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Life of an Athlete

Hosted by: Central Mississippi Prevention Services, Inc.

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

In collaboration with Vicksburg Family Development Services, we conducted a Communities Talk activity called Life of an Athlete in December 2021. The activity featured the use of virtual technology and highlighted a pro-baseball athlete who is well-known to this community. We obtained the assistance of the coaches of football teams from three local schools in order to make a virtual presentation on underage drinking to their football teams. Those teams included the St. Aloysius football team, the Vicksburg High School football team and the Warren Central High School football team.

Each of the meetings was well-attended, with a total of 120 participants. Both coaches and athletes learned how alcohol use affects a person’s physical, mental, and social development. The athletes and coaches also seemed concerned by how alcohol negatively affected the on-field performance of the athletes. I am proud to say that this prevention effort was done collaboratively with Vicksburg Family Development Service and its director. It was due to her ideas and planning that the event went so smoothly.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

Locally, little emphasis seems to be placed on underage drinking. It seems to be only very rarely a topic of concern. Several local nonprofits go into the school and do a good job of addressing the topic of underage alcohol use. However, the effectiveness of parental knowledge and involvement in the prevention of this issue seems extremely limited.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Reduce prevalence of underage drinking and other substances in community
  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
  • Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
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What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

With the lack of resources and the pandemic, we all planned and worked harder to make the event happen. Each school provided us with a volunteer or staff member to help organize the meeting and we worked together to make this virtual.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

The director of Vicksburg Family Development Service was the chief planner for this prevention operation. The planning also included the speaker along with the coaches from each school.

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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes. Having virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings for planning was primarily prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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