Positive Direction

By Farfromdrinken
In July 1, 2016

By Aisha Alayande

There are many topics that could be discussed here: Spring Break, mental health, politics, and so much more.  In this moment, I will choose only a few.  In light of all the negative things that, literally, blow our minds, I want to continue to reinforce our coalition’s positive goals for our community, which are to educate, unite, and empower you.  In this letter, I will do that by sharing with you a few of the resources that we, and our partners, provide to our community.

Many have expressed a need for an open forum where current issues can be discussed, and possible solutions be provided.  That forum has been created, and is known as backchat.  This event is for teens and their parents.  Over the last year, our coalition has produced two BACKCHAT events at South Florida State College.  Currently, we are preparing to expand this program – holding a BACKCHAT event in each city.  We are excited that this gives you a greater opportunity to attend.  Nowhere else will you find a place to share your thoughts and concerns, joys and frustrations – giving and receiving support from your peers through discussions on current issues affecting our families.  All this while enjoying an entertaining program, plus food and prizes.   We want you to know that we take social media very seriously, and understand that sometimes you need support to begin those difficult conversations.  One of our main goals for this program is to provide you with educational resources that prepare you for conversations with your partners, children, friends and neighbors.

To further support positive communication, we have partnered with Tri-County Human Services to provide a 14 week evidence-based program called, “Strengthening Families”.  This is a program that I am extremely happy to be offering our community.  All parents can use some support and continuing education.  We have to grow as our children do, and it helps to be with others learning to understand ourselves as parents.  “Removing the ego” is a skill I learned from Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent.  It has really helped in my communication with our four teenagers, and I feel that I’ve grown as a person; I would love the same for you.

The first Strengthening Families session has already started however, if you would like to participate in our next session, please send an email to: info@drugfreehighlands.org.

Another resource that we have for our parents, with Spring Break and “Prom Season” almost here, is our Parents Who Host, Lose the Most campaign.  This campaign educates adults about the dangers of providing alcohol to youth.  It is against the law in Florida.  (There’s no such thing as providing “a safe place for them to consume alcohol and have fun”.)  We don’t want our parents, who may have good intentions, to have to answer to the criminal justice system because they were not educated.  If you’d like to learn more about this, simply scroll through this newsletter, or check out our website.  Also available to you are information kits and videos through our office resource library.  If you’d like to come by, we are located at 501 Lemon Avenue in Sebring.

Lastly, even though I could go on, doesn’t it seem like there is an awareness month for everything?  Although Mental Health Month isn’t until May, your Drug Free Highlands Coalition believes that our community’s mental health awareness needs to be daily. Period. Mental health awareness needs to be an infinite awareness campaign. Having our mental health intact is of the upmost importance. Everything starts in the mind – negative perceptions, communication breakdown, failed messages – all leading to broken families, mental illness, and a host of other problems. In many cultures, getting help for mental obstacles is taboo.  We need to start removing the stigma.  The lack of attention we pay to our mental health is showing up in many different ways within our community.  It has become impossible to ignore. Currently the mental health resources we have in our community include, but are not limited to, Tri-County Human Services, Crossroads Recovery, Paradigm, Peace River and several private practices.

Sending infinite wishes for peace,


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FARFROMDRINKEN.COM is a social awareness campaign created under the umbrella of Drug Free Highlands. DFH was organized as a community coalition in 2003 due to increasing rates of youth substance abuse.
  • 501 Lemon Ave. Sebring, FL 33870
  • (863) 382-2138

Photos from Flickr


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