Above & Beyond Awards

Congratulations to Champlin Park High School Principal Mike George for being recognized as one of the 2016-17 Above & Beyond Award winners! Mike has been an active champion of the parent-awareness nights within the Anoka-Hennepin school district to educate on drug and alcohol use among young people.

Read part of the nomination here, including the criteria for selection:

Develops positive relationships with students, families, and/or community.
Mike George’s leadership style is sincere and charismatic, an admirable combination that conveys his genuine care for students, families, teachers, staff and the community at large. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, another parent and I approached Mike to see if we could host a parent-awareness event to educate about drug and alcohol use.GEORGE_MICHAEL - Principal Champlin Park High School

Demonstrates care and concern for students.

Without hesitation, Mike embraced the idea and helped us approach it from a variety of perspectives including students, families and community.

Within a week, he’d pulled together an initial group of folks within the district who became a dedicated task force. He quickly envisioned more than a single event, but rather a series of events that debuted in 2016.

In every interaction I’ve had, the individuals have the utmost respect and admiration for Mike George and the common sentiment is they recognize how much he cares. And, to make it even better, he has the innate ability to put people at ease – I’ve observed him in interactions with students, faculty, staff, families and community members and everyone is always impressed by his easy-going nature yet decisive, leadership style.

Mike George is the first person to share his “why” for leading the Anoka-Hennepin Schools Drug & Alcohol Awareness program.

He’s not at all shy to explain that addiction has touched his family, and it its this honesty that best conveys how much he cares for students and healthy choices.

Mike knows firsthand the challenges that young people face and the complications that drugs and alcohol present. He’s an advocate for prevention and education, and moreover for helping students and families connect to helpful resources. He calls the school district a family and that means that he cares for each member just as he would his own son or daughter.

Brings together ideas and/or resources and/or people to overcome difficulties or challenges.

Another of Mike’s “above and beyond” strengths is that he is a collaborator and connector. He’s always making new relationships and then bringing the parties together.

He doesn’t see barriers; instead, he sees opportunities. Many administrators would have dismissed parents who wanted to schedule an event let alone something that would address a potentially scary topic such as substance use. Mike, however, say this as being proactive and as a way to enhance the district’s reputation for preparing students for life.

In convening a diverse group of experts as our task force, Mike considers a variety of perspectives, approaches and agendas. He’s able to integrate these into a cohesive message that’s proven invaluable to the community. Event surveys are exceptionally positive about the program, the task force and the content.

Collaborates with outside resources.

In addition to district resources, Mike welcomed “outsiders” from the community to help shape our program and its content. He brought in Allina, Fairview, Know the Truth, Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge, Our Young Addicts, Headway, the Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force, the school principals from the other high schools and their staff, the district’s Regional Prevention Coordinator, the state’s epidemiologist, and more. As stated above, Mike George is an extraordinary collaborator and I am honored to work alongside him to help families and students.

Rose McKinney aka Midwestern Mama

©2017 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved

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Dear Mom and Dad, (rerun)

Dear-Mom-and-Dad

Last night, our local school district hosted the second of a three-part series on substance use among teens. Parents and guardians asked many questions and our panel of experts, which included professionals working with students as well as former students now in recovery and parents. Our responses were heartfelt and honest – there was not much sugarcoating, but I do think there was spirit of hope and helpfulness. For all the adults out there concerned about a love one’s use, I am re-posting one of our guest blogs from the summer; it is written as a letter from a young man in recovery to his parents. Click on the link below. I believe you will find wisdom and hope to guide you forward.

https://ouryoungaddicts.com/category/alcohol/

Wishing you and your family the best,

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved

 

Let’s Get Local!

Anoka-Hennepin OYA Screen Shot 2016.png

This week, my school district is hosting the second of a three-part series on drug and alcohol prevention and use among teens. I am grateful that local media is helping drive attendance and attention. (The picture above shows the district’s website homepage following our first event.)

http://kstp.com/news/anoka-hennepin-school-district-community-forum-drug-alcohol-prevention/4062141/

http://anokahennepin.schoolwires.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=2&PageType=17&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=1&EventDateID=11699

The more the story gets out, the more we can address the underlying issues of youth substance use.

What are you doing in your community? If you’d like ideas or resources, please reach out. Together, we can spread the word.

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

I never thought we’d face addiction.

classroom-824120_1280-1

At a recent community event, I had the opportunity to speak with parents and professionals. My message: I never thought we’d face addiction.

Read highlights from the presentation, here.

http://pressnews.com/2016/01/28/i-never-thought-we-would-face-addiction/

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved

Anoka-Hennepin Schools – Parent-Awareness Event #1

Thank you for attending the Anoka-Hennepin Schools Parent-Awareness Event #1
Thank you for attending the Anoka-Hennepin Schools Parent-Awareness Event #1

Tonight, you have done one of the most important things that you can do. You have connected with parents and resources within the Anoka-Hennepin school district to learn more about substance use among young adults.

When my son – now 18 months sober and embracing recovery – was using drugs, it was a quagmire of situations and decisions that impacted our family and friends. There was nothing easy about the journey except for the wonderful people who supported us and tried to help.

That’s why I began sharing the journey, and why I created Our Young Addicts as a community for parents and professionals who are concerned about substance use among adults.

During the presentations tonight, you heard from Know the Truth, a substance-use prevention program that goes into schools throughout Minnesota. This organization has an excellent pulse on what young people are feeling and experiencing. They offer incredible insights into the mindsets of our students.

We also had data provided and interpreted by an epidemiologist, Melissa Adolfson, from Substance Use in Minnesota. She highlighted perceptions vs reality as reported in the most recent Minnesota Student Survey findings and broken down for us specific to the Anoka-Hennepin Schools.

Thank you for coming to the Our Young Addicts website. Here you will find our blog, with regular posts from parents and professionals as well as posts from me. You will also find resources and links to helpful organizations.

If I can be of help, please email me: OurYoungAddicts@gmail.com  You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Please return for future events on March 3 and April 12.

Many thanks,

Midwestern Mama aka Rose McKinney