June 11, 2019
Earlier this year following a community forum at Geneva High
School called Wake Up Call, attendees walked away with knowledge about the
signs and symptoms of substance abuse, as well as parenting strategies to help
Geneva CUSD 304 partnered with the Kane County Juvenile Justice Council to host the free community forum for parents and adults. The presentation included three speakers from Your Choice to Live, Inc. who addressed the reality of drug and alcohol use among students. A resource fair was held following the presentation, featuring information tables from local support service resources. A resource guide including the contact info for those local resources can be found at this link.
“Being a parent is like folding a fitted sheet,” said Katie Westerman, one of three Wake Up Call presenters, a mother of three and a certified K-12 school counselor. “No one really knows how.”
Westerman went on to offer helpful resources for parents, including the books “Scream Free Parenting,” “Celebrate Calm,” and “Change Your Child Overnight by Changing Yourself First.”
There are also several helpful online resources that parents should visit regularly so they can stay on top of trends. Westerman suggested parents check out the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids at this link.
It may sound simple, Westerman said, but there are everyday
ongoing conversations parents can have with their teens. Some examples include:
- Listen more (refrain from giving unsolicited advice).
- Talk to your child regularly, have back-and-forth conversations, ask questions, limit interruptions and lectures.
- State your disapproval of underage alcohol and drug use, but explain why from a health and safety perspective. It is no longer good enough to “Just say no.”
- Help your child develop refusal skills and alternatives to using substances.
Perhaps the most eye-opening part of the presentation was when Sandi, the founder of Your Choice to Live, Inc., and mother of a recovering drug addict, buzzed through the bedroom set on stage to uncover well-hidden, everyday objects that masked the signs of drug or alcohol use.
Because the presentation was for adults 21 and over, Wake Up Call organizers asked that Geneva CUSD 304 not to detail the objects mentioned during this part of the presentation. However, that handbook is available on their website.