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SAFE and PRIDE Coalition Host Community Leaders Breakfast

As part of the “Parent’s Who Host Lose the Most: Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking” media campaign, SAFE, Inc. and the PRIDE Project Coalition held a breakfast with Glen Cove’s community leaders to engage their participation in the community wide campaign. The media campaign initiative combines the efforts of SAFE’s PRIDE Project Coalition and the Glen Cove Police Department to educate parents to the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and Glen Cove’s Social Host Law. The campaign, originally developed by the Drug-Free Action Alliance, has been running since April and also focuses on underage drinking that frequently accompanies prom and graduation parties.

Representation from many sectors of the Glen Cove community were on hand, including: SAFE’s board of directors, SAFE, Inc., PRIDE Project Coalition, Mayor Suozzi and city council members, the Police Department, Fire Department, Glen Cove School District administration and PTA, North Shore clergy, Glen Cove Interagency Council Executive Board, BID, the Chamber of Commerce and business and community volunteers who compose the Community Committee.

SAFE Board Chair Georgie Connett welcomed all attendees to the breakfast which was held in the Glen Cove City Council Chambers. “While all communities have substance abuse issues, we are so fortunate to be living in a city that recognizes the importance of substance abuse prevention, intervention and education, stated Ms. Connett. “We are proud to work with you to implement environmental strategies which change societal norms regarding substance abuse. We look forward to working with you to provide a healthy and safe environment for our children to grow up in.” Ms. Connett discussed the history of SAFE, Inc. and the PRIDE Project Coalition noting the importance of a sustainable coalition to reduce the abuse of drugs and alcohol among our youth and adults.

Ms. Connett provided a brief overview of the Coalition’s history, funded by a five-year federal grant entitled the Drug Free Communities Grant, awarded to SAFE, Inc. in 2004. This grant led to the development of The Glen Cove PRIDE Project Coalition, composed of four committees and overseen by SAFE staff and its board of directors. The coalition primarily functions through the four committees: Community, School, Parents and Youth. Ms. Connett highlighted the accomplishments of the committees over the past five years:

The Community Committee – Councilman Tony Jimenez, chair:

SAFE Summer Press Campaign regarding underage drinking; (NYSOASAS) to implement “Parents Who Host the Most Lose the Most- Don’t be a Party to Underage Drinking” media campaign; successful model program, SAFE Summer Fun served 26 at-risk youth ages 10-15 between hours of 3-8 p.m. during Summer of 2008. The support of Project 21 which addresses the sale of alcohol and tobacco to underage individuals; the committee wrote, submitted and passed legislation in reference to the consumption of alcohol in the City of Glen Cove in private and public areas i.e. - Social Host Law, and commercial business nuisance law. Any licensed premise may be shut down based on two or more convictions within a 30-day period. City Court Judge McCord was the former chair and was instrumental in making this happen;

The School Committee – Dr. Scott Silverman, chair:

Modified the school district’s high school tobacco policy, to include all persons at all times at school sponsored events on and off school property. No Smoking signage has been placed around and inside the high school premises. Every school in the district also displays “Drug-Free Zone” signs; applied for and received a $1,000 grant from the Long Island Regional Office of Student Support Services to support efforts of school districts in creating tobacco-free environments and to shift the social norms and prevent tobacco use among youth. These efforts coincide with the activities emanating from the New York State Health Department Tobacco Control Bureau, whose purpose is to prevent initiation, decrease exposure to second hand smoke, and implement best practices as per the center for disease control. Ongoing modification of the District’s Health Education curriculum to address needs assessment data; sustainability planning to close service gaps throughout the city during summer months; Athletes Helping Athletes Program;

The Youth Committee – Sandra Potter, chair:

Community Development Block Grant funding received for the PRIDE Project Youth Committee to hold “Youth Substance Abuse Awareness Day”; “Proud to be PRIDE Campaign” in which eye level alcohol and tobacco advertisements were replaced with “Proud to be PRIDE; 100 alternatives to drug and alcohol abuse” fliers depicting a collage of prevention messages;

The Parent Committee – Wendy Sanchez, chair:

Bi-lingual Parent Resource Night; Annual Health and Fitness Fair in conjunction with Soccer Fest; Red Ribbon Week; Family University.

Ms. Connett concluded with a statement that she loves Glen Cove, has been here over 30 years and thanked the guests for helping make this city the wonderful place it is. “Regardless of whether we receive another grant, we have the community cohesiveness to carry on our good work.”

Councilman Tony Jimenez, PRIDE Project Coalition Community chair, provided an overview of the “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” Campaign and reviewed the many accomplishments of the PRIDE Coalition.

“It is only with the help of so many Glen Cove volunteers, that the Community Committee can implement its new “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” Media Campaign.” Councilman Jimenez highlighted the Community Committee’s past initiatives: promoting Glen Cove’s Social Host Law; addressing vendor sales of alcohol and tobacco to underage individuals through Project 21; amending city ordinances to require permits for teen parties; implementing SAFE Homes as well as the city council’s adoption of its Prevention Mission Statement on May 26.

Mayor Suozzi commended SAFE, Inc. and the Glen Cove Police Department for their continued efforts to protect the children, and the community at large and for all the collaboration among the community organizations. He discussed the Project 21 program and how the city has strengthened this effort by including the Nassau County Fire Marshall and Building Department into the exiting initiative.

Mayor Suozzi said, “I applaud SAFE, Inc., the PRIDE Project Coalition and the Glen Cove Police Department for their commitment to drug and alcohol abuse prevention and enforcement. It is so important for us to come together and work on this as a community and I look forward to the success of the “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” campaign, a truly collaborative effort by businesses, organization and individuals throughout our community.”

Chief Whitton discussed the Project 21 program, a policing initiative funded by SAFE in conjunction with the Police Department (PD), and State Liquor Authority (SLA) in which a comprehensive effort was made to address the sale of alcohol and tobacco to underage individuals. This collaborative program has been very successful and resulted in total compliance for the last three months.

Dr. Screnci, a SAFE board member and former chair of the Parent Committee, discussed the Social Host Liability brochure published by the Adolescent Committee for the Academy of Pediatrics, regarding the consequences parents face when hosting underage drinking parties.

For more information regarding SAFE, Inc., the PRIDE Project Coalition or its current “Parents Who Host Lose The Most” Campaign go to www.safeglencove.org or contact SAFE, Inc.’s Executive Director Dr. Sharon E. Harris or PRIDE Project Coalition Coordinator Cathy Samuels at 676-2008.