A Message From Our New President, Chris Palmieri

Achievement Motivation, Resistance Skills, Adult Relationships, Planning and Decision Making, Cultural Competence, Reading for Pleasure, Service to Others, Positive View of Personal Future, and Responsibility. I hope these all sound familiar as they are our assets of the month for this year. Once again, STEPS will continue to strengthen and grow our developmental assets. Research has proven that the more assets a young person has, the more likely they are to be successful and less likely to get involved in risky behavior. We are very fortunate to live in a community that cares so much about our children. Our Board is extremely successful because of the efforts of all aspects of our community. I am thrilled to be a part of this group and feel it complements my role as the assistant principal of DePaolo Middle School as well as a member of the Southington Town Council.

In addition to asset development we are also a prevention coalition. This year we will focus more on the prevention aspect creating an awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The specific areas include underage drinking, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drug prevention. We will have a targeted focus with initiatives in each of these areas throughout the year.

I am so excited to be 窶徭tepping窶 into the role as president this year, however it is a little intimidating because I have some big shoes to fill. Thank you John Myers, Sue Saucier, Jim Garstang, and Kristen Guida. I am proud to have been a member of the STEPS board since its inception. I am amazed to think back to a time when we had only a small group of educators offering professional input on how to incorporate assets into the school day to now having active representation in all of our schools.

On the community level, our youth council continues to impress me. Although they began with just two students involved, we now have a committee of over thirty students. Additionally, six of these students also represent the youth sector on our advisory board. These students are actively involved in changing social norms and the culture in our community. They have already suggested and received approval for numerous ordinances including limiting the placement of tobacco delivery products in gas stations and convenience stores and requiring proper signage at all alcohol serving facilities in Southington.

This year we will be collecting data from students once again to assess our progress. The survey will be administered this winter and we hope to be able to share successful results with the community in the spring.

As we all know, it truly takes a village to raise a child. With this in mind, I encourage participation from all members of the community in making prevention a priority through education, limiting access to drugs and alcohol, and policy change. I know when we all work together our community is the best in the country!

I look forward to a phenomenal year!