Partnering for a safe, healthy, substance free community in Wakefield, Massachusetts

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  • “In Plain Sight”: Open House & mock bedroom at Wakefield Town Hall introduced over 200 parents/community members to warning signs of risky behaviors including drug use, self-harm, eating disorders, & risky internet behavior.Officer Jay S. at In Plain Sight
  • 3rd Annual Parent University: was a great success with over 150 parents attending. The post-event evaluations demonstrated parents gained a lot from the Keynote, and workshops. Many parents commented about the ability to connect with one another and the community-school link they feel is thriving in Wakefield.
  • E-cig/vaping presentations YATL’s and WHS club members presented to 9th graders in their health classes on why vaping is not safe and tobacco industry tactics.Wake Up Youth Capitol Hill Feb.2016
  • 2016 Health & Safety Guide: Every parent/caregiver with students in grades 5-12 received information on topics including social host liability, risks of adolescent marijuana use, the Wakefield Rx Take Back program, dating violence, and more. Proceeds from ad sales went to support the Wake-Up Youth Action Team.
  • Galvin Youth Action Team managed several successful projects over the course of the ’15-’16 School Year. These projects included a school-wide video contest, 7th grade movie night, Family Feud event, and the monthly News Flush newsletter.
  • Kick Butts Day Wakefield Youth Action Team leaders headed to the statehouse and met with local Law Makers to talk about how big tobacco, including flavored cigars and e-cigarettes are impacting youth in Wakefield.20160226_185724
  • Annual Meeting drew over 60 people and featured dinner (sponsored by WCAT), a keynote address from District Attorney Marian Ryan, and Year in Review Video produced by Youth Action Team Leader Joe Boudreau. This year’s Community Award was given to Jill Charie, Director of Wakefield Memorial High School’s Alternative program. “Jill was nominated for her dedication to former students struggling with addiction. Jill has gone above and beyond to find and develop support systems for this vulnerable population.”
  • Youth Action Team Films Show on Teen Underage drinking in Wakefield and Social Host Liability. Special Guests were SRO’s Officer Kelley Tobyne and SRO Jason Skillings.Galvin Youth Action Team at movie night
  • S.O.A.R. Group Launches as a new program starting in Wakefield for young adults focused on recovery, healing, and support. The S.O.A.R. Program (Substance & Opiate Awareness & Reduction) is a weekly support group lead by a Licensed Mental Health Clinician, Alcohol and Drug Counselor from South Bay Community Services. The Clinician leads discussions and works with an evidence based curriculum focused on recovery and harm reduction. The group also links participants to important local and regional resources to aid in their treatment and recovery. Participants must go through an in-take process (most insurances accepted). Individuals without insurance can be assisted in obtaining Mass Health. There will be a maximum of 15 participants.


  • Wake-Up & Wakefield Police hosted Substance Use Disorders Resource & Support event on November 17, 2015.  The evening featured regional experts covered understanding the science of addiction, treatment options & resources, post-acute care, long-term recovery support, harm reduction, and family support.  The panelists provided advice and one-on-one support for individuals and families.
  • youth presenting to BOH 10.28.15Wakefield Board of Health updated Tobacco regulations on Oct. 28th 2015.  The new regulations will go into effect January 2016 will restrict the sale of flavored products and prohibit the sale of single cigars with a retail price of $2.50 or less.  Wake-Up Youth Action Team members presented findings from their 2015 WMHS survey that showed youth use tobacco & nicotine delivery products that are “cheap, sweet, and easy to get.”
  • Institute for Health & Recovery SAFE Project launches at WMHS: Students whose substance use is negatively impacting their lives can be referred to this program by a parent, school personnel, police officer, or probation officer.  For more info visit:
  • Interface Referral Program launched in September 2015 in Wakefield thanks to a collaboration between the Wakefield Public Schools and the Town of Wakefield.  The mental health referral program is now equipped to handle referrals from Wakefield for any age resident (birth to death).  Call to consult with a mental health professional about resources and/or receive personalized, matched referrals (based on insurance, location, type of provider needed, and availability).


  • Wake-Up & WPD Rx Takeback continues to collect a significant amount of unused medications. Over the past July, August, & September 128 lbs. of medications were turned in.
  • Recovery Month event at Wakefield Lower Common was a successful, thoughtful event.  Over 60 people turned out on Sept. 24th at 6:30pm to hear stories of hope and remembrance.  WPD Chief Smith spoke on behalf of law enforcement and communicated the theme of hope and his department’s commitment to help those suffering from this disease. Three different individuals in recovery shared their stories.

Copy of News Flush December2 (1)

  • Galvin News Flush debuted in the bathroom stalls at Galvin Middle School in mid-May.  Wake YAT leaders worked with Galvin students to design this monthly newsletter that included “most of us don’t drink” stats, organization tips, and information about talking to trusted adults.
  • Galvin Above the Influence: Over 50 submissions were received for the Galvin Above the Influence social media contest.  Galvin students used to show what they live above. #galvinatiIsabella Kehoe
  • New Police Officers Trained: Wake-Up Director Catherine Dhingra completed a 2-hour training session with seven rookie police officers.  The training gave offers an overview of local data, best practices in prevention, linkages between mental health & substance use, and local resources.
  • Ryan’s Story – A Presentation on “Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Youth Depression” on April 6th, 6th & 7th grade students heard this important presentation followed by a parent event in the evening, approximately 50 parents attended the evening session. Galvin student support service staff communicated their services, availability, and handed every student a card with their phone and email addresses.  Parents were made aware of the Galvin Student support services website with local mental health professionals, support groups, and other resources.
  • Wake-Up Annual Meeting on March 25th was a great success with over 50 guests.  Senator Lewis’s keynote speech addressed the work that Wake-Up is doing & how he is taking what is happening on the community level to implement statewide changes. The Youth Action TeamWake Up Annual Meeting Jason Lewis
    members talked about their strategies for ‘growing flowers’ and ‘shrinking weeds’. Senator Lewis says he is now borrowing this phrase from the Wake YAT leaders when he talks about prevention! Youth Action Team member Joe Boudreau made a year in review video.  Marissa Hoffman won the youth award and Jen Hart, School Psychologist Galvin Middle School won the Wake Up Community Award.
  • 2nd Annual Parent University on March 21st was a great success with over 150 parents attending.  The post-event evaluations demonstrated parents felt the event was extremely worthwhile and gained a lot from the Keynote, Academic and Social-Emotional workshops.  Many parents commented about the ability to connect with one another and the community-school connection they feel is thriving in Wakefield.2015 Health & Safety Guide Cover
  • 2nd Annual Wakefield Youth Health & Safety Guide was in the Wakefield Daily Item and mailed out to every home with students in grades 5-12pm.  The comprehensive guide lists critical information on substance abuse prevention, mental health, & other wellness topics including a 3-page local resource list.
    To access the guide in pdf format please click on the following link: Youth Health & Safety Guide




  • National Drug Facts Week at Wakefield High School during the last week of February.  Youth Action Team leaders designed posters, announcements, and homeroom quizzes to debunk common alcohol, tobacco, and drug myths.


  • Mental Health First Aid– As of July of 2014, Officer Tobyne has trained & certified over 45 Wakefield teachers in the skills needed to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in their students.
  • Former Celtic Chris Herren– This dynamic speaker shared his experience with drug and alcohol abuse with both students and parents at Galvin Middle School on June 3, 2014; enthusiasm from these presentations launched the first “Project Purple Day” where middle school students wore purple and pledged to live a healthy lifestyle consisting of no drugs and no alcohol.
  • Marijuana Zoning Article– On May 12, 2014 this article passed at town meeting by a vote of 100-7; this limits the potential sites of medical marijuana sales to the heavy commercial industrial zone near 128 Mazda and the Wakefield Elks.
  • RX Take Back– On April 26, 2014 Wake-Up hosted this national take back event which promoted use of the town’s prescription drug  and syringe drop boxes located at the Wakefield Police Station.  Residents are able to dispose of unused or expired medications as well as syringes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to insure these don’t get into the wrong hands. We continue to market these resources through partnerships with local pharmacies and the Senior Center.
  • 20150321_0853561st Annual Wakefield Parent University– On March 22, 2014, 150 Wakefield parents/caregivers heard from a key note speaker on “Raising Confident, Resilient Children in a Culture of Pressure;” the Four Hour Academy included several workshops on academic and social-emotional topics.
  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey– On March 7, 2014, Wakefield Public Schools and Wake-Up administered this survey to all Wakefield students in grades 7-12; data is compared to the national and state averages as well as the 2011 Wakefield YRBS results and is used to inform programming and other prevention strategies in the public schools and community.  See School Committee Presentation:
  • Community Forum on Heroin and Opiates– On April 8th, 2014, this televised forum was held at the Public Safety Building and featured experts on the Opiate Abuse Epidemic.
  • New Alcohol Regulations– New regulations went into effect on January 1, 2014; Wake-Up sponsored SAFE ID Check training for all Wakefield Liquor Licensees.
  • New Drug Paraphernalia Regulations– These regulations went into effect on January 1, 2014 as well. Prior to these regulations, of  the 8 convenience stores checked, 100% sold some sort of drug paraphernalia, including blunt wraps, while  60% carried paraphernalia including pipes, hookahs, glass “love roses”  and copper scouring pads, such as choreboys.
  • MOAPC (MA Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative) – Catherine Dhingra (Project Director), is an active part of this group consisting of representatives from Medford, Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, and Wakefield.
  • Community/Parent Presentations– topics include current substance abuse trends and strategies to address these; audiences include Wakefield Rotary, Galvin PTO and parents, Dolbeare PTO & parents.