By Ken Striplin, City Manager
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that by the time teenagers graduate high school, 45% will have tried marijuana at least once. While this rate has remained relatively steady for the past two decades, changing laws and an increased availability has made it more important than ever to have conversations with our children about the risks and dangers of drug use.
While discussions at home can bring the topic out into the open, continued education and messaging is needed to reinforce positive decision-making skills as our youth grow. The City of Santa Clarita has taken the initiative in this regard with the award-winning Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita Valley (DFY in SCV) program, which delivers curriculum support and both educational and social opportunities for Santa Clarita students in elementary, middle and high schools.
In early August, City staff, who manage the DFY in SCV program, participated in seventh-grade registration on campuses throughout the City and met with approximately 3,500 students. Staff passed out information about the program and registered students for their campus’ DFY in SCV club, which connects students with like-minded peers, and requires members to complete 10 hours of community service during the school year.
In addition to serving as a positive anti-drug social group, DFY in SCV clubs on school campuses also show members the importance of giving back to their community. In fact, not only do these community service projects benefit Santa Clarita, but they also help support students, families and organizations around the world.
DFY in SCV clubs will once again raise money to benefit the Thirst Project this school year. The Thirst Project is a non-profit organization committed to bringing safe drinking water to communities around the world and is focusing on building water wells in Africa.
While programs like DFY in SCV exist to help kids make positive choices and commit to a drug-free life, it is incumbent upon us as parents, neighbors and role models to continue the conversation and be aware of emerging trends so we can keep our children safe. This is why I want to personally invite you to City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. for the next Parent Resource Symposium.
The theme for this fall’s symposium is “Head in the Clouds: The Truth about Vaping.” The event will begin with a resource fair where you can connect with local organizations and get information that will be useful to you and your child. Following the resource fair, a panel of experts will share experiences and information on the latest drug trends, and answer questions from the audience.
Please use this time to have an open and honest conversation with your child about drug use and encourage them to join the DFY in SCV club on their campus. You can learn more about DFY in SCV and the upcoming Parent Resource Symposium by visiting dfyinscv.com.