What Is Prevention?

In our culture, results talk.

We feel good when the job is done and our to-do lists are completed.  We'll stay late and work overtime if it means we can cross it off the list.  That's why mowing the lawn is so great when you're finished.  You can look back & see the direct results! Getting results is what matters.  Right?  

The other day I was trying to explain what Lakewood's CHOICE does & the results we're seeing in the Springbrook neighborhood of Lakewood.  After trying to explain to this eager school counselor what we do, I could see by his facial expression that he didn't get it.  He's not alone.  He didn't understand how prevention is getting results.   Honestly, sometimes it's hard to explain ALL the different things we do.  I started clumsily by saying we do community dinners, a parenting series, a prevention club in the high school, community movies, block parties, etc...& then I realized this is only a portion of what we do.  We will do everything in our power  to ensure less kids are using drugs & alcohol.  We, in substance abuse prevention value results too.   One of the main differences is that our timeline to achieve results can be longer & harder to see.  We want the results to last for generations.  We want kids to not just say "no" to substances, but choose healthy options, thrive, and invite others to thrive with them!  

We look carefully & thoughtfully about what communities want, what they need, & what the  risks/protections are for youth before jumping in with answers.  It's important to us what everyone has to say.  We know for a community, school, family, or individual to implement change, they have to want it & own it. 

So, while we focus our doing on stuff we know that works (aka Evidenced Based Programs)...We also continue focusing our energy on building awareness about the risks around drug use, cutting off the access of drugs/alcohol/tobacco, & giving kids & families healthy options!   

I'm grateful for all the friends we've made along the way in accomplishing results & am excited to meet more!

  

~James from CHOICE