The Parenting Project, based upon research that identifies family involvement as a major protective factor, was a collaborative effort from 2001 to 2003. In partnership with the Safe School Liaisons, we ran a parent event called "Linking Families Night" at every middle school where we featured the presentation "Better Futures" along with other activities, food, and fun. Additionally, SCoSA had an active presence at numerous community events and health fairs distributing parent literature from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Moreover, we ran a substance abuse prevention parenting program called "Roots and Wings" in the workplace.
Since 2001, SCoSA has been distributing prevention literature to area schools, libraries, pharmacies, and doctor's offices through our Prevention Marketing Project. SCoSA was a major partner in the BELIEVE IN ALL YOUR POSSIBILITIES campaign targeting the reduction of middle school tobacco and alcohol use. The campaign is a partnership of a coalition of Sarasota County Health Department and the University of South Florida. We have assisted in the distribution of the DVD/video for parents titled "Can We Talk" and other Believe materials. We received mini-grants from the program to produce the brochure "What Do You Think", cloth and plastic bags, and for substance abuse training for the Arts After School program staff from Sarasota YMCA and Sarasota County Arts Council.
The PREVENTION INFORMATION CENTER in Venice, funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, served as a hub of outreach for the South County area from 2003-2004. During the year it was in operation, the Center was a repository of information, data, best practices, and other materials available to the community. Staff disseminated 3000 pamphlets on drug and alcohol resources in the County, 500 "Can We Talk" DVD/video's, 40 display racks, 500 literature bags, and countless printed materials at health fairs, school events, and community meetings.
The CIVIL CITATIONS PROGRAM was a collaborative effort, funded by the Department of Juvenile Justice from 2001 to 2003, to divert first-time offenders into a restitution program. During that time, a total of 95 citations were written and 75 youth were eligible for the program. They received assessment and participated in a variety of activities such as counseling, community service, life skills instructions, and writing letters of apology. At the end of the program, 95% of the participants completed the activities and the 85% remained crime-free at the six months follow up. The program could not have been successful without the collaborative efforts of local enforcement, service providers, and the SCoSA staff.
BUILDING BRIDGES is the ongoing effort of staff and support members to connect with members or leaders on the following local entities: The Community Alliance of Sarasota County, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Consortium, The Sarasota County Juvenile Justice Council, The 12th Circuit Board of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Mentoring Taskforce, The Healthy Start Coalition, YMCA Euclid Branch Board of Directors, The Sarasota County Aging Network, The Hispanic/Latino Coalition, Sarasota United for Equity and Responsibility, SCOPE Implementation Taskforces, and some others. It is hard to quantify the outcomes of our involvement, but we are confident that the benefits to the community as a whole are positive and numerous. "Building Bridges" - establishing and maintaining relationships - is what the Coalition was truly formed to do.
SENIOR OUTREACH is the ongoing effort of the Senior Focus Committee. Since inception, we have given over 100 presentations on Life Skills and substance abuse prevention and intervention as it relates to seniors. We have presented on: "Substance Abuse and Stress"; "Domestic Violence"; "Depression"; "Is Recovery for You?"; and "You can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks". Moreover, we expanded information distribution and education through the Medicine Bag program. We held two major community events: The Hidden Trio: Addition, Drugs, and Violence and Trouble in Paradise: Substance Abuse Issues among Seniors.
Our Family and Schools Committee developed an action plan for 2004-2006 that built upon the work of the Parenting Project. The effort, named the PARENT LEADER PROJECT, is based upon the Parent Corps Model, a drug-prevention initiative of President George W. Bush that acknowledges the power of parents and supports them by giving them to the tools they need to keep their children drug-free. Interested parents can contact the Coalition to learn how they can become a part of this dynamic team that provides valuable information to other parents. Through a partnership with the Hanley Center of West Palm Beach, we had the proven-effective, science-based, model prevention program "Project Northland" implemented in all schools Dioceses of Venice (Bradenton to Naples), and several Sarasota County charter and private schools. This prevention curriculum is unique in that at each grade level - 6 to 12 there is a strong parent involvement component.
The YOUNG ADULT CENTER is located at 1400 Ogden Road in Venice, Florida. The Center is a huge building that area youth have converted into their own place for innovated youth-driven activities including creative arts, music, food, business mentoring, service learning and much more! This project is an outgrowth of our South County Taskforce Committee to increase protective factors through building skills, providing opportunities, and increasing recognition in order to reduce underage drug use.
The RAINBOW INITIATIVE FOR HEALTHY LIVING PROJECT was a collaborative effort put forth by Community AIDS Network, Inc., Hispanic Latino Coalition, Project Challenge of the West Coast Inc., and SCoSA. Funding was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration through the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The Rainbow Initiative for Healthy Living Report (Rainbow Report) was the culmination of 12 months (October 2001- September 2002) of activities focusing on the issues of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in the Black and Hispanic/Latino communities in Sarasota County. The Rainbow Report reviews: 1) prevalence and trends, 2) access to services, and 3) strategies necessary to meet the needs of the communities.
The DRUG FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAM is an ongoing effort to promote the adoption of drug free workplace practices based upon Department of Labor guidelines, with additional parent informational workshops in all business sectors. A spinoff program is Drug Free Schools, which follows the same concept but is based upon Department of Education guidelines. Both programs are primarily funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To date, we have given over 80 presentations and registered 40 businesses as Drug Free Workplaces. In June 2004, the Sarasota Military Academy adopted both programs. In October 2004, the Catholic Diocese of Venice adopted the Drug Free Schools program. The Greater Sarasota, Venice, and North Port Chambers of Commerce embraced the promotion of the Drug Free Workplace Program among their members.
PREVENTION IN THE CLASSROOM is an ongoing effort to introduce small units of prevention curricula in all grades and all schools. Mainly funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, this project produced an action plan for reaching middle schools with prevention materials. This is a progressive effort towards conducting training for elementary teachers and beyond to promote prevention curricula. In 2003, School Resource and DARE officers put together a course on drug awareness for in-service credit for teachers and parents. The course ran five weeks and was attended by 35 people each week.
DEMAND TREATMENT! Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral Project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 2003 to 2004, to implement screening, brief intervention, and referral services (SBIR) in local emergency rooms, public health clinics and other settings. This project involved three components: 1) to implement policy changes to require screenings and professional training; 2) completion of social marketing campaigns targeted at at-risk drinkers and their loved ones; and 3) creation of a set of service directories to improve and guide referrals. In November 2002, key stakeholders signed the SCoSA Public Policy Statement, which is the framework for our Fiscal Year 2004-2007 Strategic Plan. In 2004, we developed and implemented the SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environments) Campaign to raise community awareness and promote disseminated several E-directories and CD versions to providers. Currently, we continue to promote Public policy strategies, the SAFE Campaign, and annual updates of the service directories.