Help, Hope, Healing!
This is the focus of a new Allegany County community outreach to aid individuals and families who are struggling with a variety of life issues. The Hope Center, a ministry of the Mission Genesee Valley coalition of churches, other Christian organizations, and individuals opened in November at 4194 Bolivar Road – Suite 5 in Wellsville, across the driveway from the McDonald’s drive-through.
Since that time it has been recruiting and training volunteers, assisting children and adults particularly those with reading needs, and presenting educational workshops for individuals and churches. Although the major emphasis currently is on developing the reading assistance component, the overall goal is much broader, recognizing individual needs within each of 13 life stages the group has identified, from preconception to post-death, all of which can experience elements of trauma.
The ministry is available to individuals and families of any religious background. It includes a drop-in center where individuals can receive prayer for personal, family or other concerns, information and referral assistance, and connection to applicable resources for a variety of life issues. The center has a growing Christian lending library that also offers free books and videos, the reading assistance ministry, and educational seminars to help consumers learn about issues and resources that address various needs, and help churches to understand more about the issues parishioners are facing and how to come alongside those who may be struggling.
The center dubbed A Hub of Hope of Allegany County Churches, also is intended over time to assist churches in other population centers to develop similar ministries that reflect individual community needs.
The efforts are being taken methodically to help ensure the number of volunteers and those seeking services remain in balance. God has been providing a variety of assistance and resources, including color-coordinated furnishings from different donors, as He steadily refines the activities offered. The initiative started when local businessman Michael Raptis was led to donate space in a recently purchased set of storefronts at the Bolivar Road location. Further information is available at Hope Center Allegany County, email@example.com or (484) 435-0503.
-Casey Jones, Hope Center Planning Group Chair
During COA Awareness Week, you can be a part of NACoA’s annual international awareness and advocacy campaign, helping to spread the word that children living in families that struggle with addiction need the support of caring adults. Through awareness activities we can inspire adults to be there for the children who suffer silently, and together we can reach kids and teens with important information.
Children living with addiction need to know it’s not their fault when a parent struggles with addiction. They also need to understand that these parents have a disease, and learn how to separate the disease of addiction from the parent they love. During COA Awareness Week, do what you can to speak out, reach out, and raise awareness about the silent victims of addiction: the children. These children are often the first hurt and the last helped, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a difference with your support and attention during COA Awareness Week.
By doing one (or many!) of these COA Awareness Week activities, you can make a difference in the lives of children. And remember: It only takes one caring and supportive adult to take action and empower a child of addiction.
Whether in your home, your neighborhood, your school, your congregation, or in your family, you can let a child know that you care and you are available to listen. And, by modeling healthy behavior, you can also shine brightly in the darkness of fear and confusion that oftentimes can overwhelm them. Your compassion is powerful. Use it to help empower children, the silent victims of addiction. Visit the National Association for Children of Addiction’s for more information.
This January 22th marks the ninth National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA). The purpose of this week is to counteract the myths that youth get from the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends, and replace those myths with scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction. The more informed our youth are about substances and the negative impact those substances can have on their lives, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. “Shatter the Myths” is a free NIDA publication and video that parents can use to talk to their kids about substance abuse, and is free to download. One of the myths that young people in Allegany County have is that their peers are all using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. The reality is much different; the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Inc.’s(ACASA) Risk and Protective Survey that is completed every two years in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades tells us the truth about substance use among our young people.
All of these statistics are encouraging about how much our young people in Allegany County are using substances.
As a parent you might not think that your child listens to you when you speak to them about important topics, such as substance use, but they do! The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services(OASAS) has Talk2Prevent to help parents help them speak to their children about substances and give them the correct information about substances. Remember to “Talk Today, Tomorrow and Always – Don’t Ever Stop Talking” because they might not admit or act like it, but they are listening.
Here are five facts to use each day of this week to help start the conversation with your children about drugs and other substances.
Monday: Young people who drink alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstain until age 21. Brains develop until age 24, and young brains become damaged more quickly than adult brains.
Tuesday: Marijuana can speed the heart rate up to 160 beats per minute, dilate the blood vessels so the whites of the eyes turn red, and cause feelings of panic that include sweating, dry mouth, and breathing difficulties.
Wednesday: Inhalants can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and bones. Sudden Sniffing Death is death by suffocation, which occurs when inhaled fumes take the place of oxygen in the lungs and brain.
Thursday: Withdrawal symptoms from prescription opioid abuse include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps, and involuntary leg movements.
Friday: Anabolic steroids are bad for the heart, cause damage to the liver, and halt bone growth. This means that a teenage steroid user may not grow to his/her full adult height.
Aggressive behavior may be triggered by steroid abuse and is known as “roid rage”.
Saturday: Tobacco use and secondhand smoke cause illnesses such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems. One of every three cancer deaths is caused by smoking. Average smokers lose more than 10 years of life because they smoke.
Sunday: Vapor products may seem harmless because of their flavors and names, but most of them contain the highly addictive chemical nicotine and contain many of the same dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that are found in regular cigarettes. All JUUL pods contain nicotine.
NIDA’s “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” report highlights five questions relevant to parenting skills that help prevent the initiation and progression of youth drug use. The questions emphasize calm and clear communication about relationship issues, encouraging positive behaviors on a daily basis, negotiating emotional parent/teen conflicts and working toward a solution, ability to set limits when behavior ranges from defiant or disrespectful to more serious problem behavior, and monitoring teens to assure that they are not spending too much time unsupervised. Visit the NIDA’s Family Checkup page for a copy of these questions and to view video clips that display positive and negative examples of the skills, as well as additional videos to help parents practice positive parenting skills.
For youth organizations, such as schools NIDA offers Chat Day on January 24. Chat Day is am annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists. Students from around the country ask the questions they most want the answers to about drugs and drug misuse, including drug effects, how to help friend or famiy that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. NIDA’s expert scientists give them the facts. Register for Chat Day here.
We can all do our part by supporting our youth, getting the facts, and remembering that PREVENTION WORKS!
A Christ-centered recovery ministry for all types of life issues and struggles grew in Allegany County last year but seeks to expand its success in 2019. Celebrate Recovery, offered weekly at three churches and to both men’s and women’s groups at Allegany County Jail, now has the most groups per population of any New York county.
Additional groups started meeting fully last year at:
Celebrate Recovery is an international year-around ministry developed over 25 years ago at Saddleback Church in California, pastored by Rick Warren, author of the long-time best-selling book, Purpose Driven Life. Available in nearly 30,000 churches world-wide and more than 380 U.S. jails and prisons, the ministry differs from other 12 Step programs in that it is Christ-centered and Biblically-based but open to individuals of all faith backgrounds. Over 70 percent of beginning Celebrate Recovery participants are not members of host churches and many are without any religious background.
Eight Principles, based on the Beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5:3-10 of the Bible, run parallel to the 12 Steps. Both reflect healing from all types of hurts, hangups, struggles, and destructive habits and behaviors, including common addictions. Many hurts and struggles originate from trauma experienced as a child or young adult.
Celebrate Recovery is seeking additional host churches due to attendee travel constraints. Further information is available from Casey Jones, ministry facilitator, or call (484) 435-0503.
The STOP-DWI Program (Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated) was enacted by the New York State Legislature in November, 1981, for the purpose of empowering counties to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes within the context of a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining alcohol and highway safety program. All fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses occurring in a county are returned to the county for the operation of the STOP-DWI Program. It should be noted that no county money is used to support the STOP-DWI budget.
In 2018 Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed November as STOP-DWI Month. Teri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee stated, “It is important this month, as so many families gather to celebrate the holidays, that we continue to spread the message that drunk driving is dangerous, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this effort.”
In Allegany County a little over half of our budget goes to enforcement, prosecution and supervision.
Funds are provided to local police departments for DWI-specific patrols, to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution of DWI and related cases, and to the Probation Department for supervision of individuals convicted of DWI and related offenses. The balance of the budget goes to provide day-to-day support of the office and to efforts to educate the public regarding drinking and driving.
One of our major educational efforts is the Annual Fall SADD Conference where youth of our county are educated on destructive decisions. In the past we have addressed topics such as bullying and synthetic drugs, and especially drinking and driving. The 2018 conference addressed Healthy Relationships. This was well-received by the students.
In September the Allegany County STOP-DWI Program was notified of receipt of a grant of $12,300 from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee through the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation. This grant will provide funding for eight DWI Crackdown patrols for specified holiday periods during the 2018-2019 federal fiscal year. This funding is in addition to that already being provided through the annual STOP-DWI budget. Local police departments will provide staffing for county-wide patrols for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Holiday Season, Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Specific patrol dates will be released before each period in an effort to impact on the public’s decision to drink and drive. Reports from prior Crackdowns indicate that individuals are aware of the crackdowns and many make the decision to either not drink or to use a designated driver.
The STOP-DWI Office works with many groups and members of the community to continue to make an impact on the choices of individuals regarding drinking and driving. We are an active member of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County as we strive to reduce alcohol/substance use. We work together collaboratively to create a healthy environment for our youth and to enact positive change in the community. There are a number of on-going initiatives being done through the coalition and many individuals and agencies are working together with prevention efforts.
Remember, Prevention Works!
Thursday, November 15th, marks the 43rd Great American Smokeout, a day set aside for smokers and other tobacco users to abstain for at least one day, in hopes that people will quit completely. The idea began in 1971 when Arthur Mullaney, a Massachusetts resident, asked people to quit smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a local school. Shortly after Monticello Times editor Lynn Smith led Minnesota’s first “D-Day” (Don’t Smoke Day), the American Cancer Society’s(ACS) California chapter encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day on November 18, 1976. Due to the success in California, the ACS took the event nationwide in 1977, maintaining the third Thursday in November as the target date.
Research shows that smokers are most successful in “kicking the habit” when they have some means of support, such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, prescription medicines to lessen cravings, guide books, and the encouragement of friends and family members.
“Chew on This: The Need to Engage Your Mouth and Hands After Quitting,” article by the Quitter’s Circle staff on 3/10/15 cites that a common theme among ex-smokers and those trying to quit, can be fidgety hands and the need to chew gum, toothpicks, or other foods. Some quitters miss the sensation of a cigarette in their hands or between their teeth. Testimonials often reveal that smokers become used to having a cigarette in their mouths. The habit of picking up a cigarette and placing it between one’s lips becomes a routine of comfort. In addition, the habit of moving one’s hand from cigarette to mouth is repeated so often that quitters and those attempting to quit feel the need to do something with their hands. This article is one of many that contains this kind of information.
In light of this, it would stand to reason that e-cigarettes are not an effective cessation tool for most people, as the hand-to-mouth habit of using an e-cigarette reinforces the behavior that potential quitters are aiming to break. The use of an e-cigarette, which replicates the experience of smoking, may be a drawback to quitting. Harvey B. Simon, MD, editor of “Harvard Health,” stated in an article dated 9/22/11 that, “By simulating the cigarette experience, e-cigarettes may reactivate the habit in ex-smokers.”
According to the ACS, 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is smoking related, over 28,000 of these deaths are New Yorkers. 87% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death, is also the most preventable.
If you would like to “kick the habit”, but you are not sure what steps to take, call the Allegany Council at 585-593-1920, x 713, for tips on how to quit and stay quit. Assistance is also available for users of smokeless tobacco.
Don’t allow yourself to become a replacement smoker or a statistic…join millions of Americans today on a journey to a healthier you!
November 17 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. This is a day when people who have lost a loved one by suicide come together all over the world. The three main goals is to 1) educate, 2) offer an opportunity to share and 3) help suicide loss survivors meaningfully commemorate their loved ones and Survivor Day.
1. You will be in a safe and supportive space.
You will be in a space shared by other survivors and you will be safe to express any and all of the painful emotions and thoughts you may be experiencing.
2. You will find a connection.
You will be in a group of survivors who understand what it means to lose someone to suicide.
3. You will learn that your feelings are normal.
This atmosphere will give you the chance to talk with other people who have gone through or are going through the same thing you are. You have the opportunity to hear others speak about their feelings and you can share how you are feeling if you choose.
4. You can find hope and support and learn things to help you cope and heal.
Important topics are addressed and there are no “right” or “wrong” ways of dealing with a suicide loss. You will be in a nonjudgmental atmosphere and you will be able to connect with local resources.
5. Survivor Day films tell stories that resonate and inspire and you will find comfort.
American Foundation of Suicide Prevention provides a yearly film that shows true stories that the sadness and anger do not last forever. Life does go on in time. This year we will watch two films. The first film is Life Journeys: Reclaiming Life after Loss revisits the grief and healing journey of a suicide loss over time. The second film is A Daughter’s Journey, a documentary that follows Sarah, a young adult, through her story of the loss of her father. Sarah shares her milestones, family, coping positive growth, hope and resilience in the aftermath of a suicide loss.
On Saturday, October 27 the Allegany County Fall Pill Drop was held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Canaseraga and Cuba were chosen for the fall locations. The pill drop event allows the community to drop off unused, expired, or unwanted medications and provides the opportunity for education on the location of the pill drop boxes in the various communities. In Cuba there is a drop box located at the Cuba Police Department, 15 Water Street. For Canaseraga residents the closest pill drop boxes are located at the Fillmore Pharmacy, 10560 Route 19 and at the Dansville Police Department, 14 Clara Barton Street. The pill drop boxes are available for anyone to use.
This event was held in partnership with the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Cuba Police Department, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC). Medications were accepted from 10am to 2pm, and between the two locations, a total of 32 cars stopped and 66.4 pounds of medications were collected.
“The Cuba Police Department is proud to partner with PPAC for the Allegany County Pill Drops. We also recognize the importance of our drop box located in our lobby. These services bring us together with local, state, and federal partners to fight the abuse of prescription drugs that is fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic. These are small, but vital steps that help reduce the chances of prescription medications being misused,” stated Chief Dustin Burch of the Cube Police Department.
Each car that stopped received a Take It To The Box magnet, which lists all of the pill drop box locations throughout Allegany County. In addition to those previously mentioned, there are boxes at: the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and Nicholson’s Pharmacy in Belmont, Alfred Pharmacy and Alfred State’s Office of University Police, Friendship Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar, Wellsville Police Department and the Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville. This calendar year, 1,351 pounds of medications have been collected from the pill drop box locations.
The pill drop events and boxes are completely anonymous and confidential. Once the Sheriff’s Office has collected the medications, they are transported to an undisclosed location for incineration. Incinerating the medications makes them harmless to the environment. “The pill drop events allow us to educate the community on safe disposal and where the drop boxes are located” states PPAC Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee. “There was one prescription turned in that had 1975 as its year of being prescribed, which tells me that education on disposing of medications is still needed.”
“The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Canaseraga and Cuba community for utilizing the pill drops to safely dispose of their unwanted medications,” stated Undersheriff Kevin Monroe. “By collecting and destroying these substances, we greatly reduce the amount available to find their way onto our streets and into the hands of our youth.”
The agencies involved would like to send out a special “Thank You” to the Canaseraga and Cuba Fire Departments for giving us a space to hold the pill drop events. The next pill drop event will not be until April, 2019. More information about the pill drop box locations can be found at https://ppaccentral.org/pill-drop-locations/.
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. On Saturday, October 6th, the Prevention Department of the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., held the 20th annual Bob Weigand Memorial Move-A-Thon at the Angelica Village Office.
This Red Ribbon event is held every first Saturday in October in memory of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was tortured and killed by drug traffickers in 1985. The purpose of the Move-a-Thon is to promote a drug-free lifestyle through healthy alternatives, and to remind people to wear red ribbons in support of a drug-free America during Red Ribbon Week, October 23rd-31st. This year’s theme is: “Life is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free!”
Winners of the event by category are as follows:
First Walker – Female: Audri Eveland / Male: Carl Dandridge
First Cyclist –Female: Brooke Bradt / Male: Darren Bradt
There were no participants registered as runners in this year’s event.
The Allegany Council would like to thank the Village of Angelica for allowing the event to take place there, local law enforcement for ensuring safety, WZKZ Radio for providing a live remote, and all those who participated in and supported this special event!
Visit Red Ribbon Campaign for more information on ideas for activities to celebrate Red Ribbon.
In the United States, an average of 20 people will experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month where advocates across the country try to bring to light the effects domestic violence has on individuals and communities.
According to New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for the past 3 years New York State has had the highest demand for domestic violence services. These services include but are not limited too; seeking refuge in emergency shelter, assistance with court accompaniment and legal advocacy, counseling, support groups, support/advocacy with public benefits, and support/advocacy with housing/landlord. For the past 12 years, the National Network to End Domestic Violence conducted a one-day survey to capture the number of individuals and children seeking domestic violence related services. In 2017, they recorded 72,245 victims seeking services nationwide, 7,148 of those individuals were in New York State alone. On that same day, in New York, 852 victims’ needs were unable to be met because of a lack in resources available, due largely to budget cuts.
With statistics this troubling, it is likely that on any given day, regardless of what we do personally or professionally – we will encounter someone who has been abused by an intimate partner. It is important that we are mindful about how we interact with victims of domestic violence especially when they come to us seeking help in whatever capacity that may be.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join Cattaraugus Community Action Victim Services and ACCORD for a free Domestic Violence Awareness Training Presentation with keynote speaker Sara Mahoney who brings more than a decade of specialized experience and training. This event will be held at the Jamestown Community College, Olean Campus Cutco Theater, Thursday October 18th, from noon until 3pm. Please RSVP to Kathlyn Ramey at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 16th as there will be light refreshments provided.
Please reach out to your local Domestic Violence Agency for more information or to seek services:
Allegany County, ACCORD- 800-593-5322
Cattaraugus County, Cattaraugus Community Action Victim Services -1-888-945-3970