New Rochelle FOCUS Meeting minutes 3-23-10 @ 12pm New Rochelle High School Room 222 Present: Bruce Kelly (YS), Pina Bloom (YS), Rachel Gabriel (YS), Cindy Walline (YS), Denise Reyes (YS), Arianna Martignetti (Y), Lauren Baker (Y), Bruce Danielle (ED), Ruth Gilwit (YS), Nancy Kessler (ED), Micki Carbone (ED), Birgitte Stoerger (P), Mike Kenny (ED), Cindy Kahn (P), James O’Toole (B), Kathy Gilwit (G,P), Judy Mezey (YS), Charles Morgan (CS), Patty Warble (YS), Sgt Barry Johnson (LE) and Susan Brownbill-Vega (LE). Four new members attended the meeting: Bruce Danielle, head of Security for NRHS, Birgitte Stoerger, a parent of a middle school & high school student and two high school students, Arianna Martignetti and Lauren Baker (both members of SADD). Mike Kenny, co-chair of the Family U Committee, gave an overview of the Family University event to be held on April 19th. He detailed the speakers for the event including the two keynote speakers – Dr. Dan Kindlon and Michael Fowlin, both nationally renown presenters in the areas of child psychology. Dr. Kindlon will speak about the difficulties of raising teens in today’s society and Michael Fowlin, who, through role plays, explores diversity among youth. Mike also noted that the brochures were being mailed out as well as Save the Date flyers to all parents of middle school and high school students. Bruce noted that the brochure with registration form was put on the nrfocus website and could be down loaded as well as the Save the Date flyer. Save the Date flyers were previously passed out at school events in February. A request for volunteers was made for the night of the event Ruth Gilwit, the media director for the coalition and chair of the Media Committee, unveiled the new and approved website. She pointed out that this website is much easier to edit and contains more information on the home page. It also allows visitors to comment on the site and the different pages. She navigated through the site, showing the improvements. She also made a request for members to submit photos to her or Bruce to be displayed on the site as well as any events they would like to post. She then presented the new youth oriented page, which allows comments by the students. The page is called “The Blabratory” and will post videos dealing with drug & alcohol prevention as well as surveys so the coalition can get a youth perspective on these issues. Next, she spoke of the public service announcement the coalition will be shooting on May 1st. The ideas for it were the result of meetings with students at the high school. It will be shot in New Rochelle with New Rochelle youth. Gwen Clayton of the NR Boys & Girls Club has volunteered her home for the shoot. The psa will center around a student who goes to a house party but has second thoughts once he enters. He leaves and starts walking down the middle of the street alone. But not for long as other students fall in behind him one by one until the street is full of people. The title of the psa is “I Walk Alone”. At he bottom of the psa will be the title but the I will turn into a 1 and become a counter adding up as each new person falls in behind the student. Bruce then stated that the coalition will be submitting articles about the coalition to local print and internet papers. The coalition had been waiting until they had some accomplishments to highlight before reaching out to the media. It was also requested that if any member wanted to author an article they could submit it to their agency’s or school newspaper. Pina Bloom, co-chair of the Youth Leadership Committee reported on the progress of the committee’s work in setting up youth activities. The main activity would take the form of a “coffeehouse-like” event. This was achieved by meeting with students to get their feedback. Arianna Martignetti told the coalition that the main goal of the students was to find a venue where they could connect with all teens in New Rochelle as some go to public school and some go to private school. Meetings have been held with Iona Prep and Ursuline. Some of the activities they would engage in would be “Speed Meeting” similar to the concept of Speed Dating. Kareoke and games like Pictionary were also suggested. Bruce stated that AJ from AJ’s Burgers offered the use of his restaurant from 9pm to 12am on a Friday or Saturday night for the event at no cost. Bruce will meet with Iona students on Thursday March 25th for their feedback. A late May date is contemplated for the event. Bruce, the chair of the CMCA Committee informed the group of an upcoming training on mobilizing the community on the issue of underage drinking. The training will be held on April 8th from 8am to 2pm at the New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club Mascaro Unit. The training will be run by YLI (Youth Leadership Institute), which trains nationally on this issue. Bruce pointed out that the training was during a work day and was aware of the fact that people work but requested that if anyone could come, even if just for a few hours, it would be appreciated as the training will be beneficial to the community. Committee member James O’Toole of the BID and the New Rochelle Tavern and Restaurant Association told the group about an upcoming TIPs training (responsible beverage server) to be held in New Rochelle in late April early May. Juliano’s Caterers will host the event and them as well as other restaurants will provide food for the 6 hour training free of charge. James spoke of the benefit of the training for bartenders and servers including the reduction in the establishment’s insurance premium. Add to this the fact that the training will be offered at no cost to the attendees, courtesy of the coalition, it is a win – win situation. He stated that he already had about 35 people interested in the training. Bruce stated that the police and he would be re-canvassing the merchants who posted the 2d ID placards in their stores to see if they had any effect on the use of fake out of state licenses being used to purchase beer/liquor. Sgt Johnson stated that the police will be doing a DWI Saturation Patrol on high school graduation and would be conducting house party patrols. Bruce then presented the new social marketing campaign the coalition would be launching in May. Bruce noted that in the past, the coalition had used the “Parents Who Host Lose The Most” campaign but thought that it was time to change the focus of the message to the real reasons why we don’t want parents to turn a blind eye to underage drinking. The campaign will be called “Parents Aren’t Friends” and will send the message that underage drinking can ruin those things all parents want their child to have – Health, Happiness, Safety and Success. The campaign will take the form of print media utilizing billboards and bus shelters in the city as well as palm cards to be distributed at events. Patty Warble of the Westchester Coalition for Drug & Alcohol Free Youth told the coalition about a proposed county wide youth summit that will be held on Veteran’s Day this coming November. It will be run by Ty Sells, a nationally recognized youth speaker and motivator on drug and alcohol free lifestyles. It will be an all day event where youth will engage in interactive workshops and activities to give them skills to be advocates for healthy lifestyles. As of now at least 8 coalitions are involved including New Rochelle. Bruce stated that OASAS is hosting youth summits throughout the State and would co-sponsor this event to help defray the cost. Tom Meier, the NYS chairman of the Elks Club Drug Awareness program was supposed to speak to the group about possible school presentation by Milton Creagh but was unable to attend. Mr Creagh is a highly effective speaker on the issues of teen drug and alcohol use and has spoken in several Westchester middle and high schools the past few years. The coalition would like to get Mr. Creagh to speak to the students at NRHS, Albert Leonard and Isaac E. Young this Spring. Tom will provide us with the dates of availability. Bruce told the members to google Milton Creagh to see his body of work. Bruce told the group about his meeting with Mike Stellate of Main Street Boxing. Mr. Stellate runs a program for teens, which promotes not only fitness but stresses academics and healthy diet. The possibility of an event at the gym sponsored by the coalition was discussed as one of our visions is “healthy kids”. The membership liked the idea so Bruce will follow-up with Mike. Charles Morgan of the Municipal Housing Authority told the group about the programming his agency is sponsoring for the youth of New Rochelle. They currently have a reading program in the Hartley Projects co-sponsored by the NAACP and a homework tutoring program for middle school children at Monroe College. They are also looking to do a summer sports camp to teach young people golf and tennis. Pina Bloom and Rachel Gabriel told the group about their recent SADD Day at NRHS where they had a guest speaker, Mark Sterner. Mr. Sterner recounted his tragic story. After a night of drinking on Spring Break, he drove a car full of his friends, who had decided that Mark was the “least drunk” and therefore should drive. Mark ended up getting into a car accident and killed his friends. It was pointed out that Mark and his friends were of legal age to drink, sending home the message that excessive alcohol use is no good at any age. Nancy Kessler told the group that the SADD chapters at Iona Prep and Ursuline will be sponsoring a walkathon on May 15th. The walkathon entitled “Strive For Life, Don’t Drink & Drive” This Walk-a-thon is meant to advertise Leandra's Law, passed in 12/09 after a young girl was killed on the West Side Highway as a passenger in the car of her friend's mother who was drunk. The law mandates that any driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 with a child passenger of age 15 and under will be charged with a felony. This law is meant to stop adolescents and adults from drinking and driving at all but at the very least when there are child in the car. All funds raised during the Walk-a-thon will be going to the Generation's Program at Lexington Center for Recovery in New Rochelle, NY. This program was set up to aid mothers who have issues with drug and alcohol abuse. Specifically speaking, it centers on the care and treatment of women and their children together. It allowed the mothers to have their children up to 4 years old with them to learn better parenting strategies, have the children receive early intervention and to promote together time in parent and child groups. This program was working out very well but due to the recent recession, Lexington Center's funding had been greatly reduced by the Department of Social Services. However, recently funding has been partially reinstated, but they are in need of diapers, wipes, toys and a computer with pre-school programs. New Rochelle FOCUS will support this event.