October Makes A Difference For Woodland Park Municipal Alliance
by Christa Limone.
October is the busiest month of the year for the Woodland Park Municipal Alliance Against Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, as it plans and hosts several events for the three local schools as well as the public. The Alliance is a volunteer based community group that is funded by the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
Local Girl Scouts and members of the Memorial School Anti-Bullying Alliance put out red ribbons outside of the schools. In all three schools, there was a door decorating contest where classes displayed what underage drinking and using drugs means to them and how it is harmful. A first and second place winner at each school won a pizza party.
Red Ribbon Week was capped with the annual Trick or Trunk event on Halloween at the WP Boys & Girls Club. Nearly 500 children spent an evening safely trick or treating to the 50 volunteer trunks in attendance. Anti-drug and alcohol awareness information and giveaways were handed out.
Making an Impact
During the course of the school year, the Alliance sponsors numerous programs and initiatives for students.
“One School, One Book” is just one program sponsored by the Alliance earlier this year at Beatrice Gilmore School. The Alliance purchased copies of “Friendship According to Humphrey,” by Betty G. Birney for every student and staff member. Parents read the book at home with their child, a chapter a night, and book was theirs to keep. The goal is to bring the school community together to talk about the importance of reading and friendship.
“Keep a Clear Mind,” a voluntary take-home program focused on drug education, was also recently introduced. Students received activity books (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, good choices) and are given incentives (bumper sticker, bookmark, pencil, bracelet, key chain) upon showing completion.
At Charles Olbon School, the Alliance sponsors “Footprints for Life” for the second graders. The program includes six visits from facilitators from the Center for Prevention who bring lessons to the students on topics such as feelings, problem solving and making good choices. Through the use of puppets and stories that feature real life situations, the program provides opportunities for students to practice the skills they have learned in a fun and non-threatening way.
Memorial Middle School has had three programs so far this calendar year. “We’re Not Buying It” focused on substance abuse prevention. It used prevention education strategies to reduce early first use of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription and over-the-counter medications. The focus was on raising awareness about substance abuse and bullying that are included in popular, non-advertisement media.
Eighth grade students also were able to attend Reality Check – a program at the Passaic County Jail. The Alliance funded the buses for the visit. In addition, the Alliance sponsored the “It’s My Life” assembly for students, which aims to erase the insecurities and fears students face daily, replacing them with an understanding of their true potential and the desire and motivation to be the best they can be.
For all district students, the Alliance has also offered free fitness classes at the Boys & Girls Club and will continue those again soon.
Find out more about the WP Municipal Alliance at https://www.facebook.com/Woodland-Park-Municipal-Alliance-Against-Alcoholism-and-Drug-Abuse-270766522995065/.