Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis met with GRAAB representatives earlier this week to announce plans for the awareness event. Also assisting will be the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems, the Cleveland Public Library, civic groups, local churches and various service agencies.
This group of agencies will work with the coalition to bring vital information to the community’s youth and adults.
The “31 Day of Prevention” will incorporate a number of special events this month. October is National Crime Prevention Month, National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month and Child Health Month.
The two mayors urge all citizens, agencies and organizations interested in a healthier future for our children to unite in observance of activities that promote the necessity of a year-round lifestyle of wise decision-making as it relates to substance abuse prevention, healthy eating, increased physical activity and safety awareness.
Joyce Vanderpool, coordinator for GRAAB, said the month of October provides a wonderful opportunity for parents and caregivers to learn more about the importance of providing a safe and healthy environment. “Protecting children from environmental risks helps to ensure children breathe clean air, drink safe water, avoid lives of addiction and live in healthy communities,” she said.
Besides substance abuse awareness, children will be encouraged to participate in healthy activities, eat appropriately and understand the importance of seat belts and other safety equipment.
Andrea Lockerby and Amy Hicks, Coordinated School Health supervisors for Bradley County and Cleveland schools respectively, are participating in this monthlong program.
During this time, in addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle as a way of combating substance abuse, activities are scheduled to honor those who have successfully defeated addictive behaviors in their lives. They will challenge those who are still waging similar battles.
Events during the month will include, but not be limited to, parental workshops and foster parent presentations.
The Tennessee National Guard will present a program on substance abuse at Cleveland High School. There will also be listening sessions and presentations at the Cleveland Public Library, media spots and health fairs. Guest speakers will visit local civic clubs.
Information about these special events will be disseminated through GRAAB’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and on CADCA’s Connect Communities, a social media link.
Cleveland City Schools will celebrate Red Ribbon Week Oct. 17-21, and Bradley County schools will celebrate Oct. 24-28.
The month’s activities will culminate Oct. 24 with a drug take-back event, with dates, times and location announced later.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to clean out their medicine cabinets of any old or unused medications,” said Vanderpool. Citizens will be able to appropriately dispose of unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
GRAAB’s mission is to bring together concerned individuals and service providers to lower the use of addictive items such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The Coalition provides education, recovery and support for youth, families and individuals.
It is hoped the October event will help to reinforce the message that the most precious gift we can give our children is good health.
Coalition members say they believe healthy children are best served by healthy parents, and the group hopes to provide them with the tools they need to maintain a healthy environment.
For more information concerning October’s “31 Days of Prevention,” call 472-3800.