Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc.

 

A Drug-Free Communities Coalition

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Riverhead CAP Seeks Volunteers

Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP) is once again seeking volunteers to teach its 2013—2014 Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program to fifth and sixth grade students in Pulaski Street School. The program consists of seven monthly sessions taught by community volunteers who are assisted by peer leaders from the eighth grade and high school. Volunteers receive training by professional staff each month prior to the presentation, so there is no prior experience required. Training begins in mid- to late October.

The total time commitment is only about three hours per month during the school year. “This small investment of time yields a tremendous payoff, both for the volunteers and the community” said Felicia Scocozza, executive director of Riverhead CAP. According to Ms. Scocozza, CAP has provided this program for Riverhead students since 1982. It is a research-based program that undergoes rigorous statistical testing and evaluation each year to prove its effectiveness. The program concludes with the Twenty-ninth Annual Say NO to Drugs March.

“Being a CAP volunteer has been a rewarding experience,” said Carla Hanson, a CAP Volunteer since 2007. “In this day and age, I feel we need to give our children as many tools as possible to combat the attraction of drugs and alcohol.” Hanson has also been a long-time member and past-President of the Riley Avenue PTO. “Students are very receptive to the program and they come away with skills that will help them say ‘NO’ to drugs and alcohol. They also learn basic life skills such as decision making, how to build self-esteem and how to handle bullying.”  Ms. Hanson continued, “I love the way CAP uses older students to be peer leaders. The younger children really enjoy learning from their older peers and it is a great reinforcement for the middle school and high school students.”

Research by the Corporation for National and Community Service also reports a strong connection between volunteer activities and living longer and healthier lives, because volunteering may enhance a person’s social networks to buffer stress and reduce risk of disease.

 

For more information about becoming a CAP volunteer, or to sign up, please contact CAP at 727-3722, or visit our Volunteer page here.

CAP Summer Sendoff Campaign to Keep Teens Safe, Drug- and Alcohol-Free

Alcohol is the drug most abused by teens and causes more deaths in young people under 21 than all illegal drugs combined. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24 years of age and alcohol is implicated in a majority of these deaths, which is why Memorial Day through Labor Day is often referred to as the Hundred Deadliest Days for teen drivers and passengers. In addition, first time drug and alcohol use peaks for teens in summer.

 
To address this, Riverhead CAP has launched a Summer Sendoff and Youth Safety Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to give parents information and tools to better address these issues with children of all ages. Through its website, Facebook and Twitter pages, CAP will provide the latest resources for parents to discuss these issues with their children and keep them safe through the summer and beyond.

 

“Although it’s best to begin talking about the risks of underage drinking and drug use at an early age, parents need to continue these conversations throughout the teen and college years,” said Felicia Scocozza, Executive Director of Riverhead CAP. “Many parents assume their children know how they feel about underage drinking and drug use because they’ve had ‘the talk,’ but teens that hear and see a consistent no-use message from their parents are less likely to use alcohol and drugs. On the other hand, parents who do not discourage underage drinking may be sending a message to their children that it’s not a risky choice or a big deal.”
 
According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), short frequent discussions rather than one “big talk” can have a real impact on a child’s decision about alcohol. “Parents need to be clear and consistent about their views and rules, and the consequences for breaking those rules,” said Scocozza. She added that it’s also important to give children the opportunity to ask questions and express their feelings during these conversations, as children who have parents who listen to their feelings and concerns are more likely to say no to alcohol.
 
If you’re the parent of recent high school graduate getting ready to leave for college, it’s still important to share the risks associated with underage drinking with them. For example, 25% of college students who drink report negative academic consequences, and 90% of campus rapes and 50% of unplanned sexual encounters involve alcohol.
 
Finally, with prom, graduation and summer party season here, parents need to be aware of Suffolk County's Social Host Law. The purpose of the law is to deter underage drinking at parties where adults are present and knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol by minors. Penalties include $500 for a first offense and $1,000 and up to a year in jail for a second offense.
 
Additional information and resources can be found here, and on CAP’s Facebook and Twitter pages.