March 2024 ✧ Volume 3 ✧ Issue 5

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Language Matters: Engaging Youth

Unfortunately, we were not able to conduct the segment on Why Language Matters when Engaging Youth during our lunch and learn series in January. We are happy to announce that we will be hosting this segment March 28th from Noon-1:00pm. The presenter for this lunch-n-learn will be Rikki Barton from Onward Consulting.

Tokens are for Arcades: Engaging Youth in a Meaningful and Purposeful Way

The role of youth in primary prevention cannot be understated – they should be included in the assessment, capacity, planning, implementation, and evaluation of prevention efforts. All too often, substance use prevention coalitions find a youth representative but unconsciously treat them as a token member or recipient of services, rarely utilizing them for the vast potential they possess. What if we engaged youth in a way that was meaningful and purposeful to them and to the adults working on the coalition? How we talk about and to young people matters in the approach and sustainability of youth participation. Let’s explore ways to shift mindsets and amplify prevention work through youth engagement.

Register Here

The four completed segments of our series on Why Language Matters are now available on our Youtube page. The series explores the vital role that language plays in promoting inclusion and cultural humility in the field of prevention. The available topics include:

  1. Becoming a JEDI Prevention Professional
  2. Advancing Equity for LGBTQ+ People through Language
  3. Understanding Neurodiversity in Prevention Practice
  4. The Language of Service: Effective Communication with the SMVF Community.

Each topic in our series takes a look at the unique needs of the diverse communities we serve and how to create more inclusive prevention strategies. Click link below to watch the series.

View Language Matters

Registration Now Open

2024 Communities of Practice Series: Learning that Never Ends

For 2024’s Community of Practice series we picked five topics that we think reflect the spirit of lifelong learning. We will never know everything about these evolving and challenging topics. There is rarely just one right answer. But by taking time to talk about these issues with our peers, we get insight and learn new perspectives. We hope you will join us for these facilitated conversations that are made better by your presence.


Evaluation: Using Data Ethically - April 25th

In our field, the four main ethical concerns related to data are privacy/confidentiality, transparency and trust, equity, and maintaining our social responsibility. In this conversation, we will explore each of these issues and their implications for our behaviors and practices when using data to make decisions.


Real World DEI: A Look at Privilege - May 23rd

In 2017, “White Rage” by Carol Anderson was published. In 2018, “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo came on the scene. This seeming juxtaposition has the common theme of privilege (having it and keeping it). Applying intersectionality concepts further complicates privilege. We invite you to have this conversation in a safe space: What makes many White people resistant to the notion of privilege, and how does it help or hurt when White people accept it? Does underlying privilege have to be accepted in a community to authentically address DEI issues?


Real World DEI: A Closer Look at Self-Assessment - June 27th

Learning, unlearning or re-learning equitable and inclusive living is a process, and a personal one at that. Three bias and discrimination tools will be brought to the table, and participants are welcome to bring assessments they may have used. Our conversation will focus on the moments and on-going changes – the a-ha moments – that a good self-assessment creates. We will also discuss how individual self-assessment can transform into organizational assessment.


Creativity: Your Professional Spark - July 25th

“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working.” – Henri Matisse. Oh, snap! Does it?! Whether it does or doesn’t, let’s talk about creativity, how we stoke it, how we grow it, and most importantly, how we do or don’t, can or cannot, bring our creative selves to our daily work lives. And is your daily work life different from your profession? We will also brainstorm ways to get creativity flowing at work, and discuss guidelines for keeping it on track.


Leadership: Exploring 2 Types: Servant & Transformational - Aug 22nd

Greenleaf is credited with beginning servant leadership with an essay in 1970, and our field, practiced mostly in a non-profit setting, tends to attract servant leaders. In the 1980s, Bass expanded on Burns’ 1970’s Transformational Leadership theory and added ways to measure its success. There are excellent reasons to practice these styles, and there are challenges as well. We will discuss how we practice these styles (whether we knew we did or not!), other styles of leadership that we use, challenges we experience in leading with these styles, and how we can continue to grow in our leadership journey.

These conversations will be held from Noon to 1:00pm (CST) on 4th Thursday's of the month beginning in April. Registration is now open, so mark your calendar and plan to join us for Community of Practice conversations with hosts Cindy Pharis and Steve Miller.

Register for 2024 Series

Alicia Ozenberger Appointed to Executive Director for ACT Missouri

Big News Alert! 🎉 Alicia Ozenberger is taking the lead at ACT Missouri as the new Executive Director! Her journey of dedication and impact spans over two decades in the prevention community.

Alicia’s appointment follows the retirement of Chuck Daugherty, who served in the role for 14 years. Ozenberger is a champion of Missouri SADD, Drug Endangered Children, and vehicle safety.

ACT Missouri has provided substance misuse prevention training and TA for three decades and is the home of Mid-America PTTC.

Say hello and welcome to Alicia at

Prevention Perk, the podcast from Mid-America PTTC produces content that reflects the mission of our network to serve as a prevention catalyst, empowering individuals and fostering partnerships to promote safe, healthy, and drug-free communities.

Welcome, come on in for a perk to your prevention efforts.

Impact of Social Media on Adolescents

Rikki Barton is the founder of Onward Consulting. In addition to her consulting work she is a CADCA youth and adult trainer and a trainer for National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

During this conversation we’ll explore her talents and passion for prevention and learn about her work around social media’s impact on mental health.

Episode 92

Risk Factors for Youth Substance Misuse

Kris Gabrielsen she is the co-director of the Great Lakes PTTC. She has co-authored two books and works to assist prevention professionals in maximizing their effectiveness as a consultant.

In this episode a our conversation focuses on increasing protective factors and decreasing risk factors that influence underage substance misuse.

Episode 93

(coming March 21st)

Resources Available from SAMHSA

Social Media Tip Sheet

When it comes to helping children build healthy digital habits, we may not know where to start.

The Center of Excellence for Social Media and Youth Mental Health has a downloadable file of research-based tips from pediatricians that can make a big difference.

Download this Document

Risk & Protective Factors

Assessing the risk and protective factors that contribute to substance use disorders helps practitioners select appropriate interventions. Effective prevention focuses on reducing those risk factors, and strengthening protective factors, that are most closely related to the problem.

Download this Document

⏪ Listen on Rewind ⏪

View, Listen, and Learn

Structural Inequities Affecting Prevention

Behavioral Health and Substance Use Awareness in the Workplace

8 Core Competencies for Higher Education

Leadership Institute Community of Practice

Getting to Know Your Why

Download the CheckDEC App

CheckDEC is a free mobile app that immediately connects children, families and professionals to substance abuse-related information, crisis helplines, drug and treatment information, supportive resources and services within their local area.


Register for All Hands on DEC

The All Hands on DEC call is to bring Drug Endangered Children (DEC) professionals together from across the nation to share their effective DEC efforts, exchange information and learn from each other.

Register for April 24th All Hands on DEC


Mark your calendar for the upcoming Midwest Rural Opioid & Stimulant Conference. This is your opportunity to network across multiple disciplines working toward the same outcome; healthy communities. Prevention is better together and together, we are stronger!