aDAPT for Youth - A Movement!

SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT!! Find our youth movement on ADAPT Burke on Facebook and @aDAPTburkeyouth on Twitter!

Here's a news story about our first ever meeting in May, 2015. Parents interested in a parents leadership training on Tuesday, August 11 should email bcacdrcook@gmail.com for more information.

At a gathering of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders this May, we did a lot more than we had planned!

These teens all agreed that alcohol and drugs was a problem in our schools and outside of school. They all know kids that have used or know OF kids who are using drugs or alcohol.

The leadership team took us through a lot of fun activities so could get to know each other and feel comfortable sharing.

The adults in the room and the teens divided so that we could talk about "cultural competency", which means that when kids talk to adults, or adults talk to kids, we have these big preconceived ideas about each other that get in the way, and that we need to put these on the table before we can get started really understanding each other.

We all agreed on one thing (ok, two things): Kids can create a lot of change, but they need the knowledge and resources adults have to actually get things done. And adults REALLY need kids in order to create change among the kids.

So, we need each other. And we need to understand each other. At this training session, we laid on the table some of the ideas we have about each other, which was a lot of fun. Here are the drawings we came up with, including advantages and disadvantages of the other as a whole >>>>.

TeensViewAdults

TeensViewAdults2 TEENS ON PARENTS: The kid is in bed on the phone and the parent is obviously not happy about this, telling the kid what to do in the first picture. In the second picture, the dad's got some pretty uncool things happening and is asking a lot of questions. The mom thinks she's cool, too. Our kids see adults as trying pretty hard! And the kids admit they need adults for their money, food, and love!

AdultsViewTeens

ADULTS ON TEENS: The teen here is shown as pretty self centered, complete with the "selfie stick" and tuned out attitude. One thing the adults are sure of, they need kids' new ideas, energy, and involvement in order to reach kids with a prevention message!

Then we immediately got to work hashing out the things we see as needed in the following areas, asking ourselves "What needs to be done to make a change that will reduce the use of drugs and alcohol?" in each area:

  • Policy: create a pledge for kids to sign, create petitions for making specific changes, understand the schools' rules and guidelines, create incentives for obeying policies;
  • Change Consequences: kids rebel against consequences, the reality is that drugs are not cool, therapy instead of juvenile detention, don't isolate youth in trouble - it just alienates them, keep you eye on the situation for a while before punishing, rewards for good behavior, adjust those consequences that are not working;
  • Provide Incentives: parking discounts, ball game discounts, volunteer hours, prom/dance discounts, club t-shirts, homework pass and extra credits, end-of-year cookouts; 
  • Enhance Barriers / Change Physical Design: Signage on campus / drug-free zones, safe patrolled parking lots, hosting gatherings for positive youth activities;
  • Provide Support: mentors provide positive reinforcement, clubs at school for kids to talk about situations, shelter homes for those dealing with home situations, accountability partners, support those having a hard time, provide appreciation and support for those who are helping, talk to and reach out to those who you don't normally talk to;
  • Build Skills: building personal skills, more training, better communications between adults & teens, teaching adults how to use technology, teaching non-judgement and different perspectives, teaching people to think creatively or "outside the box";
  • Provide Information: the drug cycle, reach younger and younger kids, find a different way of approaching teens, feature popular celebrities who don't do drugs, make videos and posters, use social media (twitter, instagram, snapchat), show statistics, show people different ways to be happy, help the community learn about what is going on around them, let people know what you really mean, share stories (i.e. on YouTube once per week), post stories of people who use and how they got clean, help kids understand what they're getting into, reverse video and stories (i.e. what if drugs were legal?), have a story to tell.

After many games and group activities, we were ready to take a look at what it was that was actually possible for us as this group of teens and handful of adults. We KNEW that we could make a change, and we knew we could reach into every high school, middle school, and elementary school in Burke County to create clubs and unite.

We needed a name. The teens began to brainstorm names that would be accepted among their peers and could reach across groups, barriers, cliques, geographic areas, and schools. After a lot of discussion, we came up with aDAPT, which stands for a Drug and Alcohol Prevention Team. It was brilliant!

We talked about getting together once again this summer, at least by social media, for planning how we could reach into our schools and begin slowly to create clubs once school starts again next Fall. With the help of adults (and parents' permission), the new movement will meet via social media this summer and continue to share ideas and energy... and we'll soon see what happens!

"aDAPT! Your choice. Your decision."