BROCTON - Community leaders in Brocton are hoping to create a strong relationship with residents and school leaders to tackle issues concerning drug and alcohol use among youth in Brocton and Portland.
Brocton trustees voted to be the lead agency in a joint effort between the village, Brocton Central School District and the community as a whole for a communitywide meeting concerning results of a recent survey.
The New York State Youth Pride Development Survey, funded through United Way, was given to several area school districts in Northern Chautauqua County recently. Students in grades seven through 12 were asked a variety of questions relating to drug, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs including pharmaceutical use as well as community involvement, life values and social behaviors.
According to Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council Director Patricia Munson, the study's goal stems from a new campaign of CASAC's services aimed at working directly with communities to see what's happening in and out of the school districts and identify areas that may respond positively to change.
She and CASAC Community Educator, Jeff Thomas explained how the survey was constructed to the board members, and that it was certified for validity so that any surveys that could intentionally skew the results would be thrown out.
"We're really trying to look at what can be done to improve and enhance your community and are specifically focused on the drug and alcohol component this survey gives us a good look at all of these areas," stated Munson.
A complete and more detailed summary of the survey results was forwarded to BCS Superintendent John Hertlein including highlights that are of specific interest to Brocton as a whole.
From there, Munson explained, the summary can be distilled into areas that community groups and members, such as parent groups, churches, volunteer organizations, may be interested in zeroing in on.
"Our main purpose of being here tonight and presenting you with this information is to determine if you would like to present all of this work in the setting of a communitywide meeting. This evening we would like to ask you as a board if you would be the lead agency for a community-wide meeting where we can present this survey, the results and more details. If anyone would have any interest in the drug and alcohol issues, or other issues that were identified that the community can address, we would like to be able to open that up," added Munson.
Trustee Art Donovan, asked the two if there would be a potential opportunity to start up a group for youth, similar to what Alcoholics Anonymous works towards with adults.
Munson added that by engaging the community, including families, churches, maybe some clubs that are already formed, a group with that goal in mind would have a good starting point. Trustee Dale Van Vlack, noted a good partner may be the Interact Club already in place at BCS.
"Brocton has always been supportive of the agency's initiatives and we definitely have support from BCS to be fully involved in finding solutions to these areas," stated Thomas.
"If we can, we would like to really try and delay the early onset of alcoholism in adolescents, especially considering how the adolescent brain develops."
Mayor Dave Hazelton introduced a resolution for the village to serve as the lead agency in getting the public meeting up and running, which trustees voted in favor of.
"I think it would be a terrific thing for all parties to have a discussion in the community about this, and we're more than glad to act as the lead agency on this," added Hazelton.
The village will be working on identifying stakeholders to contact to attend the meeting and will be working out scheduling details with the superintendent.
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