One Maine One Portland
"Fostering nurturing and healthy relationships, environments, and programs that encourage positive youth development & enable all young people in Greater Portland to live substance free." 
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2007 Parent Forum

OMOP & 21 Reasons sponsored a forum on April 23, 2007 to educate parents on the "Latest brain research and health info about alcohol & teens" presented by Mercy Recovery Center Director, Mark Publicker.  About 25 people attended and 8 were teens.

Dr. Publicker at April Forum  Ronni at April Parent Forum  Melissa and Erica of 21 Reasons
   Displayed at the forum were local teens' input on
how to host an alcohol-free party
(as graduations, prom & summer are on upon us); some youth suggestions were:

Video games such as "Dance, Dance Revolution," Karaoke or American Idol, lots of food & munchies, tiki torches, festive lighting, and of course, music! 

The "Coordinator's Corner" with OMOP's Ronni Katz

Parents Who Care Can Work Wonders
     In April, One Maine One Portland and 21 Reasons held a parent forum about how alcohol affects the adolescent brain.  At the end, one of the mothers in attendance, asked what to do about her college-aged daughter who was about to return from school.  She was concerned that her daughter might go to visit friends whose parents allowed them to drink and she did not know how to stop her.  We spoke for a while afterwards and I have not been able to forget it.  I was touched by her love for her daughter and can understand her dilemma.  At eighteen, having lived on campus for a year, is her child adult enough to make decisions about using drugs and alcohol?  What can a parent do to ensure that their child makes the right decision?  I had no true answer for her, except to encourage her to continue to do what she has been doing and to be honest about her feelings. 

    Studies have shown over and over again that parents are often the best weapon against teen drug and alcohol abuse.   Parent involvement is a crucial factor in helping teens make positive choices.  It is natural for adolescents to complain about the restrictions and rules that their parents place on them but without that structure, an already difficult time of life would be much more challenging.  The teen years were not easy when I was growing up and I suspect they are not any easier for today's teens.  I can only imagine what it is like to grow up in today's world, with all of the stress, stimulation, pressure and need for instant gratification that exists in 21st Century America.

    So, what can a parent do?  It may seem hopeless at times but please remember how important you are to your child's development and how the love, support, understanding and limits you apply today can help them make positive and healthy choices throughout their lives.  Here are some basic tips that many parents do naturally:

1) Learn strategies to keep in touch with your children before they become teenagers and you will be in a better position to understand the pressures they face and communicate your concerns and expectations.

2) Create a safe, supportive environment for teaching about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

3) Connect with teens to find out what they know, how they feel and what pressures they face.

4) Communicate clearly what you expect and what the consequences of use will be. The word "expectations" may have negative connotations, but by letting your child know what behaviors you will and will not accept, you help set the tone for their adolescence. Teens who know their parents will not tolerate illegal drug use tend to resist peer pressure better than those whose parents avoid the issue.

There are numerous parenting resources available in the Portland area.  We will continue to highlight them in our newsletter and on our community calendar.   If you need help finding a program or support, please contact us at 756-8116 or 756-8053 and
we will be glad t
o help. 

Featured Program

Mainely Parents' Online Parenting Course for Parents of Teens:
Navigating the
Teen Years

To register call 1-800-249-5506
Mainely Parents strengthens parent/child relationships through parent to parent support, education and advocacy and is a Statewide Day One prevention program with National affiliation to Circle of Parents. Mainely Parents serves over 4000 families per year through FREE mutual support groups, newsletters, education classes, advocacy and a statewide toll-free Talkline for parents under stress. Our goal is to increase parent awareness around issues of substance abuse, child abuse and child neglect, in order to strengthen Maine families. This goal helps to fulfill the mission of Day One. "to dramatically reduce substance abuse among Maine youth to help them live productive, healthy and rewarding lives." Click Here for the Mainely Parents Website! 

NEW to the Newsletter!
Feedback Section

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How to Become Involved

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 more opportunities for community involvement, please contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116 or
Click Here to Email Ronni

We have established two 'subcommittees' that address the goals for the Community Prevention Plan. 
FMI on the Parent Involvement Subcommittee, contact Amanda Edgar at 756-8053. 

FMI on the
Individual/Peer Involvement Subcommittee contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116.

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Amanda Edgar &
Ronni Katz
One Maine One Portland
City of Portland Public Health Division, Health & Human Services Department

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A parent network/support 'theme' emerged in this issue so please be sure to check out the links and features; we found this particular article to be a positive one:

"When it comes to the American family, public attention tends to focus far more on what's wrong than on what's right. The multiple problems that affect some American families have been well chronicled: divorce, poverty, troubled youth, substance abuse, violence, and so forth. Obscured behind this seemingly endless litany of troubles is the compelling evidence that many families - including those living in difficult circumstances- have inner strengths that enable them to do a good job of raising their children and supporting one another..."

OMOP Thanks... 

Toho Soma, Portland Public Health's Information Program Coordinator, for the work he has done in the evaluation of Reconnecting Youth.  He has taken the time to analyze the data from RY and has given us some 'real numbers' to use in our reports in an effort to keep RY up and running. 
Thanks Toho!

We will have RY updates once the school-year has ended so be sure to look for the info in the next issue of our Newsletter!

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Maine Safe & Drug-Free Schools

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