Blue Snowflakes
One Maine
One Portland
"Together We Can Fight Substance Abuse" - January 2007
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Volume 2, Issue 1

Greetings and welcome to the second issue of OMOP's E-Newsletter! Please look over our newsletter for meeting dates, upcoming events, program info and contact information. Use the "Quick Click Sign Up" tab in the left column to SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE NEWSLETTER and pass our information on to any other community members you feel would be interested in OMOP's Mission.

One Maine One Portland: Stand United for Prevention
The OMOP Steering Committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month from 11:30-1:00. If you are interested in attending a meeting or finding out about OMOP opportunities for community involvement, please contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116 or

The OMOP Steering Committee has broken up into two 'subcommittees' in order to most effectively address our plans for the Prevention Plan; these groups are the "Parent Involvement Subcommittee" and the "Individual/Peer Involvement Subcommittee." FMI on the "Parent Involvement Subcommitte," contact Amanda Edgar at 756- 8053. FMI on the "Individual/Peer Involvement Subcommitte," contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116.

Because OMOP provides lunch for our all of our meetings we kindly ask that you RSVP Tracy Chalecki at 756-8021 or via email at This will ensure that we provide a variety of yummy food for everyone!
City Hall Image
An update from OMOP's Project Coordinator, Ronni Katz...

When One Maine One Portland formally came together in 2003, our mission completely focused on preventing underage drinking and youth substance abuse. As we have evolved and grown, so has our mission. With this issue, we unveil our new mission statement:

“To foster nurturing and healthy relationships, environments and programs that encourage positive youth development and enable all young people in Greater Portland to live substance-free.”

All too often, many of us in the prevention field tend to put the focus on the problems and as a result, completely lose sight of the values that brought us here in the first place. When funding opportunities begin to dry up, we sometimes set our sites on statistics and forget about the faces and voices that those numbers represent. Although population-based change is effective and desirable, change invariably starts with the individual. When we reach a single person, they go out into the community and reach others who then carry that message to more people and the continuum flows. Isn’t this why we do what we do?

I am extremely excited and encouraged by the progress that OMOP and its members have made and look forward to the implementation of the Portland Community Prevention Plan. The plan is a result of our partnership with the 21 Reasons Coalition (formerly CMCA) and is based on data from surveys and public meetings that took place in the spring of 2006. More than 700 community members participated with almost half of the responses from local youth. We have created a plan that represents the priorities they identified as well as the recommendations and priorities of the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and proven national programs. We hope to publicly release the plan sometime this spring.

So, as you can see, positive change is in the air and it is infectious. We hope that you will work with us to help create the best possible place for our youth and their families to live and thrive. Let’s all be a part of the solution.

Ronni Katz, Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator, City of Portland Public Heath Division
Snowflake and People
This Edition's "Member Highlights" Section is Brought to us by Mike Clifford & Margaret Jones... In October, Mike & Margaret traveled to the lovely state of Minnesota to be part of the Search Institute's Healthy Communities•Healthy Youth Conference--Asset Building Comes of Age: Transforming Society With Youth. Here are some highlights from the interviews Amanda did with Margaret & Mike...

*Margaret Jones, Day One, Director of Prevention Services
  • Amanda: In October 2006, you traveled to Minneapolis, MN to the Search Institute’s ‘Healthy Youth/Healthy Communities’ Conference. In Portland, and in your program, could you share with us how you see any of the “40 Developmental Assets” (developed by the Search Institute) being effectively implemented in our community?
  • Margaret: Day One supports the ‘Peer Listening/Natural Helpers’ program where trained middle-school-age students select their peers who display ‘red flags’ (such as substance abuse and eating disorders) through activities and refer them to the help and services they need. This type of program promotes “active youth involvement” (through activities like ‘open houses,’ school tours and ‘mix-up days’ in the cafeteria where the students use ‘ice-breakers’ to get kids who wouldn’t normally interact with other groups engaged). It also allows all those involved to feel included as this age-group has been seen in the MYDAUS data as “at greatest risk through this transition stage (6th-9th grade).” Most recently (in the13 schools), 175 students were referred to services by the ‘Peer Listening/Natural Helpers’ program!
  • Amanda: If you could select one, what do you see as the most important tool to increase the building of these assets in our communities?
  • Margaret: “Engaging a wide array of people like the elderly, faith communities, drop-outs and high- risk homeless youth as well as anyone who has a connection with youth and wants to create a thriving environment for youth.”
  • Amanda: Do you believe that there is enough ongoing support in our communities to foster the building of assets? If not, what more could/should Portland be doing to increase asset building in our young people?
  • Margaret: “People are unaware of the power of ‘Asset Builders.’ It doesn’t have to cost money and it’s easy to use. If more people knew about Asset Builders, it could be very useful. When I talk to parents, they say, ‘Well, I know I don’t want my kid to use drugs and I know I don’t want them to have sex,’ but we need to ask, ‘What do we want teens to do? Changing the focus makes all the difference and we need to ask how to best engage parents. In one school, students actually called the parents of their peers and instead of saying, for example, ‘We need to talk about getting inhalants out from under our sinks’ they asked them to join them to talk about positive steps to take to create a thriving environment and there were over 200 people that came to the discussion.” The Developmental Assets are “simple & easy to use” they really end up “engaging the best qualities in people.”
  • Amanda: What is one highlight from your experience at the Search Institute conference would you like most to share with the group and how do you feel it pertains to OMOP’s mission?
  • Margaret: At this October conference there were about 1,000 people in attendance and about 500 of them were youth and many were the keynote speakers. “OMOP can take the next step. We can follow our mission statement and create environments and services where ALL youth are engaged. OMOP could provide a lot of these opportunities.”

  • *Mike Clifford, Portland Public Schools, Safe & Drug-Free Schools Coordinator

  • Amanda:In Portland, and in your programs, could you each please highlight a couple of the “40 Developmental Assets” (developed by the Search Institute) and share with us how you see them being effectively implemented in our community?
  • Mike: Much of the power of the 40 Developmental Asset Framework is derived by the extensive research conducted by Search Institute over the last 40 years in the fields of child development, risk and protective factors, resiliency and prevention in order to help encapsulate what qualities, skills, experiences and relationships all young people need in order to succeed. Rather than focus on deficits and what is wrong with young people, the Asset Framework invites all adults in neighborhoods and communities to consider the strengths that young people possess and how those strengths and talents and gifts can be utilized to empower young people to make healthy decisions for themselves. In a survey conducted in 2000 with Portland’s young people, only 9% reported having 30 or more Assets, and 15% reported having less than 10. Portland Schools has responded to the challenges and opportunities to become more intentional about asset building in a variety of different ways. The Superintendent has included Asset Building as part of the strategic plan for Portland Public Schools as a method to help increase academic achievement for all students. Service learning initiatives that help connect real community issues with curriculum based instruction and real student ownership is another way that schools are engaged in asset building. There are many initiatives underway to address school climate issues that engage students as both leaders and problem solvers. Youthink is another example of students working to address root causes of problems which affect them with the support of adult allies. The 40 Assets have also been translated into 9 of our minority languages to make them readily accessible to our refugee and immigrant communities. What becomes evident is that many of the existing programs and practices with young people are asset building in their nature. The trick is to make our positive approach to all young people a more intentional asset building approach. Remember it is not the program, but the PEOPLE in the program that ultimately make the relational difference for many young people.
  • Amanda: If you could select one, what do you see as the most important tool to increase the building of these assets in our communities?
  • Mike: Asset Building initiatives have been ongoing in Portland schools and in some neighborhoods for many years. Yet none of these groups have been able to “saturate” the community with the power of Asset building as a way to engage the many sectors of the community into making Portland an even better place or everyone. We have much to celebrate and much remains to be done if we want to build the type of community where adults and young people are all working to make sure that children and youth have what they need to succeed. A prolonged, multi-faceted public awareness campaign about the power of Assets to protect from harmful behavior and to promote thriving behaviors would give us all a common language and common knowledge upon which to base our decisions for the good of Portland’s young people.
  • Amanda: Your presence at this conference was sponsored by OMOP; you will be providing ‘training’ to OMOP members in the near future. What is one highlight from your experience at the Search Institute conference would you like most to share with the group and how do you feel it pertains to OMOP’s mission?
  • Mike: I am so looking forward to engaging OMOP in the possibilities which the Development Asset Framework can offer to us. While there were many specific “learnings” from some enriching workshops, I think the message I want us all to carry is that we are building a healthy community in Portland that is part of a much greater national and international initiative. To engage more adults, to activate more community sectors, to mobilize more young people, to invigorate more programs and to influence more civic decision making are enervating and necessary steps that could transform our community into one where all young people really do have what they need to succeed. Isn’t that the city in which we all want to live and work and play?

  • *In the words of great Minnesotans everywhere, "You Betcha," Mike!

    An Interactive Presentation at Long Creek Youth Development Center...Ronni & Amanda visited LCYDC in early December to give a presentation regarding the damaging effects alcohol has on individuals and on society as a whole. The young men (about 20 of them were in attendance) were respectful, engaging and insightful. It was a great experience and we were happy to have been invited to present!

    An Exciting Update from Favor Ellis & PROP's Peer Leader Program... With the support of a Powerful Youth mini-grant from Healthy Portland, PROP's Peer Leader Program has begun an exciting collaboration with the Portland Police. With a primary goal of increasing youth perception of neighborhood safety and the utilization of community supports, we are working to engage participants in an ongoing exploration of mutual stereotypes, safety and relationship. On December 20th, Police Officers and Community Policing Liaisons joined with nearly thirty Peer Leader youth from the Kennedy and Riverton Park neighborhoods to enjoy our first pizza party together. After a rousing game of People Bingo, youth and officers took the opportunity to find common ground by asking each other questions about their interests, goals and fears. We will continue to enhance our collaboration with an interactive Youth and the Law workshop, followed by the production of informational brochures and posters to be distributed in our communities.

    CMCA Logo
    OMOP partners with Portland's 21 Reasons Coalition, A Project of CMCA (Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol) whose efforts are geared toward our community environment and the impact it has on youth.

    21 Reasons' goal for 2010 is to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in the Portland community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. 21 Reasons, and its partner OMOP, will present the final draft of the 2010 Portland Prevention Plan to the City's newly appointed Health and Recreation Committee in December, with final presentation to the full City Council in January. The draft plan is available for review and comment by contacting 21 Reasons.
    SAMHSA Logo
    Reconnecting Youth (RY) is a school-based prevention program for youth in grades nine through twelve (14 to 18 years old) who are at risk for school dropout. These youth may also exhibit multiple behavior problems, such as substance abuse, aggression, depression, or suicide risk behaviors. Reconnecting Youth uses a partnership model involving peers, school personnel, and parents to deliver interventions that address the central program goals.

    Our evaluation consists of brief student surveys that are intended to measure students attitudes toward school, the RY program, themselves and their peers as well as to attain a baseline for the continuing assessment of the program and the identified SAMHSA risk and protective factors.

    An RY Update from Amanda...It has been my honor to be the involved in the evaluation of the RY program at both Deering & Portland High Schools. 2006 allowed for me to meet great kids who taught me through their experiences; they shared with me how RY skills helped them make better choices at home and at school and one student even expressed an interest in being involved with OMOP! I can't tell you all how great and heart-warming these interactions have been for me.

    The 2007 semester of RY has begun and no doubt it will bring new faces, new challenges and lessons learned but, with the continuing support and feedback from the students and teachers, we hope to again consider the RY year a successful one!
    We have added our Community Events Calendar using!

    We are happy to list your program's events/meetings/trainings which are relevant to OMOP's mission and goals (which foster healthy choices for youth and active community involvement for all) to our Community Calendar.

    To add your updates to either the Calendar or our E- Newsletter, please contact Amanda Edgar @ 756- 8053 or so we can be sure to incorporate your events!

    The City of Portland, Public Health Division, Health & Human Services Department programs are based on the goal of empowering people to make choices that will ensure healthy and productive lives while providing options that help reduce the harm caused by drug use. Thank you for supporting the One Maine One Portland Coalition, it's members and those we serve.


    Amanda Edgar and Ronni Katz
    The City of Portland's One Maine One Portland Coalition

    Phone: Amanda - 756-8053 / Ronni - 756-8116
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