Tuesday, January 19, 2016

When Someone Makes A Difference

Impact of Martin Luther King, Jr.: I was in a fourth grade classroom on Friday where students were talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.  I asked them to raise their hands and tell me what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had helped to change. Just about every hand was raised and each gave me great examples of things that they felt he helped to change.

The last student I called on summed it up by saying "Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to change the United States." They get it. While unfortunately in my opinion there is still work to do, his influence is felt everywhere. I am glad that our students understand and respect his work, and I hope that they will all carry the desire to treat everyone equally into their adult lives. It will take ALL of us to make that a reality.

Upcoming Community Forum on Substance Abuse: Speaking of taking ALL of us to make a difference, that is how I feel about combating the substance abuse epidemic that all of our communities are facing. The first big step in our community is to hold a large public forum this Thursday at West Genesee High School. I think we have all the bases covered, but here are some answers to some frequent questions I have received:

1.  Will the event be held if there is a snow day? Yes. We have too many moving parts and too many professionals coming from too many places to reschedule. If there is a State of Emergency that evening, the event will be canceled. Plan on the event taking place.

2.  What if I only want to attend the forum and not the expo? No problem. The expo takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The forum begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.

3.  What if I cannot find parking? In the event that all of our school lots are full (there is nothing else happening at the high school on Thursday except the expo and forum), please park behind Lowes and we will have a shuttle bus (wheel chair accessible) that will take you to the auditorium and return you the lot at the end of the night).

4.  Will there be an interpreter for the deaf available for the forum and panel discussion? Yes.

5.  Will the event be recorded? Only the actual forum will be recorded. The expo and the panel discussion could feature personal questions/information whereas the forum is based on set presentations so we felt that recording ONLY the forum was the best decision.

6.  Will the event be live broadcasted?  No

7.  If the auditorium is full, will the spill over rooms be sufficient? Yes. We will have the forum closed circuit broadcast to Cafeteria III and the Large Group Instruction Room.  During the panel discussion we will have helpers in both locations to relay questions audience members may have for the panelists.

8.  What if I have a question for the panelists that I do not want to ask in front of everyone?  No problem. All panelists have agreed to stay beyond the end of the forum to answer individual/private questions.

9.  How many students are available to help watch my school-age child?  We have twenty students (many are seniors) who will be helping to watch your children while you attend the forum.

10.  What if I or a family member finds some of the material presented to strike a particular emotional nerve and we need help on site? There will be over a dozen counselors on site (they will be wearing a special lanyard to quickly identify themselves) to help anyone who might need it as well as private counseling rooms.

11.  Why do I want to attend this forum?  The purpose of the forum is to arm you with information about exactly how large the drug issue is in our community, what it feels like to be an addict or someone who has lost a loved one due to addiction, what to look for in children or community members who you think may have a problem, and where to get help. We hope that you will take the information you learn and spread it to others so as a WHOLE community we can be informed and help where and when we can.

12.  I hear that Congressman Katko is going to be in attendance.  Does that mean that this is some kind of political/publicity event? Absolutely not; this is not a "shaking hands/kissing babies" event. The Congressman is attending (schedule permitting) because he truly is concerned with the drug issues (especially heroin) that continue to grow in our communities.

13.  I regularly watch Channel 9 news and Dan Cummings is my favorite person to watch. Is it okay to say hello to him? Absolutely. Dan Cummings is volunteering his own time on Thursday to help us because he also sees the problems that our communities are having with drug use/abuse. He would be more than happy to spend a few minutes with you.

14.  What if I have a question that was not addressed above? Call me directly at 315-487-4562 or send me an e-mail cbrown@westgenesee.org.

Thanks, hope to see all of you on Thursday, and enjoy the week!