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Coming Home Town hall meeting and Career Fair

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

This Communities Talk activity was an event held in conjunction with an annual career fair at W.E. Striplin Elementary School on May 2, 2023. The event was an in-person, face-to-face discussion on prevention efforts for drug and alcohol misuse across all barriers. This approach helped engage more people in discussion. This collaboration of events allowed our important information, data, and statistics on our communities’ drug and alcohol misuse to be shared at an event the community were already at. This is how we met the people where they are, since many parents, faculty, staff, and community members come for resources and to learn what is available in the community. We had students from Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and staff members from W.E. Striplin School help share information on the dangers of substance misuse and underage drinking. This allowed for many more people to access this information compared to having a singular Communities Talk event; pairing it with another activity helped with engagement.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

Alcohol and other drugs have been detrimental to our community, as we’ve had students who lost a parent to fentanyl overdose. This severely impacted our students and community. Substance misuse is a concern not just for our parents, but it affects our students’ attendance, performance, and motivation while they are at school. This is why these events are so important in helping teach our students that they can make better choices.

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Which prevention strategy(ies), as defined by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, best fit your Communities Talk activity?

  • Environmental Strategy - focuses on establishing or changing community standards, codes, and attitudes thereby influencing incidence and prevalence of alcohol and other drug use within the community. The strategy depends on engaging a broad base of community partners, focuses on places and specific problems, and emphasizes public policy.
  • Community-Based Process Strategy - focuses on enhancing the capacity of the community to address AOD issues through organizing, planning, collaboration, coalition building, and networking.
  • Information Dissemination Strategy - focuses on improving awareness and knowledge of the effects of AOD issues on communities and families through “one-way” communication with the audience such as speaking engagements, health fairs, and distribution of print materials.
  • Education Strategy – focuses on “two-way” communication between the facilitator and participants and aims to improve life/social skills such as decision making, refusal skills, and critical analysis.
  • Alternative Strategy – focuses on redirecting individuals from potentially problematic situations and AOD use by providing constructive and healthy events/activities.
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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Hold meetings or discussion groups on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Start a youth-led coalition on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Work with my local legislators or policymakers to educate about the importance of changes to, or recommend enforcement of, existing laws and policies.
  • Student youth peer group pushes out information to their fellow students here at Striplin Elementary: SADD Club
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Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


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What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We overcame these challenges by receiving additional support from City Council members and staff members at Striplin to make these events even more successful, interactive, and engaging.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)
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Organizations that conduct Communities Talk activities often involve other organizations in the planning and execution of events. Please indicate which type(s) of organizations you involved in your activity planning.

  • Law enforcement
  • Youth-led organizations
  • Colleges or universities
  • Charitable organizations
  • State and local government agencies (e.g., public health departments)
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Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

  • Youth
  • Parents
  • Teachers or other education staff
  • Prevention specialists and volunteers
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Legislators or policymakers
  • Doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals
  • Youth leaders (e.g., coaches, parks and recreation personnel, and scouting leaders)
  • Healthcare providers
  • Clergy
  • The media
  • Black or African American community members
  • Hispanic community members
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBTQ) community members
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How did you reach and engage your primary audience(s) to encourage them to participate in your activity?

To reach out and engage the primary audience, I sent home letters to parents, local businesses, and City Council members. I also went the old-school grassroots method and knocked on doors; sometimes phone calls and emails just don’t get the job done.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Prevention-related webinars
  • Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits

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