The Voice.Change.Hope. Alliance (VCH) is a community group focusing on eliminating prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction within Berrien County. We have put together several community events to bring awareness and combat this epidemic. These events include: (1) School assemblies (2) Teenager Mock Bedroom set (3) Family Connection Night
The program is most successful if these events are held in succession of each other, however they can be separate. The purpose being is youth can hear messaging related to substance use, misuse, and abuse; parents can become aware of trends and information related to youth substance use; and finally, to culminate the youths and the parents interest in these topics, a Family Connection Night is arranged where healthy communication within families is the focus.
Presenters: Kerri Teachout, Substance Abuse Prevention Consultant & VCH Alliance Co-Chair AND Lt. Mindi Logan, Michigan State Police Niles & VCH Alliance Co-Chair
Peer Recovery Coach/Person in Recovery
Structure of Presentation:
- Mission and reason for the Voice.Change.Hope. Alliance, encouraging students to use and visit the resource website, Facebook, & Instagram
- Discussion on the purpose of the assembly presentation, i.e. accidental overdoses from young people like themselves, experimentation/recreational use could lead to addiction, choices made now could have lifelong consequences
- Statistics that show MOST youth do not use substances
- Reasons why youth use and ideas on what else they could do to avoid drugs
- Drugs and the teenage brain
- The Good Samaritan Law
- Personal perspective story from a person in recovery and one they can relate to.
For more information contact:
Teenager Mock Bedroom
Intent: To bring awareness to parents, caregivers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, coaches, etc. in order to raise awareness of the ‘trends’ in drugs in our area and possibly in their home or school
Our Teenager Mock Bedroom program is different than most drug education programs as it uses a mock teenage bedroom, carefully set up with drug paraphernalia; otherwise known as “indicators”. Books with pages cut out; a soda can with a false top for hiding drugs, pipes, whip cream cans are just a small portion of what surprise the adults. Numerous ways a teen could hide their “stash” is represented, as are items used to conceal smell, effects, etc. The audience is encouraged to examine the bedroom to see how many indicators they can identify.
While it is a free workshop that highlights common items used for drug or alcohol use, there are also organizers on hand to describe and show in more detail what to look for, as well as talking about the facts and trends of teen drug use.
This program has shown great success when it is part of another parent activity or where adults are already gathered (i.e.: back to school nights, parent teacher conferences, etc.). As parents are encouraged to walk through the bedroom and observe commonly found items in their home, all are inquisitive and leave surprised of the effectiveness of the set. In order to provide the adults with more information, helpful resources are supplied at the event. Many times the host of this event complements this portion with a Family Connection Night.
In order to keep the observations by the adults relevant, the Family Connection Night is typically scheduled soon after the mock bedroom event. Family Connection Night is built around parents/guardians and their children learning or improving communication skills to transition into important conversations about difficult topics like drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, etc. (Please see the description for Family Connection Night for more detail).
Family Connection Night
Purpose: To bring families the tools to communicate in order to build trust and help reduce the misuse/abuse/addiction to substances. Our goal is to send them home with healthy skills to discuss even more difficult issues. Research proves that improving healthy communication within families dramatically reduces drug use and increases the ability for someone who is in substance abuse crisis, or heading down that road, to get help from their family.
Structure: A facilitator will guide and teach the attendees how to better communicate with each other in a more effective and healthy way; especially when discussing difficult issues. A large portion of the teaching involves practice by the participants within their own family groups. In between the practice conversations, interactive quick games are played so family interaction can be experienced on all levels.
The facilitator will guide the groups from basic communication exercises to practicing techniques with more difficult situations. An example of questions used to advertise and promote this event includes:
“Do You Know…”
…how to find out what’s really going on in your teenager’s life?
…how to ask your parent a simple or tough question?
…how to start difficult conversations with your teenager?
Depending on the time the event is held; food, snacks, and/or refreshments are supplied. Information, resources, family games are often sent home with the attendees to encourage continued practice.
For more information contact: