Kids Life Tuscaloosa May/June 2021 - Page 26


may / june 2021

By Jamie Lake

The term community has myriad meanings to many different individuals and groups . Community can be defined by theme categories such as proximity , shared values , and beliefs , belonging , binding , and more . The Martin & Mcheimech definition is one that most strongly resonates with me : “ communities are comprised of those with whom we share the same values , beliefs , and worldviews ” ( 2016 ). Moreover , Bezyak affirms the validity of community partnerships . They state that community partnerships are “ extremely beneficial when working to eliminate health disparities through the use of shared resources and open communication ” ( 2012 ).

I work in the substance abuse prevention field where there are many different types of people who perform prevention and awareness activities within the community . Some are prevention professionals , or people who have been formally trained and certified in substance abuse prevention and some are volunteers . We routinely focus their work on youth , youth group leaders , educators , clergy , volunteers , and others who recognize the roles we play in substance abuse prevention in their communities . Coalition-based activities include workshops , providing resource libraries , and one-onone consultations to community groups . Through these and other activities , we teach and connect people to substance abuse prevention resources all throughout the community . In 2009 , the Search Institute developed two evidenced-based programs ( EBPs ) that serve as a model for community outreach in terms of drug and alcohol abuse prevention services : asset building and lifestyle risk reduction . We believe these approaches attempt to tackle the issues of drug and alcohol abuse by assessing needs and providing services directly at the point of said needs .
ASSET BUILDING : assets are experiences and qualities that have been shown to have a positive influence on the lives and choices of youth and communities . The asset building framework is an EBP approach to prevention that has become the single most widely used approach to positive youth development . When using asset building , communities look at what assets their youth have and do not have . Then , the community plans activities that help build the assets that are lacking while further strengthening the assets that are there .
LIFESTYLE RISK REDUCTION : the goal of lifestyle risk reduction is to challenge the norms , beliefs , and attitudes about alcohol and other drugs that lead to high-risk substance use and to develop and encourage attitudes that lead to healthy choices . Lifestyle risk reduction techniques are EBP-based practices that focus on a lifestyle risk reduction model . It helps people understand their personal risk of developing alcohol and other drug problems and how they can make choices to lessen those risks . Although it was designed for groups that typically make high-risk choices , it is useful for people of all ages and can be applied in several settings .
Jamie Lake is the Executive Director of the Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education ( P . R . I . D . E .) of Tuscaloosa . To learn more about supporting community and coalition endeavors , please visit www . prideoftuscaloosa . org or https :// www . search-institute . org / our-research / development-assets / developmental-assets-framework /