbers climbed to one out of two.

A series of six postcards will be mailed out every two weeks throughout the spring. University Hospitals – Geauga Medical Center,  Chardon Community Action Team and the Geauga Sunshine Shop are also generously providing funding for this second phase.

 

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Last Updated October 30, 2013