The goal of the Community of Concern is to educate parents and build partnerships of parents, students, schools and other organizations to keep youth alcohol, tobacco and other drug free.
Inaugural Celebration- When a group of schools unites to form a Community of Concern in their town/city/state, the lead school or any other school in the group may host an Inaugural Celebration where the parents from all the participating schools are invited to an evening presentation regarding substance abuse prevention.
The purpose of the gathering is to celebrate the new partnership of schools, parents, and students AND empower and inspire parents to join together to help their children avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Often schools invite Mimi Fleury, President and Co-Founder of the Community of Concern to talk about the history and highlights of this initiative, AND a recommended scientist to educate parents about the latest research regarding the effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on the development of the adolescent brain. These celebrations can become annual events further encouraging the education and networking of parents.
Leadership Symposium- A Leadership Symposium consists of a gathering of the leaders of the local Community of Concern schools to establish priorities for their local Community of Concern. Teams of leaders- including parents, students and school administrators- meet to set local priorities and action plans. Steering committees can be formed to carry out the priorities.
Head of School Advisory Board- A Head of School Advisory Board is comprised of Heads of School from a local Community of Concern. Their purpose is to establish and recognize substance abuse prevention as an institutional priority. They can further refine priorities gathered from the Leadership Symposium, draft a common statement that they can all sign regarding the fact that they have formed a united front on substance abuse prevention (this statement along with their signatures can be printed on the outside back cover of their booklets), and develop “Best Practices” within their own schools for educating parents and students about the perils of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
Parent Education Nights- We encourage schools to continue to educate parents about the effects of underage alcohol and drug use. For example- a panel of 2-3 speakers including a scientist, medical doctor, a substance abuse prevention expert, a judge/policeman legal representative, or a student who has chosen not to drink during high school – these individuals would give very different perspectives about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among kids …and heighten parent’s awareness of the problems associated with substance abuse.
Curriculum- Today’s kids live in a culture that often glorifies drinking, smoking or other drug use. At the very least, they are surrounded by advertisements and music encouraging them to try alcohol. In order to offset some of this negative influence, it is important for schools to educate children about the dangers of substance abuse, not only in the health classes, but also in the English, history, science and math classes. In a sense to “surround” them with knowledge regarding reasons they should NOT use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, the same way they are surrounded by pro-drug messages in the popular media.
To this end, the Northern California Community of Concern has been developing a 3 prong curriculum, based on our booklet, to further help parents guide their children. There is a parent education section, a peer education component and an academic piece. This group of schools has done us all a great service by organizing themselves to produce such a noteworthy contribution. Please look at the curriculums and use them.