BY: KARI LERCH
Summer is fast-approaching, which tends to be prime time for youth to engage in high-risk behaviors. Some of these behaviors could result in consequences such as teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, gun violence, and more – all of which are not only a threat to individual well-being, but the well-being of our community as a whole. Preventing these behaviors is key.
Prevention is not simply intervening when a behavior or health concern is visible and present but rather intervening before high risk behaviors are even exhibited. At the core of a preventative approach is the use of evidence-based programs and/or practices and the promotion of positive youth development in order to give youth the skills and experience needed to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.
A study from the Southwest Prevention Center at the University of Oklahoma indicates that, depending on the program or practice, every $1 spent on prevention can return anywhere from $2-$20 in reduced demands for health and social services. If you think about that in terms of a personal investment, at a minimum – you are guaranteed to double your initial investment.
Community Advocates’ Public Policy Institute is proud to include a major focus on prevention work in the Milwaukee community. Within the Public Policy Institute, our projects include the Milwaukee Brighter Futures Initiative, the Milwaukee County AODA project, and the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance. Combined, we have roughly $4 million dollars funneling into a combination of prevention activities in Milwaukee County. Think of what our return on investment could be.
So, in the spirit of prevention, Community Advocates’ Public Policy Institute is pleased to kick-off its first annual Prevention Week! This week will focus on different activities, events, and opportunities our local and national partners provide in the name of prevention. We will be active on social media, so if you aren’t already – connect with us on our website, here on our Prevention Milwaukee blog and on Facebook or Twitter. Here’s a preview of what you can expect this week:
- Monday – Tobacco Prevention. Check out our Facebook to see pictures of the youth FACT event held at the Boys and Girls Club.
- Tuesday – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention. Kasaundra Brown, Prevention Associate discusses the continuing battle our youth agencies face in doing marijuana prevention with our community’s youth.
- Wednesday – Violence Prevention. View our blue ribbon photo campaign in honor of child abuse and neglect prevention. Share your photos with us of you and your ribbon!
- Thursday – Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Check out opportunities for youth to participate in the National Quiz on Teen Pregnancy, or attend the Teen & Parent Summit on crucial conversations.
- Friday – Mental Health Celebration Day. Join us at the Parklawn YMCA from 4-5:30pm to celebrate mental health awareness, and learn about healthy coping strategies.
A big thanks goes out to several of our community partners that have planned, assisted and will attend and/or participate this week. Your tireless efforts in prevention have helped create a stronger, healthier Milwaukee community!