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Prevention Partners seek to heal community of drug infection

Modified: Friday, Nov 23rd, 2012

Taylor County Prevention Partners recently met at the Strike 12 Resteraunt to discuss ways in which the group can help local law enforcement and educational personalle in the war against stubstance abuse. “Our goal is that we bring awareness and education to citizens, educators, lawmakers and parents on the issues of substance abuse,” commented Walesca Marrero, pictured above at far left. In the center is Mike Baker from the Marion County Child Advocacy Center. At far right is is Joan McNeemer.

GRAFTON - Taylor County Prevention Partners is an organization composed of students, parents, educators, school administrators, CPS workers, social workers, ministers, and law enforcement under the direction of the Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network  (TCCFRN), as they “raise their voices to proclaim that the youth of Taylor County should be our number one priority in the fight against substance abuse.”

The group first met in October at the Blueville United Methodist Church.  During that first meeting TCCFRN Director Walesca Marrero addressed the group encouraging them to come up with a plan to make a difference. She noted that a grant had been received by the coalition for $10,176, to which $5,000 was to be used in Taylor County.

The group met in November in the ballroom at Strike 12 Restaurant to enjoy a meal and continue their discussions. With the mission to work “collaboratively within the community to implement innovative, sustainable prevention strategies to achieve our vision of freeing our community from the destructive effects of substance abuse,” the group was directed in a number of discussions by Joann McNeemer.

McNeemer emphasized, “We can’t solve the problem if we don’t know what the issues are.”

Each table was given a series of four questions to discuss. Question one was, “What is the problem or specific drug issue in this county?” Each of the four groups involved in the discussion found themselves developing a list of drugs, and then prioritizing them as to what is most often seen in our community.

Each of the four groups had students from Taylor County Breaking the Cycle involved, to answer questions and participate in the discussion with a viewpoint from the youth level.

The second question, which incorporated the findings from question one, asked, “Why is it (the drug) a problem?” Continuing the thought, participants were asked, “Why is it a problem in this county?” Finally, the groups were asked to develop “some solutions to this problem specific to this county.”

The answers to the questions at each discussion group were then collected by the group reporter and submitted to Marrero for use during the December meeting.

Marrero closed the session by reminding everyone that the group had been formed in an effort to bring everyone together to find solutions. “We are not here to point fingers, but to help heal our community,” stated Marrero.

She further explained that through the efforts of this group that she hopes to be able to help the schools, and local law enforcement, by providing educational tools and funding they need in the war against drugs.

Taylor County Prevention Partners will be meeting again on December 10, at 6 p.m. in the Grafton High School Mary Battle Room.

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