The vision of the S.A.F.E. Coalition is to engage partners in the Oceanside community and surrounding areas in the planning, implementation and evaluation of strategies to prevent underage alcohol, tobacco and other substance use. The coalition will utilize evidence-based strategies to reduce the rate of youth substance abuse as well as other related issues, such as mental illness, that negatively impact the chances for youth to become productive healthy adults.
I personally got involved in the coalition after being part of Long Beach AWARE, which has had a successful coalition for almost 20 years. I realized very quickly that in order to see real changes in a community, we all need to be a part of the solution. As a health teacher for 17 years in Oceanside, I see what my students have to deal with outside of the classroom.
One quote has always stuck with me that was said by Judy Vining of the Long Beach Coalition, “We do not expect a fish to survive in a polluted pond.” And in relation to our youth, due to many factors including the media, availability, social norms supporting alcohol and marijuana use, as well as many others, that is what we are expecting of our children.
We need to make every effort to give our youth the best chance to be successful in life. That includes having a positive environment for them to flourish in, as well as the necessary education and support in the area of mental health.