LCAHY Provides Medication Disposal Box to Bluffton Police Department

January 6th, 2020

LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY), a recipient of a Drug-Free Communities Grant, provided a medication disposal box to the South Carolina Bluffton Police Department.  The Bluffton Police Department, an agency represented on the LCAHY Coalition Board, is working with the coalition to reduce access to prescription medication and combat the opioid crisis.  WJCL made the community aware of the new dropbox during their State of Addiction News Report.  See the news report using the link below.  In the interview, Captain Babkiewicz of the Bluffton Police Department pointed out that properly disposing medication is an effective way to keep youth from accessing and experimenting with prescription medications.  Community members can now conveniently dispose of their unused prescription and over-the-counter medications in multiple locations in Bluffton.  LCAHY hopes this will encourage community members to properly dispose of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications year-round.

https://www.wjcl.com/article/new-year-clean-out-you-can-now-drop-off-unused-prescriptions-at-the-bluffton-police-department/30422094

Students Attend LCAHY & THY School Assemblies to Learn About the Dangers of E-cigarettes and Vaping

April 3rd and 4th, 2019

LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) invited Reston Hartsell, a member of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, to present at two community forums and two school assemblies (Bluffton High and Hilton Head Christian Academy) on the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.  Teens for Healthy Youth (THY), an initiative of LCAHY, hope that the information presented during the assemblies by Hartsell will encourage their peers to not vape and make informed and healthy decisions. THY Bluffton President, Grey Ann Cummings, pointed out that the long-term effects of these products have not been studied and more research needs to be done.  Audrey Weidner, a member of Bluffton THY, reported that her peers were surprised to learn that vaping products contain harmful chemicals and are more potent than students realize.  LCAHY and THY hopes that informing students and community members of the dangers of vaping can curb the sharp increase of youth use of vaping products.

LCAHY and THY present to Hilton Head/Bluffton Chamber’s Business Education Partnership Committee

December 3, 2019

LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth Chair (LCAHY), Wendy Cummings, and Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) representative from Hilton Head Christian Academy, Brielle McCarthy, shared LCAHY and THY’s vision and recent projects to Hilton Head/Bluffton Chamber’s Business Education Partnership Committee.  They stressed how important community involvement is to the success of LCAHY and THY’s mission.  The committee agreed to support the coalition’s efforts and would like LCAHY members to return to give a formal presentation in the future.  LCAHY hopes this will further provide an opportunity to create an awareness about LCAHY and THY.

May River High THY Encourages Their Peers to Make Positive Choices Over Winter Break

December 13, 2019

Teens for Healthy Youth at May River High School greeted students with a candy cane and a message before winter break. While the candy canes were a nice treat the students enjoyed, it was more about the message tied around each. The notes included messages of safety, health, and making positive choices during Christmas Break. The messages include sayings like, “Make the right choice over the break.”, “Don’t drive distracted while on break.”, “Stay healthy over the break.”, and “Have fun over break, but be smart”. In addition to handing out the treats, each of the Teens for Healthy Youth students were able to engage with other students about THY and what the club does throughout the school year.

LCAHY Consultant Voices Concerns on SNL Skit that Features Youth Drinking

June 3, 2020

Dr. Loretta Novince, a psychologist and consultant for the LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY), wrote an editorial as a contributor to the Hilton Head and Bluffton Sun News voicing concerns about NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” skit that featured youth of all ages drinking. The skit repeated the words “let kids drink” and suggested that alcohol could be used to help individuals cope with the stress of COVID-19.  Dr. Novince pointed out that this message was very misleading and harmful.  In fact, drinking alcohol to cope with stress can lead to or worsen existing mental health problems and increase the risk for alcohol use disorder.  The risk for young people is even greater because it can contribute to a range of adverse consequences, including interfering with and impairing brain development. Dr. Novince also noted that promotion of alcohol in the media is very harmful to youth because it can increase positive expectancies about alcohol, leading to influencing their attitudes and behaviors.  Furthermore, she made it clear that health experts report that alcohol use can reduce one’s ability to fight disease and make one more susceptible to developing COVID-19. LCAHY’s consultant urged the community to support LCAHY’s public health campaign to be part of the solution:  Send clear messages to our children about the dangers of youth drinking, tobacco, and illicit drug use.  Dr. Novince encouraged the community to visit www.lcahealthyyouth.com  for information for healthy ways to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The full editorial can be viewed at http://www.blufftonsun.com/tv-skit-promoting-youth-drinking-sends-wrong-message-cms-5417 and http://www.blufftonsun.com/letters-to-the-editor-cms-5419.

Youth Drinking and Drug Use are Unsafe Unhealthy and Illegal

THY Bills for the Bahamas

September 11-September 13, 2019

Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) at Bluffton High School worked with their peers to raise money for the Red Cross to support relief efforts in the Bahamas for victims of Hurricane Dorian.   The youth challenged their peers to see which first block class could raise the most money for the Bahamas. The school-wide challenged raised $2,220.  The winning class raised over $300 and will receive a breakfast to be donated from Dunkin Donuts.  Individual students donated their paychecks and birthday money to help the Bahamians. The Teens for Healthy Youth fundraiser was filmed by Beaufort County School District and the featured on four local Savannah news channels including WTOC, WJCL, WSAV, and WGTS.  The Bluffton Today newspaper also featured Bills for the Bahamas.  THY wanted to raise money for the Bahamas to show that BLHS cares about the people of the Bahamas. Many students at Bluffton High have experience evacuating and dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes and know that it can be a stressful event and wanted to do something to help.  Teens for Heathy Youth hope they will inspire other people in the community to donate to the Red Cross.  Teens for Healthy Youth is dedicated to promoting positive teen health and is the youth coalition of LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth, a recipient of the Drug-Free Communities Grant.

THY Bluffton High Deliver Anti-Stress Kits to their Teachers to Promote Positive Lifestyles

Friday December 20th, 2019

During final exam week at Bluffton High, members of Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) delivered anti-stress kits to the teachers and staff.  The stress kit included a LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) Teacher Stress Fact Card adapted from the National Education Association and the American Heart Association, which contained information on common teacher stressors and healthy ways of managing stress.  The purpose of the kit is to help teachers and staff manage their stress in healthy ways and avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as using alcohol and drugs or ruminating on negative thoughts to deal with stress. The kit contained positive affirmation cards and tips for using mindfulness. The kits also created an awareness of LCAHY and THY through informational brochures and promotional materials, such as a LCAHY pen and THY magnetic binder clip. THY hopes this small holiday surprise will have a big impact on the teachers and staff and promote healthy lifestyles, a goal of the coalition.

LCAHY’s Chair Interviewed About Medicine Safety Awareness

May 11th and May 12th, 2020

LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth’s chair, Wendy Cummings, was interviewed by WHHI about Medicine Safety Awareness during SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week.  Wendy Cummings stressed the importance of properly storing, monitoring, and disposing of prescription medication to prevent youth access.  LCAHY’s chair noted that this was especially important during COVID-19 as individuals may be experiencing more stress or anxiety and be more susceptible to substance use during sheltering in place.  She also encouraged community members to talk to youth often and early about medicine safety and to visit LCAHY’s website for more resources related to medicine safety, including a list of medication drop box locations in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island at http://www.lcahealthyyouth.com/proper-medication-disposal/.

THY Induction Ceremony 2019/2020

October 24, 2019

The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) hosted an induction ceremony for its youth coalition, Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) at the Seahawk Cultural Center of Hilton Head Island High School on October 24, 2109.  Teens for Healthy Youth from Bluffton High School, Hilton Head Christian Academy, Hilton Head Island High School, Hilton Head Preparatory High School, and May River High were inducted by the LCAHY Board.  THY is dedicated to promoting positive health through community service, leadership, peer to peer education, and advocacy.  Mr. Steven Schidrich, Principal of Hilton Head Island High School, and Mrs. Pamela Maddox, assistant principal of McCracken Middle school commended students for their courage to address teen health issues and praised the youth for willingness to make a difference in the lives of their peers.  Youth representatives of LCAHY, Kylie Nelson, and Audrey Weidner educated the audience on recent THY projects. The number of student inductees tripled from last year, indicating that the LCAHY youth coalition is growing.  LCAHY plans to do induction annually and hopes to have town officials of Hilton Head and Bluffton be a part of the ceremony next year.