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Accomplishments in 2019   arrow

January 2019

Opioid Forum Representative Paul Brodeur hosted a Community Forum on the Opioid Epidemic & current strategies from the state legislature to address prevention, treatment, & recovery.

February 2019

Recovery Coach Services available in Wakefield through a partnership with Wakefield Police Department & Health Department and Eliot Community Services. The primary goal of the Recovery Coach is to improve access to substance use disorder services for Wakefield residents by addressing the existing gap between those individuals struggling with substance use disorder and lack of access to a qualified recovery coach. The Coach will help individuals navigate the care system, build a relationship with each individual referred to the program, and help to support their behavior changes in their journey toward recovery. Clients identify their own goals for treatment and the coach helps support them to meet those goals.

National Conference Presentation Regional Tobacco Control Coordinator Maureen Buzby, Wake- Up Director Catherine Dhingra, Wake-Up Youth Leader Bill Stevens and a virtual Senator Jason Lewis lead a well-attended break out session at the CADCA Conference in Washington, D.C. The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) builds and strengthens the capacity of community coalitions to create safe, healthy and drug-free communities. The conference drew over 3,000 US and international participants. The title of their workshop was “Juuling in the bathroom to Tobacco 21! How local youth engagement can influence statewide policy change.” This workshop focused on the connection between youth, policy change at the local/regional level, and State Laws.


March 2019

MPY Conference on Vaping with Attorney General Maura Healy Catherine Dhingra and Maureen Buzby were on a panel in front of approximately 250 participants. They discussed local strategies to address vaping epidemic including policy change, enforcement, community education, and peer to peer strategies.

Understanding Childhood Trauma & impacts on learning and school environment (5 Part Professional Development Series for WPS on Mental Health- Part 4): On March 6 Wake Up sponsored Lisa J. Baron, EdD from Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention to go over this important topic with 40 WPS educators.

SOS Screening at Galvin Middle School-Galvin Student Support staff worked throughout the year to develop a method for better serving the needs of students who are or have experienced suicidal ideation. On March 19th, the WPS SOS team successfully screened 229 eighth grade students through the Signs of Suicide Program and BSAD screening tool. The combined high school and middle school student support teams followed up with all students who scored elevated or at risk for depressive thoughts including those of suicide, by the end of the school day. Parents were called, therapists were referred, and safety plans were enacted.

Parent University- Saturday March 23rd – Wake-Up co-hosted the 6th annual Parent University from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm at Galvin Middle School. Over 200 parents and caregivers came out to learn about Social Emotional, Academic, and Community topics. Jerry Posner led a keynote titled, “The Practical Power of Gratitude” Parents then attended two different workshops (with a selection of twelve different titles lead by school personnel and area experts.) “In Plain Sight” facilitated by Catherine D. and Officer Jay Skillings was one of the more popular workshops receiving strong evaluations from participants. Overall, praise for Parent University. One participant stated, “I loved the sense of community, the very positive vibe and the fact that parenting is hard, but it feels less so when you see that we’re all in this together.”

April 2019

4th Annual Wakefield Mental Health Forum: Dr. Robert Brooks “Raising Resilient Children & Adolescents” & Presentation from William James Interface Referral Service Wednesday, April 3rd, 7 pm Galvin Auditorium co-sponsored by Wake-Up. The event also featured several resource tables. Over 100 people came and post-event evaluation demonstrated a vast majority of attendees found the speaker’s information useful and applicable to their home and/or work.

WMHS & Galvin MS Complete SBIRT Screening Galvin (7th Grade) and WMHS (9th) grade completed the SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment), the mandate under Governor Bakers Opioid Bill. School staff should be commended for their hard to develop a system for screening all students in those respective grades, a thorough screening experience, and a process for follow-up.

2019 YRBS Administered to all students in grades 7-12 Completed by the schools in early April. This was done in conjunction with other schools in the Middlesex League and was funded by Lahey Health.

RX Takeback- April 27th Successful event! 3 large boxes were filled just from people coming to the station on the day of the event. We turned in 10 boxes with a total weight of 299.4 pounds. This was the busiest event that Sgt McCall has witnessed to date.

Diversion Class- April 30th Andrew Cedrone facilitated the two-hour group education class which is one of the mandatory components of Wakefield PD, NE Voke, and WMHS’s Diversion Program. There were 8 participants in the class.

May 2019

New Police Officer Training- May 13th Catherine and Tracy led a two-hour training with Wakefield Police Department’s four new officers. Catherine gave an overview of the coalition, collaborative programs with the police department, local data and emerging trends. Tracy shared her story, gave an overview of Recovery Coaching Services/her role in Wakefield, and discussed emerging trends in local substance use.

Senator Lewis’s Community Conversation on Vaping- May 15th This event, focused on combatting the Teen Vaping Epidemic, featured DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bahrel, Elise Yannett (Office of MA Attorney General), Maureen Buzby- our Regional Tobacco Coordinator, and two Youth Action Team members: Logan & Elena. There were approximately 25 people in the audience including public health, elected officials, law enforcement, and parents.

Wake-Up Annual Meeting- May 21st – over 65 people were in attendance at the Wake-Up Annual meeting. Youth Action Team members presented highlights from their year. Jill Charie & Donna Macdonald highlighted some of the coalition’s new projects and talked about the year ahead. Tracy Asciollio introduced herself as Wakefield’s new recovery coach. Chief Rick Smith was presented with the Wake-Up Impact Award, not only as a coalition founder but for his outstanding commitment to Wake-Up’s mission and vision. Our Youth Action Team Leaders presented WMHS teacher, Becky Lamarre with the 2nd annual Trusted Adult Award. Finally, graduating YAT Leaders Billy Stevens and Isabella Kehoe were thanked for their years of service to the coalition.

Wakefield Public Schools Social Emotional Behavioral Health Team PresentationMay 22nd Catherine gave an overview of the coalition updates, collaborative programs with the schools including the WMHS Diversion Program. Tracy shared her story, gave an overview of Recovery Coaching Services/her role in Wakefield.

2nd Annual Senior Night- May 29th/30th The event was a hit for the nearly 200 seniors who attended. WMHS Senior Night Committee was able to raise over $25,000 in cash and prizes to ensure the event was a success. Over 40 individuals volunteered at check-in, check-out, and at Dave and Busters to provide a safe and fun environment for our graduates.

June 2019

Festival By the Lake June 8th Wake-Up had a table and Youth Action Team leaders talked with visitors, answered questions and handed out information/resources.

July 2019

Annual Wake Up Planning Retreat Over 15 Coalition members turned out for Wake-Up’s 2019-2020 Planning Retreat.  The session was facilitated by Emily Bhargava, an independent consultant who helped the coalition identify priority areas, select strategies, and assign the next steps to move initiatives forward.

Alcohol Licensee Visits Officer Pietrantonio and Catherine Dhingra visited Alcohol Licensees to provide them with Sell Safe toolkits from the state and talk about staff training and certifications.

August 2019

Mystic Valley Public Health Annual Meeting- Over 50 people attended this event and learned about the regional collaboration between Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Winchester, and Wakefield working to address Opioid Overdose and implement effective, coordinated primary prevention strategies.

WMHS Fall Sports Parent Night, August 21st–  Over 100 parents of WMHS athletes came out to meet with coaches and hear from Athletic Director Brendan Kent and Athletic Trainer Sue Courchesne.  Coalition Director Catherine spoke about current trends with vaping, marijuana, and alcohol use and the importance of parents talking to their teens and one another.  She also gave an overview of resources available that can be found at the Wakefield Student Support website.

September 2019

Wakefield Diversion Program presented to DA Ryan’s Eastern Middlesex Task Force (Sept. 19) Attendees at District Attorney Ryan’s Regional Task Force meeting learned about Wakefield’s School-based Diversion Program. Presenters included WMHS Assistant Principal, Joe Mullaney, SEBH Coordinator Andrew Cedrone, WMHS Adjustment Counselor Suzanne Burns, and Catherine Dhingra.  They talked about program components, outcomes, and lessons learned.

Governor Baker Issued Temporary Ban on the Sale of all Vaping Products (Sept. 4th) Ruth Clay followed up the ban with personal visits to each of the licensees to make sure the products were removed from behind the register.

 Voices for Recovery & Remembrance (Sept.30th) on the Wakefield Lower Town Common.  Individuals from Mystic Valley regional communities, including Wakefield, turned out for this annual event.  Speakers included Town Administrator Steve Maio, Police Chief Steve Skory, and individuals in recovery.  A candlelight remembrance walk and vigil was held for those who have been lost.  Resource tables were available.

October 2019

Alcohol Policy Presentation Coalition Director presented to Town Councilors at their annual retreat about potential changes to Wakefield’s Alcohol Regulations as part of a regional strategy with the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition to implement evidence-based best practices throughout the seven cities and towns.

YRBS Results & Strategies Presented to HS Faculty Coalition Director presented the results of the 2019 (Spring) Youth Risk Behavior Strategy to all HS Faculty during their staff meeting.  She not only discussed data trends but highlighted strategies currently being implemented in the High School, across the district, and in the Town of Wakefield to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors.

High-Risk Team Meeting Wakefield Police Department’s Family Service Officer Amy Rando, Eliot Clinician Jennifer Waczkowski, and Eliot Recovery Coach Tracey Ascolillo convened a team of service providers to address the needs of Wakefield’s most at-risk adults.  The team came up with strategies and action steps to meet some of the most urgent concerns.  The team will meet monthly going forward.

YRBS Results & Strategies Presented to School Committee Catherine Dhingra & Brendan Kent presented the results of the 2019 (Spring) Youth Risk Behavior Strategy to School Committee.  They not only discussed data trends but highlighted strategies currently being implemented across the district and in the Town of Wakefield to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors.

Mental Health First Aid for clergy/faith leaders This event was sponsored by a Healthy Lynnfield and attended by Wakefield faith leaders.

Wakefield Public Schools Professional Development Coalition Director, School Resource Officer Kelley Tobyne (Galvin) and School Resource Officer Jay Skillings led a two-hour professional development training for 40 Galvin and WMHS faculty.  Bonnie Warren from Galvin Middle School provided helpful insight as well.  The training focused on data from the YRBS and current trends in Wakefield.  The next two training sessions in this five-part series will focus on Anxiety & Depression.

Community Justice Workshop Several representatives from Wakefield Police, Health Department, and Service providers were on hand for this two-day workshop focusing on justice-involved individuals with Substance Use disorders.  Communities affiliated with the Malden Court were present and identified resources and gaps in services.

Rx Take Back Successful event!  Wakefield turned in 260.6 lbs of unused medications to the incinerator.   Wakefield Police Department was recently awarded a grant for a new Take Back receptacle for the Public Safety Lobby.

November 2019

Vaping Conference Coalition Director presented the strategies Wake-Up is implementing to address Vaping on a local level at a state-wide Conference focused on the Youth Vaping Epidemic.

Chris Herren’s First Day Screening & Panel 11.20.19 @ Savings Bank Theater Wake-Up Collaborated with WMHS Athletics & Performing Arts to host this event.  The screening was followed by a panel with Jay Skillings, Andrew Cedrone, Tracey Ascolillo, and Suzanne Burns. Over 200 students, parents, and community members attended and provided positive feedback.

 “In Plain Sight” at WMHS Parent-Teacher Conferences Officer Jay Skillings and Coalition Director hosted an informal info session at WMHS. Parents had the opportunity to stop by, tour the bedroom, ask questions, and learn about emerging trends and strategies for talking to their teens.

December 2019

Diversion Class Andrew Cedrone facilitated this class with referrals from WPD and WMHS.  After the class, the students wrote essays, completed follow-ups, and met one on one with Suzanne Burns.

Youth Action Team Updates

January 2019

Galvin Youth Action Team Leaders attend MPY Youth Leadership Conference on January 11, 2019.  YOU LEAD is an initiative of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association for middle school student and adult leaders, and is co-sponsored by Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc. Topics Include: Leadership, Healthy relationships and violence prevention, Substance abuse prevention

February 2019

Family Feud On February 27th.  The Galvin Youth Action Team hosted their 4th Annual Family Feud. Over 30 Youth Action Team members were responsible for planning, promoting, and running this event which drew over 200 participants & audience members. This is not only a fun event, but helps build a positive school culture and recruit future Youth Action Team members.

April 2019

WEF Celebration of Learning.  On April 10th 7pm, at Galvin Auditorium Wakefield Education Foundation Community Impact Award. Our Youth Action Team Leaders accepted the award on behalf of the over 70 youth involved in the WMHS & Galvin Clubs.

Youth Action Team WEF Award


Vaping Focus Group On April 11th.  Youth Action Team Leaders lead two focus groups (one with 5th/6th graders & one with 7th/8th graders) on Youth Vaping at the Boys and Girls Club. The youth had spent two weeks getting trained on how to facilitate focus groups and worked with the Health Department and Boys and Girls Club staff to generate questions. Leaders shaKick Butts Day 2019 with Rep Wongred a summary of the focus groups at the April Wake Up meeting.

“Kick Butts Day” On April 3rd.  Six students from WMHS joined the 84 Movement at the 2019 Kick Butts Day Celebration at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Kick Butts Day is a national day that raises awareness of the importance of preventing tobacco use among teens. According to surveys, Wakefield youth state the two main reasons they would try vaping is attractive flavors & curiosity. Students gained leadership skills, through public speaking opportunities and meeting with officials including Representative Wong and Representative Brodeur. They had a chance to connect with hundreds of other youth who are motivated to make positive community change and promote healthy choices amongst their peers.

Matt Bellace spoke to WMHS student body on positive risk-taking & natural highs on April 22nd. The Youth Action Team followed up this speaker with bulletin boards & posters promoting his message. The YAT was able to host Mr. Bellace thanks to a grant from the Wakefield Education Foundation!

Youth Action Team Facilitate 9th-grade Health Classes. Youth Action Team Leaders and Club members presented to 9th-grade Health classes in April.

May 2019

Galvin’s Got Talent-May 10th Galvin Youth Action team worked hard to plan this school-wide, positive school culture event. This was the most successful event to date, with over 14 acts and 200+ audience members.

June 2019

Cooling Off Menthol: A menthol/mint survey was conducted across the state with over 3000 responses tallied.  At WMHS, 310 youth responded mostly 9th/10th graders via health classes. The brief survey asked various questions including:  Do you consider mint or menthol to be a flavor? 61.5% said yes.  In your community, do you see mint or menthol tobacco products (such as Kool, Newport, JUUL mint), used, sold or advertised?  79.5% said yes.  We received a project stipend and applied it to our end of the year HS YAT Club party inviting other clubs to hang out with us, playing games & eating Panera.

Get the Vape Facts Campaign: At WMHS, the YATL’s hung posters, included postcard facts in final school year edition of the Bathroom Buzz and put the postcards in all the faculty/staff mailboxes for them to share & display in their classrooms.  We will receive a project stipend for this which we would like to apply to our Youth to Youth Eastern States Conference tuition.

July 2019

6 Youth participated in the Youth to Youth Conference at Bryant University.  Youth Coordinator Kara Showers & Coalition Director reported that the Youth Action Team Leaders and Galvin Club members bonded and gained a lot of knowledge over the course of the 4-day conference to bring back to Wakefield.

August 2019

Sticker Shock Wake-Up Coalition’s Youth Action Team Leaders visited liquor stores in Wakefield for Sticker Shock. Youth created stickers that define the penalties of purchasing or providing alcohol to minors. They placed stickers on bottles and cans of popular teen alcohol drinks. It reminds people who can buy alcohol not to buy for teens, “If they can’t buy for themselves, don’t buy for them.”

Galvin 8th Grade Leadership Summit- Youth Action Team’s Logan Cosgrove to the lead in organizing this leadership day with over 100 rising 8th graders.  YAT Leaders, alongside 8th-grade faculty, helped facilitate workshops on leadership, speaking out, symbolism, and how one presents themselves online and in person.  During the afternoon the leaders ran interactive team building workshops.  Overall it was a great event and received positive feedback from faculty and 8th graders.

Convenience Store Checks Youth Action Team Leaders visited all Wakefield Tobacco License holders (15) to monitor stores’ compliance with updated Tobacco and Drug Paraphernalia regulations.  The youth were trained by Maureen Buzby & used a standardized tool to evaluate each store to identify different drug paraphernalia and tobacco products no longer allowed in Wakefield stores.  The youth found 9 stores with possible violations.  The products they identified included flavored tobacco products (not including mint), scales, glass roses, pipes, “Whip-it’s”/Nitrous Oxide containers, edible CBD products, and other items.  The youth will present their findings to the Board of Health.

September 2019

Stress Stars Galvin Youth Action Team members presented the Student Support Staff with 350 customized Galvin “Stress Stars”. Youth used the proceeds from their spring Galvin’s Got Talent Show to purchase them.

Youth Action Team presentation to Board of Health Mitra Patel presented findings from the Youth Action Team’s Convenience Store Checks, showing which stores were in violation of Wakefield’s policies, (tobacco flavor, CBD Edibles, and Drug Paraphernalia).  They were happy to report that Ruth and Maureen followed up with all of the stores in violation & had them remove their items.


Galvin Club The first Galvin Middle School Club of the year welcomed 30 new and returning Youth Action team members.  HS Leaders (who are Galvin Club alumni) gave an overview of the club, facilitated team building activities, and helped students work on the News Flush, a Trusted Adult project, & come up with the parameters for a photo contest.

HS Club The first High School Club of the year was very successful with forty youth participating!  New Youth Action Team members got straight to work on the Bathroom Buzz, Faculty Newsletter, and prep for the Healthy Living Expo.

Healthy Living Expo Youth Action Team Leaders had tables at the 3rd Annual Healthy Living Expo.  Youth facilitating an interactive activity asking people what they do to grown “healthy flowers” and shrink “negative weeds.”

 Wakefield Cultural Council & WEF Grants Submitted Youth leaders wrote an application to Wakefield Cultural Council to create a mental health awareness photo mural for Galvin Middle School.  The display will be entitled, “99 Faces of Warrior Mental Health.”  The YAT team also collaborated with WMHS Athletics to bring Olympian Samantha Livingstone to Wakefield.  Her presentation is on perfectionism, anxiety, and depression.  Wake Up will learn about grant funding in December.

November 2019

WEF Grant Awarded- The Youth Action Team is teaming up with Varsity Track Coach Perry Pappas & WMHS Athletics to bring in Olympian Samantha Livingstone to speak to WMHS student athletes and other students.  The presentation entitled, Journey Back to Joy- A mental health conversation, will focus on Samantha’s success as an Olympic gold medal swimmer and her struggles with anxiety, depression, and perfectionism. She will share with students how with the help of therapy, she got the support she needed to be well.  Samantha will be invited to a special evening at the Galvin Auditorium in early April and will speak to all student athletes (approximately 300 students), coaches, and other student groups and clubs.

December 2019

 Galvin Youth Action Team: Over the past month the club closed out their annual photo contest & chose winners.  In addition to the December News Flush, they produced their first-ever Faculty Bathroom Newsletter.  They are currently working on a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Bulletin Board and prepping for their Trusted Adult Campaign.

HS Youth Action Team: Over the past month the club welcomed their new advisor, Miss Delory.  The youth finished their Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Campaign health hallway display.  The December Bathroom Buzz went up, spotlighting Ms. Burns.  The Trusted Adult Campaign wrapped up with great participation.  9th-grade health class presentations were scheduled for the week of December 17th focusing on YRBS stats in a Jeopardy game format.

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