Raymond Coalition For Youth News
4th Annual Raymond Coalition for Youth Prevention Summit
A Celebration of Success By Penny Williams 10-29-16
The conference, held at Candia Woods Golf Course in Candia, focuses on what is happening in Raymond to help local youth in the fight against addiction. And the message that was sent by the conference speakers Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 is that people in Raymond care about youth, especially those who need help.
"Treatment is available and recovery is possible" was the RCFY message, with the community working together to make a difference.
Raymond High School Youth Action Team
Police Chief David Salois, who chairs the RCFY board of directors, set the tone by saying that support of Raymond children is job number one, and the primary work of RCFY is to show kids having a hard time that there are people who care and help is available.
"Everyone is special to someone," he said, adding that despite living in a technology-driven world, nothing can replace a one-on-one, face-to-face relationship. He said the trend to text, not talk, needs to be reversed.
RCFY Board of Directors Chairman Chief David Salois
Salois and others spoke of the generosity of Hannaford Supermarkets, which sold the winning lottery ticket and matched its gift with a combined $60,000 donation to RCFY, assuring that the organization can continue to provide help to those in the Raymond community who need it.
There were over 130 guests attending this year.
RCFY Executive Director Celeste Clark noted the group’s receipt of the New Hampshire Association of Providers Award, and a proclamation from the Raymond Board of Selectmen naming October as Substance Misuse Prevention Month was read.
RCFY Executive Director Celeste Clark
Clark spoke of the organization's efforts to have the Raymond community build a strong environment of support. She said that reducing the stigma attached to addiction is critical and said the group is working to break the cycle of addiction and striving to connect people with the resources they need. She added that Raymond has many adults who take the time to make a difference in the lives of youths in need.
"We are committed to a safe and drug-free community in Raymond," she said, and encouraged the audience to take one of the signs posted along the walkway that said just that and to post them at their homes.
Those attending the fourth annual Raymond Coalition for Youth (RCFY) Community Prevention Summit heard from James Vara, Governor's Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health, as well as having unannounced visits and remarks from Governor Maggie Hassan and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.
Governor Maggie Hassan Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Vara spoke about addiction, saying he knew about it in a personal way, having come from a family that struggled with it. He said he was lucky to have been able to avoid it but that it had been a conscious choice because he watched what addiction did to his siblings’ lives. He emphasized that youths having trouble should talk with their parents or another adult, and said New Hampshire has made some progress in its war on drugs and addiction and in providing resources for recovery.
"We are as a state moving forward and we are better off than last year," he said. "But money alone is not going to fix the problem. Recovery is a lifelong effort and there needs to be resources for people in recovery - it's not just about treatment, enforcement and recovery - prevention is key."
He said the state needs to increase prevention assistance and help individuals make the right choice but also must understood it may be a wellness issue. Treatment beds have increased in New Hampshire and recovery centers have received additional funding; prevention measures are being implemented as well, he said, adding that the continuum of care must be strengthened.
Hassan told the group that Vara is the link between local residents, state government, and community resources. She called the state's substance abuse epidemic critical, decimating families and undermining business, and noted, "We can't arrest our way out of this situation."
Hassan said there is a need for resources for recovery and efforts to address all abuses. Education in the schools about the dangers of abuse is important and the state needs to work to decrease student substance abuse by targeting prevention in schools, Hassan added.
She spoke about limiting prescription drugs and said it is critical for everyone to keep working together and to advocate for those in need, and that is why RCFY is so important, she said.
Shaheen said she understands the threat and the toll of the opioid epidemic, and what makes a difference are community efforts for prevention, treatment and recovery. But she emphasized the need to focus on prevention and education about addiction.
The annual Champions of Prevention Awards were announced, with Hannaford named the Community Partner; Pastor Kevin McBride of Raymond Baptist Church the Community Leader; and Tim Carta the Youth Leadership award winner.
Jacob Rubin and Timothy Carta
RCFY youth members, led by Jacob Rubin and Carta, who are RCFY interns, also addressed the group, and the Raymond High School Youth Action Team members spoke about their involvement.
Announcements were made that founding long time board member Stephen Sloan and program coordinator Jen Darois were resigning.
RCFY BOD Chairman Salois and Vice Chair Sevinsky thanking Sloan and Darios for their service.
Greg Sevinsky, vice chair of the RCFY Board of Directors, concluded the event by telling the audience its most precious gift is giving their time.
. To learn more about RCFY please visit our website www.rcfy.org or check us out on social media such as Facebook, twitter and our YouTube video page.
Promoting Positive Healthy Choices for Youth!
Prevention Summit 2016 Slides