By DeAnna Pearl, M.A.T, B.S., Certified Prevention Specialist, SOS Tillamook – Prevention, Tillamook Family Counseling Center
Children represent a quarter of our population and informing them about safety and preparedness is an integral part of our community’s resiliency. Youth are strong and resilient in the face of disasters, often adapting to stresses that weaken most adults, and yet they are incredibly vulnerable. Young children, in particular, are completely dependent upon many systems in their lives for their survival: their parents, their broader families and communities, the institutions and organizations that care for them and teach them, and officials and policy-makers who shape their environment.
With this in mind, SOS Tillamook and Garibaldi Elementary School teamed up to bring a specific focus for October’s Red Ribbon Week (RRW.) RRW is a week of awareness for youth focusing on drug and alcohol prevention. However, “We need to move beyond just saying ‘no,’” comments DeAnna Pearl, SOS Tillamook Program Manager. “We need to help students learn about why we say ‘no’ and how it can protect one of the most valuable organs in our body, our brain.” By protecting our brains, we have a better chance of being safe and growing to our potential.
DeAnna visited GES 4/5th grade classrooms to talk about safety, how it works, and why we have rules. One question led to another. DeAnna, “How does walking on the sidewalk keep our brains safe?” Reply, “So we don’t get hit by a car!” DeAnna, “How do we keep our brains safe when we are sad? “Reply, we talk to a friend or adult.” DeAnna, “How do we keep our brains safe on the beach?” Reply, “Watch out for sneaker waves and don’t turn your back on the ocean.” DeAnna, “How do we keep brains safe from drugs or alcohol?” Reply, “Say no thanks, I got to feed the alligator in my back yard!” One of the best responses over the three days: “I didn’t know that there is a reason for rules.”
With this theme in mind, SOS Tillamook invited all GES 4-5th grade students to submit a picture depicting what being safe looks like for entry into the 2019 SOS Tillamook Calendar. The theme of the calendar is, “Prevention is Intention: Preparedness and Safety.” Of the artwork submissions, 20 were chosen as finalists. On Nov.15th at the GES Family Night, the final selections were displayed so attendees could vote on their favorite. The winning artists receives a certificate and recognition.
Watch your mailbox for the 2019 “Prevention is Intention – Building Safety Resiliency in Our Community” SOS Tillamook calendar featuring drawings from Garibaldi Grade School students about how to be safe. Other features include safety and preparedness information and community resources.
To find more information on kids and family emergency preparedness go to https://www.ready.gov/kids.
For more information on prevention, contact DeAnna Pearl, (503) 815 5426 or DeAnnaP@tfcc.org.