Lanham honored for work fighting youth substance abuse
Lauren Lanham, who is chairman of the Fairfield Prevention Council's Adults and Children Together (A.C.T.) program, recently was honored for her contributions to supporting the health and well-being of local youths.
Last month, the Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP), based in Bridgeport, presented Lanham with a plaque of recognition during its annual meeting, which took place at the University of Bridgeport's Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center.
Established in 1985, RYASAP (http://www.ryasap.org) works to ensure the safe and healthy development of youth, young adults and families. The organization is an urban/suburban youth and community development coalition serving the Greater Bridgeport region that includes Bridgeport, Easton/Redding, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.
"I am honored to be recognized for my work with RYASAP," Lanham said. "I have a lot of respect for this group. The people involved are kind and knowledgeable and I have learned a lot from them. This group strives to assist youths who are in trouble. Working with them is rewarding and it is a pleasure."
Lanham was one of 13 members honored during RYASAP's "Above & Beyond" awards ceremony.
"I nominated Lauren Lanham because she goes above and beyond in her work with A.C.T., Fairfield's Local Prevention Council," said Laster. "As the A.C.T. chairman, she works efficiently with the members, listening to their thoughts and ideas. Lauren completes each task on time, attending to every detail. Her big smile and easygoing manner make her a joy to be with, whether doing the business of A.C.T. or representing Fairfield and A.C.T. at regional meetings at RYASAP."
Lanham has been employed by the Fairfield first selectman's office for about two-and-a-half years. In her work, she is involved with the Fairfield Cares Task Force on Alcohol and Health, which brings together a wide variety of citizens to address the problem of alcohol and drug abuse.
In January, the task force organized a presentation by U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano, who spoke to a group of several hundred parents. Califano is the founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York and has written a book, titled How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents.
Lanham also works on Fairfield's home energy audit program and she sits on the advisory committee to establish a bicycle/pedestrian safety plan for the town of Fairfield.
Her volunteer work includes involvement in the PTA programs where her children attend school as well as the League of Women Voters of Fairfield and the Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm. She also has been a yoga teacher for the past 15 years.
RYASAP's mission is to engage and educate middle, high school and college students on issues of concern in their communities such as drug abuse, crime, violence, gangs, blight, poverty, gambling and abusive relationships.
In 2009, RYASAP worked with more than 5,000 members of the Greater Bridgeport region and more than 20,000 members of the statewide community through 22 local and statewide programs, reports Robert Francis, executive director of the organization.
"What makes this prevention program so effective is the fact that students are educating their peers on the dangers of teen dating violence and promoting healthy relationships," said Francis. "This program is a perfect example of how RYASAP's work is constantly evolving to meet the challenges facing our youth and their families."