Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Trainings geared to help children make choices

The Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners recently approved a request for some professional training requested by Wahkiakum Health and Human Services, to be used as part of the programming for Wahkiakum Community Network.

Wahkiakum Community Network (WCN) is a local organization that provides education about substance abuse, hosting programs and trainings that give parents the tools to help their children make better choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

According to Julie Johnston, the community services manager for Wahkiakum Health and Human Services, it’s during those years between 9-14 that kids are more susceptible to experimentation.

“The science is saying if you can wait until after the brain stops developing, you can have so much more benefits,” she said, adding that the risks of addiction and long term health concerns increase when younger people experiment with drugs and alcohol.

The network has monthly meetings to talk about what is happening locally, and brainstorm ideas for programs that help with parenting, as far as guiding good choices, what to listen for, how to communicate with your kids, and how to bond as a family.

That’s why they will host what they hope will be an interactive event with Jermaine Galloway of "Tall Cop Says Stop" via Zoom in May. He is a renowned speaker, Johnston said, and a law enforcement officer who puts on trainings like these to educate people about the trends affecting kids right now.

“Our youth are getting so much information that us old people are not getting,” Johnston said. “We’re not into Tik-Tok, we’re not into that kind of stuff. It lets parents know what they need to be on the lookout for.”

Galloway will use a mock up of a teen bedroom containing more than 70 items that potentially indicate problems or risky behavior, so that parents know what to look for.

“The mock up of a teen bedroom will show items that could be signs for any number of things, like mental health issues, substance abuse, human trafficking, or dating violence,” she said.

Johnston said she had seen another one of his webinars called High in Plain Sight, which showed the varying ways that people are finding to get high right now.

“I was shocked,” Johnston said.

Details are still being worked out for the event. They want to host a viewing of Galloway’s training at the Hope House, while making the training available to the community in their own homes. There will be snacks at the event, and possibly a follow up presentation on the network, as they are hoping to find more people to join in their efforts.

"We are really struggling with membership,” Johnston said. “We need some fresh, new ideas. We coordinate with the school, but we want to reach out to our home school population, and get teenage and kid voices, which we really lack right now.”

“We’re really looking for that youth voice,” she continued. “Coaches, teachers, people from the Family Health Center, town council members, church leadership, parents in general, including parents of home school students, anyone that has a passion, that wants to see things better for our youth are welcome to join.”

The date for the event has tentatively been set for May 3.


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