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Group plans to train parents to prevent underage drinking

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Stacy Vogel
January 20, 2008
— Partners in Prevention is trying a whole new approach when it comes to reducing underage drinking in Edgerton.

“We can’t find anything in the country that is like it,” said Kate Baldwin, executive director of the group. “We want to teach a group of parents the effects of alcohol in teenagers and the long-term effects of early alcohol consumption.”


Those parents will then become peer mentors, going into homes and training other parents to keep their teens from drinking alcohol.


“There’s no support system for parents,” Baldwin said. “We’re trying to establish a support system for parents so they can say, ‘No,’ and know other parents say, ‘No.’”


The organization received $463,000 for the three-year program through the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. It will work with a professor at the medical school, Dr. Michael Fleming, to create the pilot program.


A 2005 Partners in Prevention study found Edgerton teens are more likely to use alcohol, get drunk, binge drink, and drink and drive than teens in the rest of Rock County.


Among Edgerton High School seniors, 63 percent reported drinking in the past month, and 53 percent reported getting drunk at least once in the last two weeks.


The survey results encouraged a group of residents to form the Edgerton Coalition for a Healthy Community. The group is focused on making youth feel more valued in the community so they don’t turn to alcohol and is planning a community dinner for Sunday, Feb. 4.


That group received a $75,000 mentoring grant from Partners in Prevention last year.


But while the coalition focuses on the community as a whole, the new program will focus exclusively on parents, Baldwin said.


Partners in Prevention hopes to have the parent trainers in place this fall so they can start the peer program. It also is working with Rock County Human Services and the Rock County Health Department, Baldwin said.


It will run the program over two school years, Baldwin said.


“If the program is successful, then it will be looked at as something to be used in (the rest of) the state,” she said.


PARENTS NEEDED

Partners in Prevention is looking for Edgerton parents to become trained for its peer mentoring program. To get involved, call (608) 758-1844.



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