Th!nk, Don’t Drink or Drug
This age-appropriate classroom program is made available to all Whidbey middle school students by request of their health education teachers. The focus is alcohol/other drug prevention and DUI. The instructor is JoAnn Hellmann, B.A., the director of IDIPIC and a long-time Whidbey Islander, who has worked with thousands of youth through IDIPIC in recent years. She is a retired Navy Chief trained in classroom instruction and leadership.
The program includes:
6th grade: a brief age-appropriate video Drinking It In, a power point presentation, walk-the-line with impairment goggles, Q & A as time allows, and wristbands.
Drinking It In: Mixing Alcohol Images and Kids. Alcohol images are everywhere… in the programs we watch, on the streets we travel, in the magazines we read. So much so, that adults can become inured to the message. But what do kids see? They’re exposed to all the same influences as adults… but may not have yet developed the ability to filter out what is bad for them from what is good. They are a clean slate, absorbing every message they see. And what do kids want to be? Older, sophisticated, cool, the center of attention… exactly what many alcohol images portray. The messages may be targeting adults, but it just might be kids who are “drinking it in.” This video provided by the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free thanks to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and many others.
7th Grade: Brief review of 6th grade program topics. Show teen-directed portion of This Place video: displays the reality of alcohol in our children’s lives and the impact of underage drinking. Endorsed by Tobacco and Other Drugs Section of American Public Health Association and Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free. Includes walk-the-line with impairment goggles, Q & A as time allows, and wristbands or Think Safety chocolate coins.
8th grade: Brief review of 7th grade program topics. Show Let It Be video: depicts the sad aftermath of celebrating graduation with alcohol. Created by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Includes discussion on indicators of impairment, walk-the-line with impairment goggles, Q & A as time allows, and wristbands or Think Safety chocolate coins.
The program is provided free-of-charge by IDIPIC thanks to many local Partners in Prevention. These include businesses, churches, organizations and individuals who believe “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that by working together we can have “safer kids, safer roads” where we live and work, which benefits us all.
Th!nk, Don’t Drink or Drug can be used by health education or science teachers any time of the year. Red Ribbon Week (October) and Alcohol Awareness Month (April) in particular. Ideally, the program is used each quarter so that all students will have the opportunity to experience this multi-faceted,well-received safety class that can supplement other school Healthy Youth Survey programs to reinforce the importance of non-alcohol and other drug use by youth.
What are teachers saying about Th!nk, Don’t Drink or Drug?
Mikki Boyer, North Whidbey Middle School, is the first health education teacher who has utilized IDIPIC’s services since the re-design of the program. Previously, it was called Th!nk, Don’t Drink and provided only the walk-the-line and handouts at lunchtime. Mikki’s words:
Dear JoAnn, I wanted to thank you for coming to North Whidbey and presenting IDIPIC’s anti-drug message. It was nice to have a community educational program supplement our district curriculum. The students enjoyed your video slideshow on various advertisements regarding drug abuse. Thank you for also allowing all students to be given opportunity to use the “alcohol goggles” to simulate what impaired vision and coordination would be like if they had consumed alcohol. I look forward to your continued connections to our school and I welcome you back into my Health classes here at NWMS each and every quarter. Again, I appreciate your flexibility and willingness to deliver this great anti-drug message to my students.
Terry Welch, Coupeville Middle School science teacher:
Th!nk, Don’t Drink or Drug is great addition to existing middle school curriculum or an add-on to brain chemistry curriculum which we have in 8th grade. Everything was age appropriate. Videos with kids talking about their drug issues always has an impact. JoAnn’s passion towards the subject is evident. I think kids got the message that drugs/alcohol is dangerous.
Erik Jokinen, Langley Middle School Health/PE teacher:
As part of our emphasis on substance abuse education at Langley Middle School, we have had the pleasure of inviting JoAnn Hellmann from IDIPIC to speak with 8th grade students about the dangers associated with alcohol use. JoAnn is passionate about what she teaches and uses real examples and contemporary issues to keep students attention all throughout her lessons.
The interactive approach with video clips, discussion, and actual wearing of impairment goggles works well with a middle school audience. I know that students come away from this presentation a little wiser and empathetic to the various ways alcohol can threaten the lives of young people today. We look forward to inviting JoAnn back next year to talk with students once again about this important issue.