Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Communities That Care group explores its online resources

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Samantha Anderson sanderson@tnonline.com in School

At its Nov. 17 meeting, Communities That Care (CTC) took the time to introduce and discuss valuable online resources. Denise Continenza, who oversees the group, reviewed the websites for Commonwealth Prevention Alliance, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) with the group. While looking at the PAYS information, Continenza explained the cross-tabbing system that allows the user to see the correlation between different variables. She specifically demonstrated with food insecurity and substance use.

It was requested that students help create a few 15-second commercials for iHeart Radio to warn against the dangers of drug use. The group discussed what kind of messages would appeal to both parents and youths. One of the suggestions was to use positive statistics in the messages, such as the average number of underage people who don’t drink or use drugs as opposed to “scaring them straight” with negative statistics and dangers.

One of the big topics of conversation for the group was the annual meeting. It was suggested that CTC host a program to inform the community about what the group has been doing and then provide education on a specific topic. The issue of trauma was mentioned, and the group discussed having a speaker do a trauma-informed presentation. It was noted that representatives from the district recently attended a training on the topic of trauma so now may be a good time to continue the conversation with the community. While a date has not been set yet, CTC members said the program may be held in February.

Whitehall-Coplay Middle School Principal Glenn Noack reported the students have been taking part in anti-bullying activities to spread the message. John Halligan, a national speaker and parent who lost a child to suicide due to bullying, did presentations for middle school and high school students, as well as interested parents.

Career education is one of the cornerstones of CTC, so Whitehall Area Rotary Club is planning to hold mock interviews for students in January to help prepare them for the future.

A career fair is also scheduled for the first week in March.

While the group has decided not to hold a full meeting in December, plans are being made for an introductory meeting for any new members to become more familiar with the group’s mission.

The next CTC meeting will be 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3355 MacArthur Road, Whitehall.