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Local parents offered free help by coalition

December 17, 2012

The West Warwick Youth Center at 40 Factory St. is the site of the free program being offered by the West Warwick Prevention Coalition. File Photo.

WEST WARWICK — Members of the West Warwick Prevention Coalition are offering free programs to local parents that will assist them in speaking to their children about substance abuse.

Judy Chick, a social worker from the coalition, explained that they work with various groups throughout town including Thundermist, church organizations, the schools, student assistance counselors and the police department.

“There are so many positive things happening in town in regards to the youth center and the coalition and sometimes people don’t know about them,” she said.

She explained that in today’s world it’s difficult for parents to receive programs and resources that are free.

Also, she said, parents are busier than they have ever been and sometimes programs are not made to accommodate that.

“All of us feel like we have more on our plates than we can really take on so the reason I think the program is effective is because it’s a brief 30-minute presentation,” she said.

One of the workshops being offered is titled “Power of Parents,” which teaches parents how to effectively speak to their children about “risk taking behaviors.”

The program was developed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), but the coalition has begun running it at the West Warwick Youth Center, located at 40 Factory Street.

Chick explained that the state gives small amounts of money to various coalitions in the state to promote healthy activities that support the youth in the community.

“The thing that I think is so unique about our coalition is that we have successfully gotten lots of people from the community involved,” she said. “We have parents, we have kids, we have people from church groups, the police officers and the schools.”

The coalition works alongside student groups as well, including Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD).

Senior at West Warwick High School and President of SADD, Danielle Palazzo explained that as a freshman she joined the group to help support victims of drunk driving.

“When you hear the stories of the victims it makes you want to do everything you can to stop drunk driving and help people make better decisions,” she said.

Palazzo and sophomore Vanessa Ruggieri explained that during the summer, they, along with 15 other students in the group, attend a program titled “Teen Spirit.”

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