The SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition is a grassroots community anti-drug coalition, managed by LEAD and funded by a Federal Drug Free Communities grant. For the past 8 years, SpeakUP! has worked with all sectors of the Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood, IL communities on environmental change strategies to discourage underage drinking and drug use. By collaborating with both adults and youth, SpeakUP! and its partners have significantly reduced the levels of alcohol and drug use among teens. We are making a difference, and you can too! The choices you make with your time will matter to your children and to the community! #DiveIn!
In 2006, local high school students took a survey about their attitudes and usage-habits of drugs and alcohol. The results of these surveys indicated that students in our community were drinking at levels significantly above regional and national levels. In collaboration with LEAD, a group of concerned citizens formed a task force in December 2006 to examine these issues. The task force, now known as the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition has now grown to over 100 people who are committed to being part of the solution to reduce underage alcohol and drug use. In 2008 and 2010, students in grades 6-12 were surveyed again, and the results confirmed the need for continued action.
In 2010, the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition was awarded a federal Drug Free Communities grant. With members from across all sectors of the community, the coalition uses a data-driven approach to achieve results. Using data from the biannual Illinois Youth Survey, and professional evaluation from Epiphany Community Services, our coalition is able to disseminate the following:
- The predominant youth substance abuse issues in our community (i.e. alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, etc)
- The root causes of these issues
- Workable prevention strategies
- Areas most in need of enforcement or cultural/environmental change
- How to call the community to action
Achieve the mission with community-wide, best-practice initiatives in education, communication, enforcement and support to change the culture and environment of underage drinking in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood.
Specific objectives of the coalition:
- Increase the awareness and understanding of the extent of the underage drinking problem in the community and the risks/consequences of drinking for youth and for parents.
- Engage the entire community (parents, government, churches, schools, athletic organizations, clubs, civic groups, etc.) in the effort to significantly reduce underage drinking.
- Reduce availability of alcohol to youth.
- Increase the support for youth to be alcohol free and pursue healthy lifestyles.
We Need You to Join our Efforts!
Visit our SpeakUP! website at www.speakupcoalition.org to learn more. We hope you will consider joining our coalition and becoming part of the solution! New members are always welcome. Click here for our 2014-2015 meeting schedule. Please contact our office if you have any questions.