A wonderful time was had by all at our Staff & Board Family Holiday Dinner. We had the largest attendance this year and were able to celebrate with over 60 people, including staff and their families. The food was fabulous! Malissa kept the kids (and adults) entertained with lots of fun games. Gifts were given out and lots of laughs and family fun were shared by all. We are truly blessed to work with such amazing people and this event allows us the opportunity to celebrate together. Coming together in celebration is what makes this such an anticipated event each year. Thank you to Jocelyn, Barbara, Catherine and our Board of Directors.
Mercer Council News
Since 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as #GivingTuesday as a response to consumerism after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is a day where we can give back to those in need and donate to organizations that make a difference.
Make a donation today
Join Joanna K. Chodorowska for this lively discussion of how our emotional situations can become our biggest challenge resulting in symptoms of anxiety, despondency and compulsions. Joanna will discuss her journey from athlete to exhaustion to business owner learning to release the unresolved and often buried layers of pain. As we choose "loving", often of ourselves, we are able to fill the holes of pain with love, heal physically, mentally and emotionally so we can step forward into our full authenticity with gusto! Joanna will share a demonstration of the Path To Heal energy work she uses to help identify and release these often buried emotional issues.
Joanna Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH, is a holistic sports nutrition therap[y coach, author and multidimensional healer helping you find balance and whole health - body, mind and soul. She provides her clients with realistic, real food options that fit into their busy lives. She helps athletes and non-athletes to become the fierce competitors of their own lives with loving at the core.
Register for this lunch and learn here: Register Here
Research studies have shown that the human brain is not fully developed until some point our mid twenties. Prevention science teaches us that delaying the first use of any substance until at least the age of 19 can significantly decrease the chances of having a substance use disorder in our lifetime. These messages are important for everyone to know, however, it is particularly difficult to get this vital information through to parents. As a Prevention Educator, I know getting in front of a group of parents can be challenging -- everyone's schedule is busy and parents are a difficult audience to pin down.
This is why we created this PSA to be played in doctor's offices, pediatric dental practices, pediatricians, etc. While parents are waiting for their child to be seen by a health practitioner, there is often a TV monitor in the waiting room. What a great opportunity to educate them on the development of the teen brain! We are excited to roll out this PSA throughout Mercer County and beyond! Please help us promote it by asking your doctor and dentist to link it to his/her office waiting room! Knowledge is power and it's also good prevention!
On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council and the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County held the first annual Chess Fest event at the Trenton YMCA. Chess Fest is a family fun event that is free to all Mercer County youth interested in learning or playing chess. The primary goal of this event is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the chances of them engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and violence. "Chess helps children learn valuable life lessons including strategic thinking, delayed gratification and conflict resolution skills. Not only is it an enjoyable game, chess is a healthy activity that aids in the development of logic, reasoning and problem-solving abilities." said Hal Sprechman, chess instructor, coach and tournament director.
Great news! We are finally moved into our new space. The Available School Youth Service Support Team (ASYSST) was previously located outside the school in an adjacent building, and has moved inside the school!! We could not be more excited to be conveniently located. It makes us feel more involved with the school and the Students. The transition was not an easy one, yet we pushed through and are adjusting quite well.
ASYSST has started some new groups, which we ave very excited about. They are the Black Student Alliance (BSA), the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). ASYSST also has plans to run a Girl’s group called Sisters of a New Generation (SONG), a Boy’s group called Brothers of a New Direction (BOND) and a college prep group. We have a lot in store for the Students and are looking foward to an awesome year!
On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council will be co-sponsoring the first Chess Fest event for youth in Mercer County at the YMCA of Trenton. Chess Fest is a family fun event whose primary goal is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the chances thay they will engage in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and violence. Chess helps children learn valuable life lessons including strategic thinking, delayed gratification and conflict resolution skills. More than just an enjoyable game, chess is a healthy activity that aids in the development of logic, reasoning and problem-solving abilities, memory and concentration, visualization skills, critical thinking, patience and determination.
Chess masters and experts from around the area will play simultaneous chess games with children particpating in the event for awards and medals. Instruction will be given for those youth who do not know how to play the game and free chess sets, boards and tee shirts will be distributed to the first 100 children to register. Youth in grades K - 12 that go to school in Mercer County are eligible to register for this free event. Families are invited to join the festivities and watch the featured event: The Human Chess Game, which will begin about 12:30pm. This unique and fun event features children and chess experts as actual playing pieces on a life-sized chess board! The event is co-sponsored by The New Jersey State Chess Federation, The Mercer County Prosecuter's Office, Thrivent Financial and the YMCA of Trenton. Register Here
This September, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is observing Pain Awareness Month to educate and empower people living with chronic conditions that cause pain. Along with the many valuable opioids abuse resources on our website, we'd like to share with you additional information about pain management and how physician anesthesiologists can help safey and effectively manage pain from surgery, injury or chronic conditions. If you are dealing with pain, we want to give you even more high-quality information straight from physician anesthesiologist, pain medicine specialists who are especially skilled and experiends in taking care of people with chronic pain.
Please take a few moments to look at the links below, it might make a world of difference for you or a loved one!Chronic Pain: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/types-of-pain/chronic/Opioid Abuse: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/opioid-treatment/opioid-abuse/Opioid Treatment and Risks: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/opioid-treatment/Non-Opioid Treatment: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/non-opioid-treatment/
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, I can not say it enough. What a success we have had for our first Benefit Luncheon and Silent Auction! We were able to raise more than $1000 for the Geetha Arulmohan Schollarship.
Thank you to all who helped, attended, donated, and shared. Here are a few photos from our event.
Jocelyn Cooper, Executive Director
Antonia Lewis, Board Member
Nora Kashinsky, Retired Mercer Council
Volunteers Sought For “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” October 6th
Volunteers are needed to participate in a “feet on the ground” grass roots effort to educate medical professionals and the public on the dangers of opiate abuse during a statewide initiative on October 6th called “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.”
“This statewide event is geared to educating medical professionals about the opiate addiction epidemic and what solutions are available,” said Barbara Sprechman, a coalition coordinator for Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.
Sprechman said volunteers will be visiting doctors’ and dentists’ offices to promote the Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how medical professionals can safely prescribe opiate-based drugs.
“Whenever possible, medical professionals should be encouraging their patients to start with over-the counter pain medications to relieve their symptoms before prescribing opiate-based drugs. Rather than prescribing 40 Percocet after wisdom teeth extraction, tell them to try Advil and prescribe only two or three pills. Adolescents who are prescribed opioid pain killers are more prone to addiction later in life.”
If a teenager is prescribed opiate drugs before high school graduation, it raises the risk of future opioid abuse by 33 percent, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey. The organization also stated that in 2012, health care professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
Sprechman said that the October 6th event is a grass roots effort to bring awareness of the opiate addiction, with people going door-to-door to medical offices around the county and also throughout the community. “We want volunteers to collect the informational materials and then distribute them in their neighborhoods, their local gyms, everywhere!”
The Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams has stated that "knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life".
Every quarter, Mercer Council and the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County partners with JSAS HealthCare, Inc. to provide Narcan (naloxone) training to anyone interested in this lifesaving medication. This quarter, our training will be held on September 20th at 6 PM. This free training is offered to anyone in the community ages 15 and up, and is particularly important for anyone who is or is associated with someone who is taking prescribed opioids, uses opioids such as fentanyl or heroin, or is in the healthcare industry. We encourage anyone who is concerned with a loved one, works with at-risk populations, or is just curious to understand how this medication works to attend this training. This interesting, quick-paced class is less than an hour and a half long, and everyone who receives the training will leave with a kit containing a 4mg dose of Narcan, and instructions on how to refill their supply if needed. Registration is requested, as supplies are limited to the first 30 participants. Please register through our EventBrite here: Narcan Training Sept 20
Mercer Council is a provider and partner in prevention for over 40 years, and with the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County, they continue to provide and diversify prevention education throughout Mercer County.
This event was informative, moving and motivating. While the observation of International Overdose Awareness day offers hope, healing and encouragement, one of the most important things brought forward at this event is that those who have died from overdose were so much more than their death: these were children, husbands, and wives, who had talents, relationships, passions and experiences before their death was defined by overdose. Events like these can only remind all of us of the individuals who are struggling with the disease of addiction, and help shatter the stigmas that are often placed on them.
Mercer Council is celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
Please join us on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Leonardo's Restaurant in Lawrence Township and help us celebrate 40 years of service directed at building a healthier, safer and more responsible community! Our event will include a delicious full lunch and an opportunity to participate in our silent auction, which is a great opportunity to win a variety of amazing prize baskets and items. If you would like to support our agency, mission and vision for the community, please purchase a ticket to this celebration! Ticket purchases will help us to continue providing prevention education programs to individuals of all ages, as well as provide scholarships for individuals looking to get into the field of substance prevention, counseling, etc. To purchase a ticket, please contact Lisa at (609) 3965874 x. 201. If you can't make it to our event, but would like to donate, you may make a donation on our website here. We appreciate your support and look forward to celebrating with you!
The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County has just received a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program continuation grant to prevent youth substance use, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. The DFC program, created by the DFC Act of 1997 is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use and is directed by the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Grants are provided to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.
“Since our first grant awards were made in 1998, the DFC Program has continued to expand its reach in communities across the country. It is a testament to the great work DFC coalitions are doing, together with community partner that include parent groups, schools, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and others to prevent drug use and improve the health of communities,” said ONDCP Deputy Director James W. Carroll. “Our local DFC coalitions are a key part of this effort because they are relentless in their work to prevent youth from initiating drug use and ultimately, saving more lives.”
“For the past six years, our Coalition has been working hard to reduce youth substance use in communities throughout Mercer County. With the continuation of DFC support program funding, we will be able to continue this important work and keep our youth healthy and drug-free” said Barbara Sprechman, Assistant Executive Director of Mercer Council and Coordinator of the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County.
The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County target priorities are underage drinking, prescription drug misuse, illegal use of marijuana and new and emerging drugs. Past accomplishments of the coalition include helping to establish permanent medicine take-back boxes in every police department in the county, hosting educational forums on current drug-trends, best-practice approaches to combat the current opioid epidemic, as well as advocating for changes in policies and laws. Prescription drug abuse prevention is one of the core measures of effectiveness for local DFC coalitions and coalitions nationwide have led innovative opioid prevention initiatives. DFC’s 2017 National Evaluation End-of-Year report found that at least 97% of middle school and 94% of high school report that they have not misused prescription drugs in the past 30-days in DFC communities.
The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County is a group of diverse individuals from the community dedicated to the prevention and treatment of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse problems. The mission of the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County is to reduce substance abuse in youth and across the lifespan by collaborating resources and coordinating planning in order to offer opportunities for building a healthy mind, body and spirit for all residents of Mercer County.
As the start to the new school year approaches, it is important to ensure all children are buckled up, seated properly in vehicles, and are aware what to do to protect themselves if they ever find themselves riding in a vehicle with an unsafe driver. The image below contains safe riding tips for children. In the event a child finds him or herself riding with an unsafe driver, it is crucial to tell a trusted adult immediately about any unsafe ride. For more information about Child Passenger Safety, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Child Passenger Safety Information
For the 4th year, Mercer Council will be co-sponsoring the Fathers and Men United for a Better Trenton (FAMUBT) annual Community Day. This is a free event open to all Mercer County residents with lots of free food, entertainment, community vendors, and, of course, backpack giveaways for students.
Come out this Saturday, August 25th from 11am to 7pm for this great event located at Cadwalder Park in Trenton, NJ.
September is National Recovery Month. What does this mean? Well, it means that this is a time each year that gets attention to all those people in and/or supporting someone else in recovery. Addiction affects millions of people; in fact in 2014 alone, 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder (National Survey on Drug Use and Health). It is very easy to only focus all of one's energy and attention to all those afflicted; however, recovery does exist for millions of Americans and millions more worldwide! September is a time dedicated to breaking the stigma of who the addict is and allow for time to embrace and celebrate those who have overcome and fight everyday to maintain their own personal sobriety. Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles...these are the people we are talking about; people who have come from such destruction to themselves and others around them and have miraculously become healthier, stronger, wiser, and more productive people.
One of the main events during National Recovery Month are the nationwide reocvery walks.
New Jersey's is Saturday, September 15th @ Liberty State Park in Jersey City beginning at 11 am
Saturday, September 22 Mercer County hosts the Run/Walk to Recovery @ Mercer County Park beginning at 9 am. For more information or to register click here
Last year I attended the recovery walk in Philadelphia and it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had as a person in recovery and as a person in general. Over 27,000 people attended. Being around friends and other people in recovery, walking like a sea of hope in the streets was an amazing site to see and experience. Hope needs to exist for recovery to be possible. Unity needs to exist for recovery to continue.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held one day during the last week in August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. This is a beautiful, powerful, meaningful evening and a wonderful way to show your support and love for those affected by addiction.
In coordination with the Mercer County Prosecutor’ s Office and the Mercer County Prevention Coalition, Robbinsville Township will be hosting this special evening of awareness and remembrance. The event will be held at Community Park on Manor Way and Gordon Road. It will begin at 5:30pm and conclude at 8:00pm.
The evening will include guest speakers, vendor tables, a commemorative shoe display (please feel free to bring a pair of shoes worn by or symbolic of lost loved one) and a memory picture table. The evening will conclude with an interactive candlelight vigil.