Family Workshop on “Saying No” Assisted by Natural Helpers
Preventing substance abuse starts early. In “The Saying No” workshop, 9-14 year olds and their parents came together for an evening of learning and practicing refusal skills, on October 21. High School students from Mount Si’s Natural Helpers Club and the Snoqualmie Police Department’s Explorers Club assisted with the training, to help reinforce how important it is to learn these skills at a young age.
“This class was fun!” said one 9-year-old student – which was a reaction his parents may not have anticipated when they first suggested taking an evening class together to learn “something important.” They were among 15 families who participated in The Saying No workshop. The evening included an ice breaker activity, some brainstorming, watching video segments and a TV ad, role-playing situations to try on their new skills, and hearing directly from older teens.
“We know that preventing substance abuse needs to start early. We also know that when families stay connected, their children are less likely to get involved in risky behaviors later on,” explained Phoebe Terhaar, Prevention Coordinator. “Learning and practicing these skills together is not only fun, it is prevention in action. Family bonds get strengthened, while parents get coaching tips for how to help their children build on these skills for years to come.”
Saying “no” is not easy at an early age, especially if it means saying no to friends. By including high school students from Natural Helpers and the Explorers Club in the training, the young students heard these important messages from student role models – in addition to their parents.
“Peer-to-peer activities have been proven to be quite powerful. Peer leaders gain valuable personal growth and communication skills, and help correct misperceptions about high school. At the same time, youth receive valuable lessons from an audience they deem credible and closer to them in experience,” added Terhaar.
Another workshop is being planned in early December. Watch for details to come in school E-News.
Special thanks to the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network, PTSA Council, City of Snoqualmie and the Dupar Foundation for helping fund this free training for Snoqualmie Valley families.