The Community of Concern is a partnership of parents, students, schools and other organizations working together through education and cooperation to keep youth alcohol, tobacco and other drug free.
Upon reading through the following steps, if you do decide to proceed with creating a Community of Concern in your area, please contact us so we can provide support to you as you build your group.
Members in the Community of Concern share a commitment to educate parents through:
- the distribution of the booklet, “A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use“,
- the use of our state-of-the-art interactive course “Online Parent’s Guide“ which is based on the booklet, and
- the sponsorship of other parent education events.
The booklet is the central, unifying element and is customized for each individual Community of Concern by listing on the front cover the names of all local schools/ organizations who are sharing this resource for parents. Additionally, the covers are personalized for each school/organization within the local Community of Concern so that each school/organization’s seal appears on the front cover, along with the list of schools/organizations, and its own substance abuse policy is contained within.
Member schools choose to distribute the booklet every year to every parent (just as the school’s Student Handbook is distributed each year to every family) to:
- keep the spotlight on the issue of substance abuse prevention within the parent/school community,
- continue to emphasize the school or other organization’s priority to help children avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and
- be sure that ALL families, old and new, are aware of the rules/policies and have the booklet as a resource to help them guide their children to make safe healthy decisions to avoid underage drinking, smoking or illicit drug use.
Step 1- Review Booklet and Build Consensus
Review the booklet, with counselors and parents, to be sure that the information contained in the booklet is the information you want parents to have. If you agree, it is time to build your own local Community of Concern.
You can invite public, independent, private, or parochial schools and/or any community organizations who may have an interest in helping youth avoid alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to join with you. You are now the LEAD SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION.
Step 2- Order Sample Booklets
We will provide sample booklets for each school or other organization you would like to invite to form your local Community of Concern. (Order information at the end of this page)
Each Community of Concern should include between five and twenty schools/organizations. The more schools and other organizations on the cover of the booklet, the more powerful the message will be: We stand TOGETHER against alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among young people.
Step 3- Prepare Order Forms and Set a Response Deadline for Schools/Organizations
The best time to set up a Community of Concern is during the spring or fall- although we are flexible and can work with you to meet your individual needs.
Spring– If a group is set up during the spring, a deadline no later than April 1 should be set so that schools will still be in session, before summer break, as they review their soft-proofs for approval to print. The booklets will be ready for distribution in September and will be delivered during the summer months.
Fall– If a group is set up during the fall, a deadline of December 1 or earlier should be set so that schools will be able to approve their soft proofs and have the booklets ready for distribution in January/February before the “Spring Social Season” arrives.
Step 4- Send a Letter of Invitation, Sample Booklet, and Order Form
Send a Letter of Invitation, a Sample Booklet, and an Order Form to the Head of each school or other organization you have selected. Schools can also order booklets online through this website. (Download these forms at the end of this page.)
Step 5- Telephone each invited school/organization to follow up
Contact each school or other organization you have invited to answer any questions the Head may have. Each school/organization should be encouraged to review the booklet and make their own decision to participate in the Community of Concern by the set deadline.
Sometimes, a principal who wants to create a Community of Concern can build consensus at an already scheduled meeting of Principals. The introduction of the booklet and discussion can be held while the invited Heads are in attendance. Some schools who have done this, have seen unanimous endorsement of the initiative at the very meeting where the idea was presented.
We recommend, however, that each school have their counselors and parents review the booklet and support the partnership before the individual school makes their commitment to participate. The strength of the Community of Concern is based upon the fact that no one person or school can successfully address the challenge of substance abuse prevention alone- our hope for changing the culture on underage drinking, smoking and illicit drug use lies in the power of partnership.
Step 6- Distribute the Booklets
The booklet can be accompanied by a letter signed by the Head of School/Organization, Head of Parent Organization, Dean of Students, Vice Principal, Head Counselor, President of Student Body. The more unity around the booklet, the more enthusiasm and support will develop in the community.
Step 7- Inaugural Celebration
Plan an Inaugural Celebration to welcome the Community of Concern to your area. A parent representative from the Community of Concern and a recommended scientist combine to offer parents even more information and an understanding that they are not alone as they guide their children to avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Such “Celebrations” can become annual events, bringing parents together to help them gain more insight into the impacts of underage drinking and other drug use on their children and to re-connect them with one another as they build parent-networks to help their children make safe, healthy decisions.
Step 8- Leadership Symposium
Plan a Leadership Symposium to gather together the different components of the Community of Concern from among the member schools. Each school in the local Community of Concern invites a team of their leaders- 3-5 parents, 3-5 students and 3-5 school administrators (Head of School, Dean of Students, Head of Counseling, faculty)- to establish priorities for the local Community of Concern and to set action plans.
These symposiums should be held annually to enable Community of Concern leaders to share successes and challenges, re-assess priorities and develop best practices.
Finally, all of the above steps are recommendations. We can assist you in the planning and you can also refer schools to this web site for additional information.
Your own Community of Concern can contribute to the national effort in any way your leaders choose.