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.

Join Sheriff Butch Anderson April 7 at The Links at Union Vale

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson.

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson is hosting a fundraiser for End Overdose in the Harlem Valley (The Prevention Foundation Mid-Hudson Valley – Harlem Valley Coalition) Friday April 7, 7:30 – 11 pm at The Links at Union Vale.  There will be a silent auction, food and drinks, and live music by “DJ of the Year” finalist Mike Alevras of HVE Associates.

“Opioid addiction is at epidemic proportion in the Unite States.  Community coalitions like End Overdose in the Harlem Valley are working with local businesses, non-profits, hospitals, schools, law enforcement, and residents to make a difference in how this epidemic affects our communities, in eastern Dutchess County,” said Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson.  “Join us and help us raise money to take action and create change.”

Elaine Trumpetto, Executive Director CAPEDC

“We are in the midst of a public health epidemic-locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and globally,” said Elaine Trumpetto, Executive Director of CAPEDC.  “Public health is always the beneficiary of education that builds awareness and supports informed decision making.”

According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), more than half of all drug overdose deaths nationwide were caused by opioids in 2014, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).

Tickets for the event are $40 per person or $70 a couple.  Please RSVP to endoverdose@gmail.com or call The Links at Union Vale 845-223-1002.