Category Archives: Prevention

6 Ways Your Youth Action Team Can Celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Is your Youth Action Team looking for a way to celebrate Red Ribbon Week 2014? A great way to celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) is by utilizing the Be Red Campaign. The goal of Be Red is to take a stand for being alcohol, tobacco and other drug free and to highlight substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities. The Be Red campaign is modeled after a youth-driven media awareness campaign, I Wear Red: Bringing Youth Voice to Action, developed by the Oregon Partnership YouthLink Program.

Below are some quick and easy ways to get you going with your Be Red campaign:

  1. 1383946_685989984744338_780485780_n (1)Red Bs: Make or purchase a variety of Bs and paint them red. Hobby Lobby, Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics sell paper, wood and plastic letters in unique sizes and fonts. You can also use different fonts on your computer to print out different versions of the letter B in red or print the Bs on red paper and cut them out. You can draw them free-hand on red construction paper or poster board. Post these Bs all over school and/or the community.
  2. Be Red Scavenger Hunt: Partner with your local newspaper or radio station to publicize a scavenger hunt. During Red Ribbon Week, have participants locate as many red Bs as they can.  They are not to remove or move them in any way, but they need to describe where each B was found. At the end of the week, those who found the most can win a prize or be enetered in a drawing for a prize. This can also be done on a school level instead of a community level.
  3. ElliotBe Red Photos: Recruit team members, family, friends and local public figures to pose around your school or community holding or wearing something red. The picture could be taken with a red letter B, a red t-shirt, red shoes, etc. Ask them to complete the sentence “I wear Red because…” on a small whiteboard. Possible sentence completions could be “I wear Red so my family doesn’t have to experience addiction.” “I wear Red so no one drives drunk anymore.” “I wear Red to be the best athlete I can be.” “I wear Red to do the best in school.” Take their pictures with these messages. If you know how to make the photo black and white with just the red object in color, this is a great technique to emphasize the red. Post these pictures throughout your school and/or community. You can also add them to a blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  4. Be Red Balloons: Purchase giant white helium balloons at Party City or similar store. With a red Sharpie marker, write BE RED… in large letters so it can be seen from all angles. Have these balloons in different areas of the school or during a community event with several red Sharpies available so people can write their Be Red sentence on the balloon. The goal is to fill each balloon with as many sentences as possible, so by the end, they almost look totally red.
  5. Be Red Photo Booth: Paint several large frames red. Gather a variety of red props (hats, sunglasses, beads, shoes, etc.). Use small whiteboards and red dry erase markers for participants to finish the sentence “I wear Red because…” Take their picture holding their sign, wearing red, framed by a red frame.
  6. IMG_4138Public Awareness: See if government agencies, businesses, churches, schools, etc. would allow you to post Be Red photos around their buildings in common areas or high traffic areas. Some good places are City Hall, local restaurants, playing fields and grocery stores. Get your local newspaper or other media outlet to publicize the campaign, and ask community members to participate.

There are several fun and unique ways to share the Be Red message in your community! What are some ideas you have for promoting Red Ribbon Week throughout Georgia?


How to Request a Red Ribbon Week Proclamation

With Red Ribbon Week just around the corner, you may be wondering what great project your Youth Action Team or organization can do. 

You can request a Red Ribbon Week Proclamation for your community!

IMG_0115A proclamation is an official designation of an event. Proclamations are a very good way to educate the public about a specific issue and bring attention to a cause. A proclamation is an effective tool for gaining public recognition of your event because it carries the full support of a key government official in your state or community. 

Just follow these 5 steps:

*Make sure you start the process several weeks ahead of the event. 

STEP 1: Contact the State or Local Government Office

Governors, county executives, mayors, state legislatures, municipalities, counties, cities or towns can issue proclamations. For city proclamations, a mayor, city manager or city marshal may be the person to sign. For counties, it will most likely be the county commissioners. You do not have to have both the city and county proclamations—you can decide which entity in your community would reach more people. 

Determine whether you would like to request a proclamation from your city, county or state and locate the website for this entity. On the website, you may find a tab called “Ceremonial” or “Forms,” under which the proclamation request guidelines may be located. Otherwise, use the site’s search feature and type in the word “proclamation.” Another option is the “Contact Us” link. This area may allow you to write a brief message such as: 

How do I ask the Mayor to issue a proclamation declaring [date] as the following event [event name]? (e.g., October 23-31, 2014 as Red Ribbon Week?) 

In addition to seeking the guidelines for requesting a proclamation, be sure to inquire about the preferred format. This information will allow you to begin to draft an effective proclamation. 

STEP 2: Draft Your Proclamation  

There are two styles to choose from when writing your proclamation: traditional and modern. They differ in format; however, the ultimate purpose is the same, and they are equally effective. While the traditional format is the most frequently used, be sure to clarify which style is preferred with your local official in advance of drafting your proclamation. 

Traditional proclamations begin with a series of statements starting with the words “whereas,” meaning because, “inasmuch,” or “since.” Each clause states the problem or issue being addressed and is followed by a concluding phrase beginning with “therefore,” which specifically requests the support or action needed. Modern proclamations are written in a letter format.

A sample of a traditional proclamation is provided here in order to assist you with drafting your proclamation. Modify this sample proclamation by inserting information about the nature of the issue in your community and local statistics.

Follow the guidelines you receive from your government office. Be prepared to have an electronic version of your proclamation available. Most offices will print the proclamation on official letterhead or certificate paper so sending them an electronic version is usually requested.

STEP 3: Follow the Guidelines for Submitting a Proclamation Request  

Each city, county and state will have their own guidelines and procedures for signing proclamations. The easiest way to research your city, county or state’s guidelines is to look on its website and search for the term “proclamation.” Some of the larger cities and counties will have proclamation guidelines listed. Smaller cities and counties may provide contact information on the website to call or email for proclamation information. 

Oftentimes a cover letter requesting the proclamation is required. Find a sample cover letter written to a city, county or state’s government office in request of a proclamation here. 

In order to expedite the proclamation in a timely manner, the following information is usually required when submitting a proclamation request:

  • A draft text of the proclamation in the preferred format
  • The purpose of the proclamation (e.g., Red Ribbon Week)
  • The date when the proclamation is needed
  • A brief history of your organization
  • The name and daytime telephone number/email address of the contact person

STEP 4: Allow Enough Time  

The wheels of government turn slowly, so be sure to begin the proclamation request process at least three months in advance or as soon as possible. Timing is key if you want to be able to have the proclamation announced at a city council or county commissioner meeting. You may be required to send a copy of the proclamation to these representatives two to three weeks ahead of the meeting. Keep in mind that some legislatures are not in session during the summer (particularly in August), so you may need to build in extra time to find a local official who can sign your proclamation. Do not hesitate to follow up and check the status of your proclamation and offer to provide any additional information the official may need. 

STEP 5: Make an Event Out of It!

photo 3 (4) (1)Again, follow the guidelines that you are given as to whom (and how many) you can bring to the proclamation meeting or signing event. Notify your local paper or media outlets about the proclamation. Distribute printed copies to local reporters. Have the proclamation photo-enlarged for display at a news conference and/or in a prominent public place. Send copies to local newspapers. As with any media piece, demonstrate its importance to the media’s audience by including local statistics.

Georgia School of Addiction Studies: A Recap of Our Week in Savannah

IMG_2795The 8th Annual Georgia School of Addiction Studies (GSAS) was held August 25-29, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah. The theme, “Unleashing the Power: Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery” speaks to the power we each have in our field to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.  This annual conference brings together professionals in the prevention, treatment and recovery fields and provides GUIDE  staff the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet newcomers in the prevention field while attending sessions designed to share the most recent research and most impactful strategies for creating change in our communities. For the 8th consecutive year, GUIDE staff members participated in the conference in a number of ways and were grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Ari Russell serves on the GSAS Board of Directors as a representative from the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia (PCCG). She is an active member and arrived in Savannah early to assemble participant packets, set up registration tables and prepare for the conference. Ari was also part of the contingent of GUIDE workshops offered during the conference. Ari facilitated both the 6 hour Ethics in the Prevention Field and the 3 hour Ethics for Recertification courses as well as co-facilitated a workshop on writing a Drug Free Communities grant with Ellen Gerstein of the Gwinnett Coalition.

GUIDE082014_021In addition to the three workshops Ari led, GUIDE’s Associate Director Jessica Andrews-Wilson taught four workshops over the course of the five day conference. Jessica facilitated two 3 hour workshops, Youth Voice and Choice in Prevention Programming and One Campaign, Many Messages: How to Turn Your Prevention Campaign into Social Media Content, and two 6 hour workshops for prevention professionals seeking PCCG credits, Cultural Competency and Communication Skills. All of the workshops GUIDE offered were met with praise for their engagement, meaningful activities and high-quality content.

IMG_2911While Ari and Jessica were busy teaching, other GUIDE staff including Mahuli Jakubek, Molly Vance and Sarah Stokes attended multiple sessions, learning and gathering information to bring back to influence the work we are engaged in around Gwinnett County. These staff members attended workshops by renowned speakers including Mike Nerney and Merrill Norton and learned more about the effectiveness of underage drinking laws, the impact of underage drinking on adolescent development, latest research regarding marijuana and heroin and how to get more involved in prescription drug abuse prevention. As always, the information shared at GSAS will benefit not only our staff, but our entire community as we share the new knowledge we gained.

photo (8)Georgia Teen Institute (GTI) had a special part of GSAS with an exhibit to promote our summer conference, recruit new youth action teams and volunteers and sell our Caboodle and Commonality Cards. Our staff took turns staffing the exhibit and talking with conference participants about opportunities to engage with us through GTI. We are always excited to share our passion for GTI with others – and were thrilled that several participants bought some cards to use within their own programs!

GUIDE082014_077Thursday was an important day during the conference. Celebrated as “Prevention Day” each year, Thursday features the Prevention Awards Luncheon where several valuable individuals are recognized each year. 2014 marked the first time a youth award was given, and we are proud to announce that the recipient of the first annual Youth Ambassador Award was our very own Josselyn Garcia! Recognized for her dedication to prevention and her diligent and meaningful work in her high school and across Gwinnett County, Josselyn was presented the award in front of the crowd of prevention professionals, beaming GUIDE staff members and her parents. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) also honored Ari with an award for her Extraordinary Contribution to Prevention to celebrate her 28 years of leading GUIDE and the field of prevention in Georgia. Jessica was invited to share highlights of Ari’s work and our staff were thrilled that we pulled off the surprise of this award! On Thursday evening, Ari and Jessica conducted business as they participated in the PCCG Meeting and then conducted one of three interviews for people applying to receive credentials as Certified Preventionists. One of the other interviewees was our newest Program Specialist, Molly Vance. When Molly receives her credentials later this month, GUIDE will again be one of only a couple of agencies where all program staff  are credentialed!

As always, we left Savannah thankful for a week of connecting, learning and growing and renewed in our passion for prevention and proud of our contributions to the conference and the recognition our team received. We are already looking forward to the 2015 conference!

Custom + Quality = GUIDE Training Events

With more than 25 years of experience coordinating, planning and implementing training across the state, GUIDE is your source for a custom, quality event! GUIDE specializes in substance abuse prevention, youth development and leadership for both youth and adults.

IMG_3752No matter your group – youth or adults, large or small, non-profit or corporate – we are willing to work with you to plan and implement a custom event in your community… or anywhere you desire! Put our experience to work for your school, community or company by contacting us to be a part of planning a new, or improving on a pre-existing, program or conference.  Whether it is planning and taking care of all the small details, or simply providing a professional workshop session, GUIDE staff will work to fit your goals and needs, whatever they may be.  We will also make it a priority to work with the budget available to you.

August is always a busy month of custom training events for GUIDE with the start of programming and the new school year. We’ve already had several trainings throughout the state this month and still have more to come before September.

IMG_2605On August 11, GUIDE staff conducted a teen summit with 60 students at the Douglas County Performance Learning Center. At the beginning of the summit, participants were greeted with door prizes and energizers to get them ready for the day. Afterward, they took part in engaging, hands-on workshops related to leadership and goal setting. Through partner and group discussion, creative projects, and the use of GUIDE’s Caboodle Cards, these workshops provided resources and tools necessary to be successful during the school year and beyond. The day ended with a large group session of icebreakers and energizers. During this time, participants had the opportunity to learn about each other and how to work better as a group.

IMG_2774Later that week, GUIDE staff facilitated three workshops with 65 students at the Turner County Freshmen Orientation. Each year, Turner County Freshmen have the opportunity to see and learn about their school prior to the start of the year, and we were grateful to be a part of this fantastic event! The workshops conducted included themes of respect, staying engaged while in school, and time-management. Although the workshops were only 30 minutes in length, the GUIDE facilitators did an exceptional job leading meaningful conversation, engaging participants in activities, and sharing expertise about what to expect in high school.

This month, GUIDE also partnered with the Gwinnett County Coalition’s program, the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute (GNLI) and Gwinnett SToPP. Each year, these organizations request GUIDE to facilitate teambuilding to start things off for their newest members during their annual kick-off retreat. New members are asked to work together all day Saturday and Sunday of the retreat to learn about their programs, receive training related to creating change in the community, and learn how to work better as a team. GUIDE staff are instrumental in leading new members through these developments and really help to get things moving right at the beginning of the retreat.

GUIDE staff will also conduct two workshops for the Atlanta Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club. The workshops will tackle topics related to Project-Based Learning and STEM in afterschool programming. During the Project-Based Learning workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the key characteristics of project-based learning and how it differs from other models and approaches; learn the principles for designing, assessing and managing project-based learning projects; and gain tools and resources for implementing project-based learning in youth development programs. STEM participants will come to understand the importance of implementing STEM in afterschool, participate in sample activities and facilitation, and review how scientific inquiry relates to STEM.

If you’re interested in custom events like the above, or something totally different, please don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Training and Capacity Building, Mary Kate Chapman ( We strive to provide a quality training every time and will work with you to customize the best event for your budget or link you with someone who can.

GTI 2014: Workshops

This is our third and last blog installment recapping Georgia Teen Institute 2014. Our first two posts covered overall group session highlights and Team Meetings and Family Groups, two elements of GTI that are often favorites! We hope you enjoy this post just as much, as we describe the inspiring workshop opportunities participants were provided and how they enriched the GTI experience!

Wes Bender: "Fighting Low Expectations with Emotional Intelligence"Year after year, we are fortunate to have workshop presenters at Georgia Teen Institute who are truly invested in the lives of others. This year proved no different. Presenters came from all over the state in order to Make It Matter to participants. Presenters inspired, motivated and encouraged workshop goers to make a difference, not only in their communities, but in the world at large.

All participants, both youth and adults, were able to choose from a variety of workshops offered several times throughout the week. Workshops covered an array of topics such as effective peer-focused strategies, including alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention as well as the prevention of teen dating violence; becoming culturally competent leaders; taking advantage of youth voice in order to improve existing programming; learning ways to become successful both now and in the future; understanding communication styles; and the art of writing an effective PSA.

Mahuli Jakubek & Molly Vance: "Make Your Voice Count"Substance abuse prevention workshops were led by phenomenal presenters such as Wes Bender from the YMCA, John Lee McNair and Felicia Nepp from the Catoosa Prevention Initiative, Dana Bryan and our very own GUIDE, Inc. staff Mahuli Jakubek and Molly Vance. Wes showed participants that it’s important to take a deeper look into emotional intelligence in order to set higher expectations for self and the generations to follow. These higher expectations, in turn, help youth understand their worth and the importance of remaining healthy by living an alcohol, tobacco and other drug free lifestyle. Art is also a wonderful way to express the importance of prevention. John Lee McNair & Felicia Nepp: "Prevention Library Project"John Lee and Felicia led participants in a creative project, which illuminated powerful prevention messages. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Lee, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Mahuli and Molly led a fun, interactive workshop that illustrated how social norms and norming play an important role in crushing the myths about underage drinking prevention. “Lauren’s Story,” a workshop demonstrating the negative effects of substance abuse, was led by Dana who engaged youth as they listened to her personal story of loss. A teen dating violence workshop, which included another type of prevention for participants to choose from, was led by Christina Williams and Shoneika Jefferson from SafeHomes of Augusta.

Anthony Stover: "Empowering Leaders!"Participants also learned skills to become culturally competent, successful and purpose-driven leaders in their communities. Exploration of experiences, background and prejudices led the conversation in Michael Davis’ workshop about culturally competency. VOX Teen Communications, a program dedicated to youth voice in programming, illustrated the importance of listening to the voices of the youth we serve. Ron Gardner led youth through an engaging workshop that helped them identify the importance of academics, behavior and character in order to achieve success. Participants were encouraged to seek out their purpose in G. Jackson’s workshop, while also exploring key elements of leadership in Anthony Stover’s workshop on empowerment. Crystal Culver motivated youth in her workshops to seek their full potential in order to Make It Matter, not only at GTI, but back at home, too.

Crystal Williams: "CRUSH YOUR BOX: Communicating Your Leadership Style"Adult Advisors had the option to attend specialized sessions including Crystal Williams’ workshop, which showcased various youth communication practices and behaviors. This knowledge helped adults to identify ways to engage the youth they serve in a more meaningful way. Atlanta radio host, Melissa Carter, offered another workshop dedicated to the skill of PSA writing. Participants learned how to craft messages in order to raise awareness in their communities. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Bringuel with The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse.

We are incredibly thankful to all of our presenters for truly Making It Matter at GTI 2014! It’s in large part because of these wonderful people that Georgia Teen Institute is able to provide participants from all over the state of Georgia the skills and resources needed to make a difference in their communities.

Do you want to know even more about Georgia Teen Institute and how you can get involved? Please visit our website and reach out to us today for any questions or suggstions!

Exercise is Important… For Your Brain!

Click on the image to view larger.Do you have trouble remembering why you walked into a room, how to get to a friend’s house or what you went to the store to pick up? Your brain may just need a little bit of exercise! 

Check out this month’s issue of Inspired for information about how to improve your memory and prevent cognitive decline. Click on the image below or here to read this issue.

Join Us for PCCG Prevention Courses in July!

GUIDE is excited to announce another full week of Prevention Training taking place July 21-25! This is a fantastic opportunity to take all four PCCG core courses in one week. Don’t miss out!

What’s PCCG Anyway?

IMG_4035The Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia (PCCG) is a 501(c)6 organization with committees covering credentialing, recertification, training, public relations, resource development and prevention ethics. PCCG works to advance the prevention field by promoting credentialing standards of excellence. To fulfill one of the requirements to become a credentialed Preventionist in the state of Georgia, applicants must attend all four core courses (Fundamentals of Prevention, Ethics in the Prevention Field, Cultural Competency for the Prevention Professional and Communication Skills for the Prevention Professional). We’ve made this super easy for you! We’re offering all four in just one week!

To learn about additional requirements for credentialing, click here.

What Will I Learn?

Participants will learn about and explore an array of pertinent topics including, but not limited to:

  • 177Protective and risk factors;
  • Prevention processes/programs that represent each prevention strategy;
  • What works in prevention;
  • Defining prevention strategies;
  • Outline of historical timeline in prevention;
  • Basic introduction to the Principles of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Prevention;
  • Ethical principles using the interactive methods and role-plays that encourage and support adult learning;
  • Interpersonal communication skills, facilitation, public speaking and good listening skills; and
  • Cultural diversity and prejudices in a safe environment in order to learn how to increase cultural competence and create safe spaces in your programs and organizations.

Participants will learn all of the above AND have fun at the same time. It doesn’t get better than that!

I Can’t Attend All of the Trainings that Week. Can I Register for Just One?

Attend one, or attend them all! To find out more about the individual training opportunities, see below.

Fundamentals of Prevention (A PCCG Core Course)

Date: Monday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 22
Time: 9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $100 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, will provide a basic foundation of prevention knowledge that can be further expanded through ongoing prevention training and development. 

Ethics in the Prevention Field (A PCCG Core Course)

Date:  Wednesday, July 23
Time:  9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost:  $60 per person

Description: This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, is designed to provide a basic introduction to the Principles of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Prevention, Early Intervention and Health Promotion Professionals and Volunteers. It will also provide an overview of the ethical dilemmas that Prevention Professionals encounter in their work. Using the Code of Ethics from the Prevention Think Tank as a framework, participants will explore ethical principles using interactive methods and role-plays that encourage and support adult learning.

Communication Skills for the Prevention Professional (A BRAND NEW PCCG Core Course)

Date: Thursday, July 24
Time:  9 am – 4:30 pm
By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $60 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, is a response to the prevention domain changes made by IC&RC. In order for prevention professionals to be prepared to interview or test for their prevention credentials, they will need this core course that will focus on interpersonal communication, facilitation, public speaking and good listening skills as well as public awareness campaigns and marketing basics.

Cultural Competency for the Prevention Professional (A PCCG Core Course)

Date:  Friday, January 17
Time: 9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost:  $60 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, will give Prevention Professionals a refresher in cultural awareness and appropriateness in the prevention field.  At a young age most people learn how to recognize differences more quickly than similarities, and how to dislike others who are not like us. In our ever-increasing diverse communities, understanding, tolerance and appreciation for differences is necessary to running effective prevention programs. This session will include activities and discussions exploring cultural diversity and prejudices in a safe environment in order to learn how to increase cultural competence and create safe spaces in your programs and organizations.  Bring an open mind, as we will discuss critical diversity issues such as racism, ageism, heterosexism and sexism.

Okay, I’m Hooked! How Do I Register?

photo (15)We would absolutely LOVE for you to join us for our week of Prevention Training in July. See below for registration details.

Each course is priced separately as indicated above.

A $10 per person, per training discount is available for those who register more than four people at one time. Participants MUST all be registered at the same time and by the same person in order to qualify for the discount.  Agencies who have individuals register separately WILL NOT QUALIFY for discounts.

All costs include light breakfast snacks and coffee, lunch and materials.

All courses incur processing fees to cover the fees charged by the online registration service. These fees vary, as they are based on your total registration cost. When requesting payment from your organization, please take note of these fees. The courses are the base prices listed above PLUS fees.

Online payment is available during registration via credit or debit card. An option to pay by check is also available. Checks should be mailed, with invoice/confirmation available after registration, to GUIDE, Inc. Checks MUST be received by July 11.

All courses require pre-registration.

Click here to register now!