Tuesday evening (10/29/13) was one of those nights in Worthington where I could not be all of the places I really wanted, and needed, to be and would need to make a difficult decision. At Worthington Kilbourne High School there was a music performance featuring the symphonic and wind symphony. These amazing musicians were displaying talent that I don’t really even understand yet I certainly appreciate.
At the same time that the music performance was occurring at Worthington Kilbourne, Operation Street Smart was presenting to parents and interested community members at Thomas Worthington High School. Operation Street Smart is a program presented by the Franklin County Sheriff’s office designed to teach adults about current drug trends, terminology, and paraphernalia. This important information is necessary in order to recognize the influences of the drug culture and help adults prepare to help our youth make good choices. (All Worthington administrators were trained in this program just 18 months ago and it’s shocking to see what is really going on.) The program was put on at Thomas Worthington in conjunction with our community partners, Drug Safe Worthington.
Drug Safe Worthington is a coalition of concerned citizens (who always need more help, just sayin…) that volunteer their time with the goal of working to diminish alcohol and other drug abuse through outreach, awareness and education. From October 16th through November 1st, Drug Safe Worthington provided trainings for the community as well as several middle school dances focused on drug-free celebration.
Finally, just several miles North on High Street at our Worthington Education Center, Dr. Tucker our Superintendent had partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to hold a Worthington Community Conversation about Mental Health. The goal of the event was to talk about mental health in a safe and welcoming environment and to recommend priority strategies and actions that will improve the lives of those living with mental health issues. This event was part of a larger effort to help our community move beyond stereotypes and stigmas, towards solutions that improve mental health in our community.
Last year we outlined a school safety philosophy that emphasized three prongs: School safety planning, Facility improvements, and Mental Health services for students. As a school district we invested in secure entrances to schools and we invested in adding mental health specialists that work directly with students and families. What’s great is that we have partners that believe as we do that schools are only part of the solution. This week we see first-hand how our partners Drug Safe Worthington, the National Alliance on Mental Health and SAMHSA are investing in our kids and community. Likewise we have partners such as ADAMH and North Community Counseling that have really stepped up to help kids.
If I can’t be home at night it’s nice to have trouble determining what great community event I should be at.