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Prevention Week

National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. This week’s events take place from Monday May 13- Friday May 17.

Monday- 5/13- In Plain Sight- Triton Regional High School, 6:30-8:30 21+ ONLY, Open to all community members

Tuesday- 5/14- Newburyport High School Health Fair

Wednesday- 5/15– ECAB Celebration Breakfast

Thursday- 5/16– Mental Health Provider Lunch

Anna Jaques Hospital will be hosting a continuing education course for physicians on Buprenorphine administration on May 4th

The Essex County Asset Builder Network will be posting positive social norms messaging on social media from our communities. Look out for live streaming about upcoming events and going ons around town!

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Pen Pals to Build Assets

A new Pen Pal program has launched in Salsibury!  All sixteen 5th grade students in Toni Evans class were matched with our Salisbury Council on Aging senior friends for an initial meet and greet and to share some refreshments together.  We announced our matched pairs and together they came up to greet each other, get some light refreshments and then sit and chat together for this first day. This was an incredible thing to see, as the seniors were so impressed with our students, and the pairs really connected and many seniors remarked how wonderful this was. This program helps create community connections across generations, helps both seniors and students feel valued, and help students build a network of more adults in their life they can trust and connect with. We will have a final farewell with them at the end of the school year, to say thank you for taking part in this special program.

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Project Warm

This past winter students at Salisbury and Newbury Elementary worked to create blankets that would be donated to the Pettengill House. Newbury parent, Michelle Walsh and Julie Romano, Triton Community Resource Liaison, collaborated with ECAB for a mini-grant for her idea for a community service project.  The elementary students crafted fleece blankets to be distributed to individuals and families at Pettengill House in times of crisis. Thirty Salisbury elementary students grades 3-6 signed up to take part in this after school project.  It was a huge success and a great time was had by all. This project helps build assets for youth because they are able to learn a practical skill, give back to others, work collaboratively with their peers and feel that they can make a positive impact on their community. The plan is to continue this service project throughout the district, making 10 blankets in each of the schools including the middle and high school.  Moving forward the group will be soliciting donations for materials.

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Youth Participate in 2nd Annual Regional Retreat

This past February over 60 young people from all six of our communities came together for the 2nd Annual Regional Youth Retreat. Students were able to look at and discuss their own data from the Attitudes and Behavior survey they took in Fall 2017. This year they looked at the risk behavior data and learned how to create positive social norms campaigns that change the conversation about drugs and alcohol in our communities. Typically, the narrative that gets passed around is about the youth who participated in risky behaviors like drinking alcohol or using drugs. These stories might make it seem like everyone is participating in those behaviors, however, we know that most students are making healthy choices. Students learned how to change the conversation, and instead, promote the healthy choices that a majority of students are making.

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Rowley Police Building Positive Relationships with Kids

Contributed by Officer Patrick McGettrick, Rowley Police Department

LEADS (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) is a community outreach program where law enforcement can interact with students at local schools in a positive way. The program focuses on helping students set and achieve their goals. Though it does touch upon drugs/alcohol, depending on the grade level, like the DARE program of the past, it is more of an open forum with students where they feel that they can ask any questions in a safe space. I am a certified LEADs instructor and currently teach the program once a week at the Pine Grove Elementary school, 6th grade. This program has increased positive relationships between the police, the school and the students. I have seen the benefits of this program as it makes police officers like myself more relatable to the kids. It shows that really under the uniform we are just like them, and we also have goals we want to achieve. My future plans are to implement this program for more grade levels across Triton in the hopes that we can strength the Police Department and our schools relationships.

If you are interested in learning more about this program or bringing it to your school, Rowley is hosting a one day and one week training April 29- May 3 at the Rowley Police Station (477 Haverhill St., Rowley MA 01969). To register please call 609-259-2500 or email TRAINING@LEADRUGS.ORG. For more information you can contact Officer McGettrick.


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Girls Rising

Twenty five girls in grades 6-8 joined together to talk about self-esteem and positive self image for the first Girls Rising event. This event was visioned, planned and run by the student sub-committee of the Human Rights Commission. Girls talked about what made women powerful, what they had control over in their lives and why girls sometimes hide parts of themselves to the world. The event culminated with girls talking about masks they sometimes wear to fit into society and ways that they could intentionally bring out more of their unique characteristics and instead of hiding them, be proud and show them to the world.

The next Girls Rising event will be held on Thursday, May 23rd from 5:30-7:30 PM. We will be talking about body image and Sami Migliozzi from The Cure studio, will lead the girls in a Butti Yoga class. Save the date and stay tuned for a link to sign up!

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Amesbury Launches PACT

Amesbury has launched PACT, Partnership for Amesbury Community and Teens, a group of youth and adults working together to find ways to help Amesbury youth succeed. Represented organizations include schools, recreation, law enforcement, religious organizations, social work groups, businesses, media, local government, non-profit and volunteer organizations, parents and youth. All of these agencies were already working to help build supports for youth, and were aware of each other, but were not officially collaborating together. Having people around the table who come from different perspectives and backgrounds can help to minimize duplication of efforts and allows the group to be creative about how to solve problems many of us might be facing. Some common barriers to helping youth like a lack of funding and resources can be solved by working together.

The first project PACT is tackling is aimed at connecting youth with the business community. Youth expressed that while they are interested in finding summer jobs, they didn’t know where to look, were uneasy about approaching random organizations and often couldn’t get to the businesses during regular hours. Businesses also expressed a concern about finding summer help. They don’t know where the young people were or how to connect with them. These needs led PACT to work on its first event, Seize Your Summer. This career fair type event is designed to help youth and local organizations connect. During school, students from all grades will have the chance to talk with local businesses who will have tables set up in the cafeteria. Businesses can offer jobs, internships or volunteer hours or can help youth expand their understanding of local job opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about PACT please join us. We meet every third Wednesday at Amesbury High School from 11:30- 1PM. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 24. If you cannot make the meeting but want to hear more or get on our mailing list contact Tina Los, tlos@ecabnetwork.com.

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Parent Event Update

Our six communities have put on numerous events for parents over the past quarter. Topics are chosen with parent input and are based on relevant concerns and topics for our youth. Events are free and open to anyone who is interested. You do not need to be from the hosting town to attend. Events are posted on our ECAB Network Facebook page, so be sure to Like and Follow us to stay in the loop!

Amesbury High School hosted its 3rd SPACES event, Risky Business, on January 31. Attendees learned about some of the risky items that teens might have in their bedroom and what they could potentially be used for. The main message of the evening was you know your teen better than anyone. Just because you find some paraphernalia in your teens room doesn’t necessarily mean bad behavior. Use your judgement and look for shifts in normal behavior. Look for opportunities to have a discussion with your teen about your expectations for their behavior around substance use and other risky behaviors. Small conversations EARLY and OFTEN before negative behaviors occur can help save a lot of stress and arguments between you and your teen and helps the teen feel like they have a voice and some control over their own decisions and actions.

Georgetown hosted Hidden in Plain Sight on March 18th. Here parents were able to go through a teen’s bedroom and see items that might be hidden or that might indicate substance use. Parents were able to talk to local police officers about paraphernalia, mental health providers about local resources, the DA’s office about Internet Safety, learn about vaping products, and learn how to start this often difficult conversation with their children (SAMHSA Talk they Hear You Campaign Info).

In March, Newburyport hosted Al Vernacchio, high school sex educator and famous TedTalker to speak to parents and their kids about how to start that often difficult conversation around gender, sexuality and safety. Al encouraged parents to be curious and supportive, without judgement, of their children as they explore their identity. 100 short conversations are more impactful than one big “The Talk”. Young people learn values not only through the words they hear but through the actions they see. Again, EARLY and OFTEN is always good when talking to your child about difficult topics. Click HERE to hear Al’s Ted Talks.

On Tuesday April 2nd the Triton Regional School District hosted a presentation on gender education facilitated by Jeff Perrotti, renowned expert in the field of Gender Education – Creating a Safe School Climate and founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students.

Don’t miss our upcoming talks!

cTiLT Parenting
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Rupert A. Nock Middle School Auditorium

A conversation with Debbie Reber, Founder of TiLT Parenting.
Debbie is on a mission to change the way one in five children who are “differently wired” are seen and accepted. For differently wired, think Gifted, ADHD, those with Learning Disabilities, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Disorder and more.
Debbie will talk about how schools, families and societies can best support such children, offering insights into how their unique gifts may just hold the key to solving the big problems of tomorrow. Debbie will also share insights into how we can shift the paradigm so these students grow into thriving adults.
This event is cohosted between the The Parenting Years Speaker Series and the Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) of Newburyport.

cIn Plain Sight
Monday May 13th from 6:30-8:30 pm
Triton Regional High School

If you missed Risky Business or Hidden in Plain Sight, but want to learn more about what struggles your teen might be hearing about around substance use, come join us to see for yourself. Learn tips on what to look for, familiarize yourself with current paraphernalia and learn how to make that difficult conversation a little bit easier.

cDigital Life Talks with Juma Inniss
Thursday, May 16th from 6:30-8:30 pm
Amesbury High School Auditorium

Digital Life Talks (DLT) are down-to-earth conversations about growing up in a digital world. They connect teens to real life stories and practical solutions for the challenges of 21st century adolescence and young adulthood. DLT will inspire your young people for critical thinking and decision-making, online and off. For parents and young people

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Georgetown Moves toward Youth Recreation Center

Georgetown is building a Youth Recreating Center for the young people in their town. Georgetown is an intimate community made up of volunteers, families and strong voices who are committed to seeing their youth succeed. Based on feedback from surveys, focus groups and stakeholder discussions, the current need for young people in Georgetown is a safe space for youth.

The research shows that if youth have a space that they can help design, where they feel like they have a voice and ownership, that has programming that allows them to build positive connections with their peers, adults and the greater community they are more likely to thrive not only in school but as adults.

Georgetown is looking to start a pilot to get the center up and running. They are hoping to open for Friday or Saturday night events and possibly even one day to start after school. This pilot is contingent on funding and will either start this Spring or Summer. The Center will need to hire a part time lead staff, some support staff who will then work with the Youth Leadership Board to create events and activities.

Groups of youth and adults have been meeting to discuss how to get this started. Here are a few ways to get involved and stay updated on progress.

  • Like and Follow the Georgetown Youth Rec Center Facebook page
  • Join us for our next meeting is May 1 from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Rec Center Space (Perley School, upstairs, 51 North St. Georgetown). Youth and Adults invited to attend

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Newburyport Learns to “Let Grow”

This past December Dr. Peter Gray from Boston College came to speak to the Newburyport community about the positive effects of play for children. The interest in this speaker came from a local parent who had heard about the Let Grow initiative out of Utah. There, the courts changed the definition of childhood neglect after questions of whether or not kids should be allowed to play alone in the park.

Dr. Gray presented his position, from years of research, that the decrease of play and the increase in mental health disorders is no coincidence. He explained how when children engage in self-chosen, self-directed play, they learn to create and direct their own activities, solve their own problems, negotiate, compromise and cooperate. All of which are now being taught as part of social emotional learning curriculum in school because children are lacking these basic skills. Gray also argues that play helps develop more than just social skills but can also help in many areas of development including physical, intellectual, moral, emotional and personal.

The Let Grow Foundation provides support and ideas to parents, schools and towns who want to encourage “free-range parenting” in their communities. Newburyport will be exploring ways to encourage this model of play this upcoming spring. Stay tuned!