The nonprofit Bay Area Alliance for Youth and Families Coalition has been in Clear Creek ISD since 2003.
“The alliance is grant-funded, and (Clear Creek Independent School District) is our fiscal agent,” BAAYFC coalition specialist Jennifer Lobaugh said. “We have now received new funds to expand to Friendswood ISD.”
The Friendswood program will officially kick off at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 20 at the Friendswood Chamber of Commerce, 1100 S. Friendswood Drive.
“In that meeting, the main goal is let folks know who we are and what our goals are,” Lobaugh said. “Our main focus is to make good choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
“It’s free to attend and lunch will be provided. It is open to all walks of the community,” Lobaugh said. “Anybody who is interested in coming out to help or find out what they can do.”
Vaping warnings and medicine take-backs
The Bay Area Alliance has several tactics when it comes to preventing substance abuse. One involves making a home a safe environment.
“One example is medication take back,” Lobaugh said. “That’s an event we do twice per year with the (United States Drug Enforcement Agency), and the community can bring in their expired, unused or unneeded medications and have it safely disposed so that they’re not in the water system or in the trash, but it is taken out of the medicine cabinets where it is a dangling risk for use.
“Some parents say, ‘But my kids are so young.’ But what about babysitters that come into the house?”
Lobaugh said medication take backs have proven effective.
“We have seen in CCISD that incidences of prescription drug abuse have gone done since we have been doing the medication takebacks,” she said. “It’s a slow-moving needle, but it is moving.”
Since 2010, Bay Area Alliance medication takebacks have disposed of more than 23,700 pounds of prescription drugs.
Formal presentations are also part of the coalition’s approach.
“We do presentations on prevention priorities for underage drinking, underage tobacco use including vaping, prescription drug abuse and using marijuana,” Lobaugh said.
Those types of presentations are not limited to students.
“We do them for (parent teacher associations), civic organizations and church groups, too,” Lobaugh said.
One area that will see strong attention is vaping.
“There are a lot of kids who don’t know about vaping because it is a newer phenomenon and we see they are interested and engaging when we are talking about it,” Lobaugh said. “So, they are actually learning about what it is and the dangers of it as opposed to just being told that it is wrong to do it.”
To that end, she continued, “we’ve created the Bay Area Vaping Task Force, which is made up of people from CCISD and Friendswood ISD as well as other members from surrounding communities. Our first meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 4, and we’ll put our heads together to try and figure out how we can tackle this problem.”
That meeting will be held at noon at the CCISD Learner Support Center, 2903 Falcon Pass, Houston.
The group also plans offer activities that will take keep them away from drugs and alcohol, such as family picnics, family movie nights teen bowling nights “where we can go out into the community and kids can get out of the house and have ‘good, clean fun,’” Lobaugh said.
John DeLapp is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.