What Is A Community Prevention Educator?

by Abigail Gallagher, Community Educator (CAPE)

In 2018, the Council on Addiction, Prevention, and Education, Inc. (CAPE) was awarded a grant by the Foundation for Community Health (FCH) to introduce community prevention education and recovery services to the Eastern Dutchess, Route 22 corridor. The Eastern Dutchess Community Educator, Abigail Gallagher, has now been serving the area since October, teaching an evidence-based drug and violence prevention curriculum, Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence to late elementary and middle school students at Webutuck and Pine Plains Districts. See our interview below to learn more about Abbey’s work in our area.

What is
your role as the Eastern Dutchess Community Prevention Educator? 

Abbey Gallagher: As the Eastern Dutchess Community Prevention Educator, my grant funds my work in both the Webutuck and Pine Plains school districts to deliver a drug and violence prevention curriculum to their students.

What is
the curriculum you teach? 

AG: The Mendez Foundation has created the Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence program, which consists of 15 lessons focused on increasing youth protective factors and decreasing youth risk factors related to substance use and violence. The first five lessons focus on improving students’ social & emotional skills, including goal-setting, decision-making, proper management of emotions, and positive communication. The second five weeks focus on drug education, with each lesson focusing on the health and social risks of a particular substance. We discuss alcohol, tobacco & nicotine, prescription & over-the-counter medication, and marijuana. The last five weeks focus on social & emotional skills in group settings (our anti-violence unit), which develops useful conflict resolution techniques, anger management skills, and bully response strategies.

Whom do
you teach?

AG: This year, at Webutuck District, I’ve taught the 5th, 6th, and 7th-grade students. At Pine Plains, I’ve taught the 5th-grade students.

What is
your favorite part of community education?  

AG: Getting to know my students, undeniably. My students are bright, funny, and caring kids, and I genuinely enjoy getting to teach them skills that they can take with them throughout the rest of their academic careers and beyond.

What do
you hope your students will take away from being part of your class? 

AG: My goal in teaching this prevention curriculum is to give students’ the skills and information necessary to make the best decisions for their futures. I hope that after taking my class when students enter into adolescence and if offered a substance, they will think twice about trying it. Abbey has finished teaching 5th-grade students at Pine Plains but looks forward to attending their Moving Up ceremony in June. She’s finished teaching the 7th graders at Webutuck and is excited to finish the year with the 5th and 6th graders.

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What is a Student Assistance Prevention Counselor?

by Abigail Gallagher, Community Educator (CAPE)

Since 2004, Dover School District has partnered with the Council on Addiction, Prevention, and Education,
Inc. (CAPE)
and employed a Student Assistance Prevention Counselor
at their high school. This counselor provides support, information, and
voluntary counseling sessions with 6th-12th-grade
students related to the prevention of substance use.  Stacey Faiman is the current Prevention
Counselor at Dover and has been serving their student population since 2017. We
were lucky enough to speak with Stacey about her time at Dover and the work she
is doing there. See our interview below.

What is a
Student Assistance Prevention Counselor?

A CAPE Prevention Counselor is a Behavioral Health Counselor
who is contracted into a Dutchess County school district—in this case, Dover
High School—to provide counseling and educational services to at-risk youth.
Prevention Counselors provide voluntary individual and group counseling to
students who may struggle with a variety of mental or emotional concerns, with
a specific focus on those who may be affected by individual, peer, or family
substance use. A Prevention Counselor also implements school-wide and community
education on the different risk and protective factors of youth substance use
through classroom presentations, events, and after-school clubs, such as
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

What is a
typical day for you at Dover High School?

typical day at Dover entails seeing both middle and high school students for
individual and group counseling. At least once per month, you can find me in
the cafeteria during student lunch periods where I highlight a particular substance
use awareness activity, such as Red
Ribbon Week
or The Great
American Smoke Out

Red Ribbon Week 2018

What is your favorite part of your job?

SF: My
favorite part of being a Prevention Counselor is being able to connect with and
support students through such a transformative time in their lives. Whether a
student is having a stressful day or struggling with a parent suffering from
substance use disorder, they know that they can feel supported and have their
voices heard in my office, which can make a positive difference in their lives.

Air Out Big Tobacco

What do
you like most about being part of the Dover community?

SF: What I
enjoy most about being part of the Dover community is the compassion and
strength we give one another. In my time here, I have seen such charitable and
terrific acts of support from students, faculty, and community alike as I have
never seen before. It is truly a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community
who is so giving to those in need.

Stacey looks forward to ending the school year with a pre-prom
assembly focused on encouraging all students who attend to make safe and
healthy decisions the night of the dance. She congratulates all graduating
students on their achievements and wishes them the best after their time at
Dover High School.  

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