We are excited to update you on some of the wonderful things that have been happening at Positive Directions over the past several months!
In January, we officially kicked off the new year with an Open House and Ribbon Cutting ceremony at our new office space! Numerous local dignitaries and community members were able to connect and hear firsthand what the Positive Directions team has been doing both in-house with its growing clinical team, as well as on the prevention front throughout Fairfield County.
Our clinical team continues to grow and expand its services resulting in a significant increase in the number of adolescents and families being served. In keeping with our mission, the number of our clients who are recipients of Medicaid or receive reduced-fee services has nearly doubled, indicating that the need is greater than ever to be able to provide affordable access to these critical services. Our clinicians have been actively engaged with community partners throughout the area to conduct educational workshops on topics related to substance abuse and problem gambling. And on the other end of our treatment spectrum, Positive Directions now hosts a monthly Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group.
Positive Directions has been an active partner in Connecticut’s targeted response to prevent opioid misuse across the lifespan. This spring, we distributed nearly 1,000 prescription deactivation kits throughout mid-Fairfield County to decrease access to opiates and other unneeded prescription drugs. We also worked with local prescribers on their use of the Connecticut Prescription Monitoring Program.
Positive Directions has recently launched Hidden in Plain Sight, an interactive workshop for parents and other caring adults on warning signs of teen substance use. Participants browse a mock bedroom of possible items teens may be hiding, followed by a presentation on the products, warning signs, and how to bring up these important issues and concerns with youth. In addition to increasing adult awareness, HIPS arms adults with the tools they need to have these serious, often difficult conversations. We have launched this program in Westport and Norwalk and look forward to reaching more communities in the months to come!
In partnership with Fairfield CARES and Fairfield CARES Youth Committee, Positive Directions created a Fairfield-specific Social Norms campaign, #LifeNotWasted, designed to prevent underage drinking by raising awareness of associated risks, promoting healthy choices and strengthening well-being and resilience. This campaign will run through the next year and is currently being incorporated within the Fairfield middle and high school health curriculum.
Positive Directions’ work with the Norwalk Community Prevention Task Force continues to gain momentum. We have partnered with Norwalk ACTS and Norwalk Community College (NCC) in their efforts to conduct student surveys. We also have provided NCC with specific assistance in opioid prevention. This spring, the Task Force has focused on planning for National Prevention Week, the week of May 14, which includes a full week’s worth of workshops and activities aimed at raising awareness of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health and wellness for school personnel, the business community, families, and the at-large Norwalk community.
As you can tell, we have been busy making a difference across our local communities! We need your help to continue to expand access to critical counseling services and effectively serve our communities with our risky behavior prevention work. We are so grateful for your past support and hope we can count on you again this spring.
You may make your donation on our secure website at: positivedirections.org/donate or alternatively, send it via mail t0 our address listed below. Thanks again!
Lynn Abramson Jennifer Hrbek, LCSW
Board President Executive Director