Arizona Drug Free Communities surveying community
MOHAVE COUNTY – Data can be useful. For example, two needs for teens are being addressed, say, homelessness and nutrition. But there’s never funding for everything. One need is as internet-reliant as one can get, and the other fuels the body and mind, surveys say. How do we learn where to focus the dollars?
What was that about surveys? Well, that’s how we collect the data, and that’s what the Westcare Arizona Drug Free Communities (DFC) Core Measure is doing with its survey of teens, available at westcare.click/AZdfcSurvey or by scanning the QR Code (did we mention internet reliance?) through the end of February. What needs do teens have? Do they feel secure? How are they taking care of themselves? What are the familial and learning stressors? For example, adults stressors may be shared among children of single-parent families, such as care of younger children. That teen may be taking additional stressors into an educational or work environment. On top of that and school, teens who work experience work-related stress.
“I saw generational trauma,” said Morgan T. Leclaire B.Sc, USAF-Ret, and Program Director of WestCare in Bullhead City, who served a career as a Probation Officer in Mohave County. “It’s a one-way street, more often than we’d like, that ends in disaster. We make an effort to change that.”
The short survey has up to one dozen questions and is budgeted to take place every two years, which is a long time for a teen. “It gives us information about current trends,” said Leclaire. Completely anonymous, the survey enlightens outreach services about “what age groups are being introduced to alcohol, tobacco and drugs, how they’re getting it,” he added, including past active usage.
In return, the “survey drives a lot of action on our end,” which is based on prevention, positive self image and independence, said Leclaire, who has been involved with the (DFC) program since 2020. “It shows us what lesser strengths we need to build on to properly prepare kids for the future,” particularly methods to increase resilience.
“We use evidence-based” methods, including the Botvin LifeSkills Training, which has been “proven to cut alcohol use by up to 60 percent,” according to its website, LifeSkillsTraining.com, as well as Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which is based on “meta-cognitive skills, or how to consider their own thoughts,” Leclaire said. “It builds upon positive actions; there’s always a way to do positive things.”
The DFC program also has an important presence in schools. “We send prevention specialists into schools, primarily in Bullhead, Fox Creek and Laughlin Bennett,” said Leclaire. In 2022, WestCare hosted its “inaugural summer prevention Teen Tuesday,” said Leclaire. The weekly evening features a “safe, fun environment with a bit to eat and short educational sessions,” he said. Partnering with the Mohave County Health Department and other treatment providers, plans are under way to repeat the three-month program “starting in May,” he added.
“Part of prevention is outreach,” said Leclaire, so WestCare has a presence at Suicide Prevention and Awareness Walk, Walk Away From Drugs, National Night Out, the Boombox Parade, Cornfest, trunk-or-treats, the upcoming Bicycle Rodeo and others. “We support the LGBTQ community,” as well as veterans, the isolated and teens, of course. “We encourage people with any sort of behavioral need to contact us, walk in, call. We have several programs that can help,” he said. “If we don’t have it, we will find it for you.”
The survey can be accessed at westcare.click/AZdfcSurvey or by scanning the QR Code. Reach out to Leclaire at Morgan.Leclaire@WestCare.com or 928-296-4337 WestCare is located at 720 Hancock Road, Bullhead City.