Fairfield Cares group’s fresh start effort targets schools
FAIRFIELD — A new year means a fresh start for the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition.
The coalition’s goal is to prevent and reduce drinking and substance abuse.
“How do you solve a problem? You look on the internet and there’s a whole industry on how to resolve problems,” MacNamara said. But solving a problem like substance abuse doesn’t always have a a high success rate, MacNamara said. “Why not put our resources into preventing the problem to begin with?” he asked.
That, MacNamara explained, is where the coalition comes into play. “I think Fairfield Cares is a no-brainer,” he said. “We know Fairfield cares — all we’re saying is Fairfield is going to care together.”
The coalition first began as the Fairfield Cares Task Force in 2009 in response to survey results from the Regional Youth/Adult Substance Abuse Prevention Project that showed an increase in alcohol consumption among the town’s teens.
“We know that 83 percent of our parents are setting clear rules,” said state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, who previously served as coalition co-chairwoman. “We know that the drinking and driving numbers have gone down.”
A new series of five-minute videos that look to improve communication will be shot starting at the end of this month. The first will feature Detective Beth Irizarry, who is part of the Police Department’s Youth Bureau. The videos will be available at the new website, fairfieldcaresct.org, and will also be available to the town’s middle and high schools.
The coalition’s programs include an annual freshman forum at the high schools, a parent survey, a town hall meeting on the negative impact of marijuana and alcohol on developing brains and athletic performance, a “Life after High School” program, and high school programs on stress and suicide prevention.
“We can, and must, do better,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said. “We all have a stake in this.”