Health is a key factor in determining the success of our young people. As a community, we need to ensure we have all the resources necessary to support the physical, social, and emotional well-being of our community’s youth.
Youth Health works to increase the protective factors that enhance healthy living for Northfield young people. It works with several community initiatives to prevent youth alcohol and drug use among Northfield youth.
Key partners in these efforts include:
Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use
A city council-appointed commission, The Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use seeks to raise community awareness about local youth substance use and to make recommendations for community interventions to reduce youth use. Examples of the work of the Mayor’s Task Force includes:
-Take It To The Box
The Mayor’s Task Force coordinated the launch of the “Take It To The Box” medication program in 2010. Permanent disposal boxes were installed in the lobbies of the Northfield and Faribault Police stations. Community members can now dispose of unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Numerous counties throughout Minnesota have used Rice County’s “Take It To The Box” program as a model for their own communities.
-Targeted Parent Mailings
The Mayor’s Task Force distributes mailings to encourage and support parents as they help their children make healthy choices. Postcards and letters are mailed for special events such as prom, graduation, and school breaks.
The Mayor’s Task Force’s communication efforts help inform and educate our community on many levels. A newspaper column is published monthly. KYMN Radio interviews, displays, mailings, public speaking engagements, newsletters and more are used regularly to communicate our message. Productive relationships have been built with communication partners, including the local media.
-Talk, Listen, Connect
The Mayor’s Task Force launched a parent education and support initiative designed to 1.) Encourage parents to talk with their children about drug and alcohol use, 2.) Listen to their children and engage them in conversation, and 3.) Connect with parents of their child’s friends. Parent resource materials are distributed at parent events in the local schools, as well as at community gatherings.
-Parent Resource and Telephone Directory
The Mayor’s Task Force partners with the Northfield Public Schools and the Healthy Community Initiative to create student telephone directories at the middle and high school levels. These resources provide parents with telephone numbers of other parent/guardians, allowing them to remain in contact. The directories contain parent education materials and other important local telephone numbers.
The Mayor’s Task Force researches policy and recommends changes or enhancements (if needed) around alcohol and tobacco sales and efforts to reduce youth use. This includes supporting local efforts to implement compliance checks of alcohol vendors. Other areas of interest include: licensing issues; training requirements for alcohol servers and sales staff; consequences for providing alcohol or tobacco to minors or hosting gatherings where underage youth have access to alcohol; and follow-through for those charged with selling alcohol and tobacco to minors.
-Identifying Needs & Services
Through reviewing survey and evaluation data, theMayor’s Task Force remains responsive to prevention and intervention needs of youth and families. Yearly surveys of youth help us to know and address alcohol and drug problems. Survey data from community members and parents also provide valuable direction.
Rice County Chemical Health Coalition
The Rice County Chemical Health Coalition is committed to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and abuse among Rice County youth. As a countywide, multi-sector work group, the coalition works from a comprehensive, research-based plan to address youth substance abuse. Learn more about preventing youth alcohol and other drug use.