You're thinking, 'What is the mayor writing the first "School Matters" column of the school year?'
Dr. Wayne Babcanec, superintendent of Norwalk City Schools, Walt Klimaski, president of Norwalk Catholic School, and the Reflector have graciously allowed me to write this back-to-school column, about Community Prevention Partners (CPP), a partnership with the city, the schools, and others to fight drug abuse in our community.
We have made much progress in recent months that I am anxious to share with you.
Schools matter. In the fight against drug use, schools make a difference especially in what they do best educating. This school year a new collaborative drug prevention program will be introduced in the schools.
The DARE Program which has educated over 10,000 students since 1990, will be paired with LifeSkills Training offered by the Huron County Health Department. LifeSkills Training is a model substance abuse prevention program from the U.S. Department of Education, and has been studied for over two decades with demonstrated success. This collaborative program will be offered to all Norwalk students in third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth or 10th grades.
Parents matter. As do grandparents and other family members. It is a new world today, with more dangerous drugs more readily available even in Norwalk.
You are the people standing between drug use and the children you love. Statistics tell us that there are factors in a child's life that make them more resistant to drug use. Learn and use these factors in your family. Prepare yourself to see the signs and symptoms and know where to go if the worst happens, and you find your child is using.
Families are not in this alone. Two informational meetings are set to help. Learn these and other facts. Meet with the experts in the area. Receive important at-home supplies including a drug/alcohol testing kit. Meetings are from 7 to 8 p.m Sept. 24 at St. Paul Convocation Center or Sept. 27 at FTMC Learning Center at Norwalk High School. You are free to attend either one.
We need you. Partner with us to create a community where children are empowered to say no.
Sue Lesch is mayor of Norwalk.