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Fairfield Prevention Coalition to ‘Celebrate Youth!’ this month

FAIRFIELD — 

The Fairfield Prevention Coalition will celebrate its youth at the end of this month, giving parents an opportunity to see what they’ve learned.

This is the first time for the coalition, and likely the first time parents will actually see what their kids do with this extracurricular activity, said Pat VanOflen of the Fairfield Prevention Coalition.

“All other extracurricular activities such as ours have a way to show it to their parents, such as games or plays,” she said. “Our parents have been there mostly as support, providing transportation, dropping the kids off and letting them miss school, but they haven’t really got to observe what exactly they do.”

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The Prevention Coalition has been around for a decade, educating children about the dangers of drugs and teaching them life skills. Their efforts have decreased youth involvement of drugs, as evidence of the biennium coalition survey of Fairfield students.

A 2018 survey showed dramatic decreases in junior high and high school students’ drug and alcohol use. The 2020 survey, which results are expected near the end of this month, should show continual decreases, VanOflen said.

“We have to continually engage new parents as their kids are coming through the school. We can’t stop,” said VanOflen. “Parents are the biggest influence on the choices the kids make.”

Fairfield Prevention Coalition’s “Celebrate Youth!” event on Feb. 25 will showcase the work the youth coalition has done, and recognize their 12 senior students. There are 50 total high school students involved with the youth coalition, as well as 25 freshman and 40 middle school students.

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“The main goal is to show each of the (event’s) guests the prevention skills we teach our kids to assist in decreasing harmful behavior and have a lifelong interest in enhancing the community,” VanOflen said.

The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Receptions, 5975 Boymel Drive, Fairfield, and tickets are $10 per person.

The Fairfield Prevention Coalition started a pilot program where middle schoolers engage the sixth-grade students twice a month with some type of activity. The hope, VanOflen said, is those sixth-graders will have more interest in being a part of the coalition.

And the more kids involved in the coalition, “the more parents we need to engage so that they can support them,” she said.

For ticket information, visit tinyurl.com/celebrateyouth.

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