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Non-Profit Spotlight: Prevention First

Thu, Jun 16, 2011

Founded in 1980, Prevention First’s main goal is stopping teen drug use before it starts. Through its many specialized services, Prevention First reaches out to millions of people throughout Illinois, it provides materials and services that are scarcely matched in the area. The main headquarters resides in Springfield, Illinois, but a branch is right here in Chicago at 600 W. Chicago Ave. Suite 200.

Mission:
To provide statewide leadership in promoting healthy, drug-free communities.

Services:
A special drug prevention library holds thousands of materials on teen pregnancy, violence, academic failure, and more. Must be 18 to rent.
The Student Assistant Center works with Illinois schools to prevent substance abuse, violence, and relationship issues. The program also houses Students Against Destructive Decisions services and support.

Classroom-based, self-paced, and interactive webinars are used to train professionals to give them the tools they need to make prevention work.

Publish specialized prevention newsletters aimed at drug and alcohol issues in Illinois. These publications are very relevant to professionals involved with these kinds of prevention.

Upcoming Event:

Date: Friday, July 8

Prevention First will be hosting the fourth annual Night Out at the Ballgame when the White Sox face the Twins at Cellular Field. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. and Prevention First festivities start at 5:30. Party Packages are available for $75, which includes a game ticket in section 102 or 103, one raffle ticket, and an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner. Proceeds will benefit their drug prevention efforts. For more information, call 312-988-4646, ext. 225.

How to help your teen:
If you are concerned that your teenage child may be abusing drugs or alcohol, Prevention First is here to help. It may feel uncomfortable, but it is important to talk to your kids about experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It is never too early to intervene. Here are a few simple suggestions provided by drugfree.org to go about having this conversation with your child.

Tips

Avoid talking to your child if you believe they are drunk or high. This will be ineffective. Wait until he or she is sober, then talk.
Be open and honest. Perhaps begin the conversation with a line like, “I’ve noticed you’ve been going to a lot of parties lately. Is there a lot of drinking going on?”

If you’re really convinced and concerned that he or she is abusing, have some backup. It will be harder for your child to deny that anything is going on if you say “Are you sure? Last Friday night you smelled like alcohol when you came home…”

Be direct, but keep cool. Don’t get angry, but come from a place of love and concern. This isn’t about punishment. It’s about the health and well being of your teen.

Lastly, talk to your teen about your own memories and mistakes! Once they realize that you have been through it all before, they will feel more comfortable opening up to you.

To make sure that your child changes his or her behavior, monitor it slightly and keep a tab on where your child is going the next time they head out the door on a Friday night. Who is going to be there and what will they be doing? Don’t get too controlling, but make sure you lay down the line when you sense something going on.

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