Prevention Works.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

“Imagine a large river with a high waterfall. At the bottom of this waterfall hundreds of people are working frantically trying to save those who have fallen into the river and have fallen down the waterfall, many of them drowning. As the people along the shore are trying to rescue as many as possible one individual looks up and sees a seemingly never-ending stream of people falling down the waterfall and begins to run upstream. One of other rescuers hollers, “Where are you going? There are so many people that need help here.” To which the man replied, “I’m going upstream to find out why so many people are falling into the river.”​

– Saul Alinsky, in Shelden & Maccallair

This is the story of prevention. Working upstream. Prevention works. It works by taking a look at the reasons people use drugs and alcohol and why problem behaviors exist in a community.



We are compassionate and empathetic toward the work of reducing Opioid use and applaud the work to increase access to treatment, reduce the number of prescriptions written, and develop alternative medications and ways to address pain. While behavioral healthcare and healthcare work on that end, here in the world of prevention we work on the other end. Over time, using the principles of prevention science and the exploding research in neuroscience, prevention will decrease the likelihood of people using drugs and alcohol in the first place.

Here are some things we’re doing in 2019 to reduce problem behaviors and alcohol and drug use in Kosciusko County:

  • Teaching youth and adults about our great big human organ, the brain.  Many of our ongoing and most intractable social problems are directly connected to the way that our exposure to adversity, chronic stress, and trauma affect our brain architecture. The expression of our DNA becomes altered and those ongoing generational issues families experience are connected to it. The good news is the negative effects can be turned around and changed. Our brains can be rewired! Given the right information and tools we can work on it ourselves, and learn to seek appropriate help too. While this may sound daunting, we will bring the stories and the information to everyone at a level where the information can be turned around and used to improve personal and family circumstances – ultimately transforming the community.
  • Continue providing high-quality, evidence-based programs that build social-emotional skills, resilience, and connection for the youngest to the oldest in our community. Our programs cover the full spectrum of age groups. All of our programs are engaging youth and adults in a way that over time we can change the landscape of social problems our community experiences. Our programs include:
  • Al’s Pals for preschool and Kindergarten classrooms
  • Botvin Life Skills Training for elementary and middle school classrooms
  • Strengthening Families Program for any family interested in developing more skills in communication, family organization, and simply enjoying spending time together.
  • Mental Health First Aid certification classes – anyone in the community can learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of emerging mental health problems and connect with the person in order to get them appropriate help
  • Teen Court – a program to connect with at-risk youth and their families providing youth with opportunities and activities to learn new skills and behaviors

Here at Kosciusko Cares Youth Services we are excited about what 2019 will bring. We thank all of those who support us and partner with us. We care about you and we care about the community.  Happy New Year!