Project AWARE: safety, respect and responsibility
September 30, 2017
Banners hang over downtown Gardnerville all the time, promoting events, classes and more. One banner highlighted three words; safe, respectful and responsible.
The words are part of Project AWARE and are used throughout the nation to recognize the work that schools and communities do to bring awareness and teach youth to be safe, respectful and responsible.
The Partnership of Community Resources in Gardnerville, in collaboration with the Douglas County School District, recently adopted the project and hope it will bring the community closer, said Partnership Executive Director Cheryl Bricker.
Project AWARE — Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education — is a federal grant run through the Nevada Department of Education that promotes youth mental health awareness among schools and communities and improve connections to services for school-age youth.
Project AWARE also can be used to train educators and other youth-serving adults to detect and respond to mental health issues and connect children, youth and families who may experience health issues with appropriate services.
"Children are in school for six hours a day , the presumption is that if something is wrong with the child, it's the school's fault. That's not true because it takes a community; a village to raise a child," said Bricker. "If the community is on board, there's not a set of different rules. We want to make a better school experience for children and a better experience for them in the community. We want them to feel safe, respected and responsible at school, home and in their community."
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Bricker said the Partnership hangs many signs throughout the year promoting awareness to several substance abuse prevention and wellness promotions including; underage drinking, tobacco and locking up prescription drugs.
"They all tie together in some way," she said. "Many people see the signs as they drive through, but not many actually pay attention to what it is or is about. Our goal with Project AWARE is to get the community involved and promote and act on it together."
Bricker said the project has already been recognized in the community.
"We made pins with the words safe, respectful and responsible and passed them out at the Suicide Walk, and one little girl from Scarselli Elementary School recognized it and said 'hey, I know those words, that's my school.'"
The highway banner was the kick off to bring awareness to the project,said Bricker.
"Now, we encourage everyone to get involved," she said.
Bricker said anyone who wants to host the sign and help boost awareness of the project is welcome.
"Eventually we want to partner with the community and not just the schools, but with the swim center, boys and girls club; anyone who wants to promote this concept and wants to encourage safety, respect and responsibility into their curriculum and programs," said Bricker.
The Partnership of Community Resources is a nonprofit community coalition with the mission to provide a network of citizens, businesses, and agencies for cooperation, planning and interaction to maximize resources and address the changing needs of the community through substance abuse prevention and wellness promotion, according to http://www.partnership-resource.org
"Douglas County has a wonderful reputation," said Bricker. "We just want to make it better."
For more information on Project AWARE visit https://www.samhsa.gov/nitt-ta/project-aware-grant-information.