Youth Action Team Updates:
- Distracted/Impaired Driving: The dangers of impaired driving cards have been ordered along with lifesavers with the slogan “Be a Lifesaver Don’t Drive High.” Once these products come in, they will be placed on approximately 200 student cars in the junior and senior parking lots at the high school.
- Galvin Youth Action Team: Club members have begun working on their Family Feud game that will take place in the Galvin School cafeteria on 2/9 after school. This will be the club's biggest fundraiser and a great way for kids to spend time together in a safe space after school!
- Later School Start Times: Alexis presented her project on Later School Start Times Superintendent Lyons. The Youth Council has voted to endorse this initiative. Alexis will now meet with the policy committee members of the School Committee to discuss next steps.
- Fox 25 News & Teen Mental Health: Rosella and Alexis were invited to Fox 25 news to be interviewed by Kerry Kavanaugh about the impact of Covid on teens. They joined students from Chelsea and Gloucester High Schools and shared their experience with attending school post-pandemic. The girls were stars! We look forward to a clip of this airing on 2/15 during the 10 pm news and then a longer 30-minute special in March.
- Distracted/Impaired Driving: The dangers of impaired driving cards and lifesavers were placed on approximately 200 student cars in the junior and senior parking lots at the high school with messaging about the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving.
- Healthy Relationships Advisory: Grace and Rosella created a successful lesson on healthy relationships for March’s advisory. All students at WMHS participated in the 30-minute advisory where they watched a video and slideshow on identifying signs and symptoms of an unhealthy relationship, and then participated in an activity where they identified what “love is” and “love is NOT.” This advisory got great feedback from students and teachers!
- Galvin Youth Action Team: Club members delivered a successful Family Feud event on 2/9! Students in grades 5-9, along with a variety of staff, came to participate and watch this entertaining event! The students were able to raise over $400 and are now working on brainstorming a way to give back to the Galvin community with their earnings.
- Potential Grant Opportunity: Alannah, Trevor and Sienna are working with an advisor/mentor from Microsoft on a grant proposal for Social Capital Inc. They are proposing hiring a bilingual YAT leader and creating a peer-to-peer mentoring group with English Language Learners in Wakefield to help them feel connected to the school and community. They have met with Galvin ELL teacher, Kara Zubrowski, to help with anecdotal data and have prepared a slideshow and budget narrative that they will deliver on April 1st to a panel of judges.
- New YAT Leaders: We have hired two new YAT leaders who started at the end of January. Wisely Chea and Luke Greif are both sophomores at WMHS who bring lots of great ideas and enthusiasm to the group! They both hit the ground running and are busy planning their first projects…we are lucky to have them join our team!
- Wakefield Arts Council Grant: The YAT was notified that they were recipients of a grant from the Wakefield Arts Council! Alannah and Luke are leading club members in creating 100 Warrior Faces 2.0. In this project, they will take selfies of WMHS students who choose not to partake in vaping and create a banner to be hung at the Galvin Middle School with these faces and some information about the dangers of vaping. This is a continuation of the original 100 Warrior Faces project which was done in 2020 to destigmatize mental health struggles.
- Environmental Scan: Alannah has completed her environmental scan of local convenience stores with tobacco licenses. She went to these stores and observed their displays of tobacco, nicotine and nicotine products. She is in the process of compiling her results and will share with Maureen Buzby, the Regional Tobacco Prevention Coordinator.
- Compliance Certificates: YATL gave out Compliance Certificates to all stores that were in compliance with tobacco/nicotine mandates & passed compliance checks conducted in February & March.
- Social Capital Inc Grant: Sienna and several YAT presented at Microsoft on Saturday, April 1st about creating a peer-to-peer mentoring group with English Language Learners in Wakefield to help them feel connected to the school and community. This program was awarded $1000 to get started! We are excited to pilot this mentorship program beginning this fall.
- Parent University: Alexis, Grace, Wisely, and Rosella joined 5th grade Student Adjustment Counselor, Dorie Blieden, in a workshop for parents about the impact of social media on youth at Parent University on 3/25/23. Their workshop was well attended by parents and the kids received rave reviews!
- Galvin Youth Action Team: Members of the Galvin Youth Action Team are preparing “trusted adult” and “ways to say no” campaigns. They will set up a table in the cafe during lunch and ask students to come to the table and write their trusted adult’s name on a sticky note and place it on a poster board. They will do the same activity another day but will ask for appropriate ways to say no so that Galvin students can start to practice their refusal skills. Members of the Galvin Youth Action Team are also preparing to bring the Talent Show back to the Galvin! The kids are excited to bring this back as we haven’t had a live talent show in 3 years!
Other Coalition Highlights:
- Adult Mental Health First Aid Course: Residents & got certified in Wake-Up/HHS/Recreation Department’s Adult Mental Health Course on January 12th.
- Grants submitted: Catherine worked with WEF (Wakefield Education Foundation) and the Wakefield Public Schools to write for Cummings Foundation Grant to evaluate, expand, and improve the structure of Wakefield Public Schools Social Emotional Behavioral Health staffing, programs, and strategies.
- Catherine & Amy helped spearhead an application for WAAV through the Cummings Foundation, to expand the organization’s operating efforts, increase violence/healthy relationships education & prevention with the Wakefield Public Schools, improve access to emergency housing for survivors of DV, and increase legal support.
- Melrose-Wakefield Healthcare 3rd year of funding received. Major goals of year 3 are:
- Support new immigrant residents by connecting them to local, inclusive services that directly impact social determinants of health, including but not limited to: housing, education, food, clothing, legal services, employment and primary & behavioral health needs.
- Improve community connections for English Learning new residents.
- Provide trainings and networking luncheons for providers.
Using these funds, Melrose & Wakefield HHS hosted a Social Services Networking luncheon on February 7, bringing together over 25 area social services providers to learn about the new Community Behavioral Health Center operated by Eliot. Jason Lewis was in attendance and gave an overview of public health policy updates, as well as several policy & funding updates related to Social Determinants of Health.
- Worked with the schools to support the administration of SBIRT (Screening for Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment) for 7th & 9th-grade students. SOS Screening for Signs of Suicide Depression & Anxiety screening for all 8th & 10th graders.
- Wakefield Parent University: Two successful virtual KEYNOTE addresses (Feb 9th & March 9th) reached over 300 parents & caregivers. In-Person Workshops will be offered on Saturday, March 25th. Amy C. & Maureen B. will be facilitating a workshop on “Escape the Vape” on Vaping & Marijuana Trends & how to talk to your tweens & teens. Typical or Troubled on youth mental health & many more. https://sites.google.com/site/wpsparentuniversity/
- Piloting two new programs at Galvin: Middle School Substance Use Diversion Program (funded by Opioid Settlement funds) and Hate Speech/Act Diversion Program funded by Stop School Violence Grant
- Working with the Middlesex League and JSI to administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Wakefield the first week of April. Catherine & Brendan Kent (WPS) took the lead for WPS, and the survey was administered at both Wakefield Memorial High School and Galvin High School during the week of April 4th.
- STOP (Sober Truth for Preventing Underage Drinking) Act Grant Submitted. If awarded, Wake-Up/Wakefield Health & Human Services would receive $60,000 per year for four years to fund Underage Drinking Prevention initiatives.
- WMHS Senior Night: Actively recruiting new committee members & planning this year’s event. May 31st- June 1st. For more information on how to support or volunteer, visit: https://www.wakefieldseniornight.com/
- Wakefield Outreach Plan- Narcan & Fentanyl Test Strips HHS Staff & Recovery Coach have partnered on an initiative to work on outreach strategies to reach restaurant/business owners to provide them with Narcan & training. At the same time, we are working to provide packages with fentanyl test strips, Narcan, & other resources to people who recreationally and heavily use drugs.