Car Rider Line

Episode 410: Meet the Bay Area Alliance

Episode Summary

Learn more about the Bay Area Alliance for Youth & Families and how the organization supports CCISD.

Episode Notes

The Bay Area Alliance Clear Creek is a community coalition that has been in existence since 2003 serving the Clear Creek and broader Bay Area Community. The Alliance serves, supports & inspires students and families to create a healthier community for all. 

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Episode Transcription

Hello and thank you for tuning in to Car Rider Line, this is CCISD's education podcast. We meet every other week to talk about some awesome topics having to do with education and Clear Creek ISD. I'm Sydney Hunt, senior communications specialist.

And today I am joined by Miss Amanda McLauchlin, who is the coalition manager for the Bay Area Alliance for Youth and Families. Thank you for being here today.

Thanks for having me. And we're going to go over a short overview of the alliance and how these staff members support our schools and our students. And so we're going to talk through a little bit about that today.

First off, can you go through the mission of the alliance and who you serve?

Well, the alliance mission is the alliance supports and inspires students and families to build a healthier community for all. And so we do that in a myriad of ways, but we really do serve all of Clear Creek ISD students and families.

Awesome. And what are some of the alliance's current initiatives and the objectives?

Well, we have a wide variety of projects, one of which is what we call Project. And it just in general is about reducing the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. So that includes our medication take back.

That's coming up on October 23. We have actually collected over 27,500 pounds of medications since 2010 and these twice yearly events. But it also includes education. We have permanent drop boxes in several places in our community, and then also we do disposal pouches.

So it's an easy way to get rid of those expired old medications that nobody's using anymore in a safe manner. So we're getting it out of the hands of kids, but we're also keeping it out of our water stream.

So and that's open to the public. Yes.

And let's talk through some of our student initiatives inside our schools, how you guys do amazing things for Clear View High School, which is the school of choice, if you're unfamiliar with it. Can you talk through some of the support you offer them?

Well, we do a lot of things. In fact, right now we're preparing for Red Ribbon Week, Clear View being a school of choice, a smaller school. They don't have a football team. They don't have spirit weeks and things like that.

Red ribbon week is a time to sort of reflect on choices. And this year, we are actually doing an installation in the cafeteria that will focus on sort of these rising stars that went out too soon. And so it'll kind of showcase people from Michael Jackson to Amy Winehouse or, you know, other people that will be pertinent to young people that really made some poor choices along the way and they ultimately paid with their life. But on a positive note and on Friday, we'll talk a lot about, you know, how celebrate the positive choices our kids are making.

And it's always a week that our students and our staff look forward to, and we're kind of looking forward to it. It's not the traditional wrap your red ribbons around everything. It definitely has a purpose and a mission, but that's only one way.

Another way that we support clear view is through a program called SALSA. It stands for Student Adult Leadership Service Alliance, and it is basically a partnership with students from the campus and community adults. And they're given equal voice, which is kind of the unique part about it.

And then they tackle issues that are important to them in their community and on their campus. And so due to Covid. Last year was kind of a wash. But we're in the application process now, so that we can get that that project up and going.

It's such a great project.

I love it. And then what came out of it was something we call Circle of Care. And so it's the idea that we take a student and we bring in three or more community adults and we talk about the future.

We talk about everything from their goals, both career goals, personal goals. We talk about employment. We talk about finances. We talk about housing and transportation. We talk about how students would go about making a doctor's appointment or refilling a prescription.

And this project has been really important, I think, because some of our kids just don't seem to have a good handle on what's next. We we serve an incredible world class school district. Right. So our kids are prepared academically for what's next.

But what about those other pieces? And so that's been able to be. A really important initiative, and we're super excited because Mr. Drake at Clear Lake High School has access to come, and we are doing a pilot project with circle care this year at Clear Lake High School.

That's awesome. And so and so you're reaching even more kids. Absolutely. And these kids may not have these conversations, have the ability have these conversations at home or in the community. And so just bringing that those resources to them.

And I know one student I interviewed a couple years ago in this awesome program, she was so shy. Her name is escaping me. But she was so shy and she was great academically. But she didn't have those interpersonal skills to really connect with other people. And she said that through the salsa program, she got to present in front of a whole meeting of doctors. And that's where her career kind of went towards, where she saw herself going into the medical field possible.

And she is actually in her senior year at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi in the nursing program. And yeah, very special. And it's been great because we still stay in touch with her and with many of our students.

In fact, we right now have an intern with us, and she's in her second year, although this year she's getting a little bit of a paycheck. But she graduated from our salsa program at Clearview and 2016 went away, got her bachelor's degree at University of North Texas and is trying to figure out what it is she wants to do next. And so she's been working with the alliance that she's on campus at Clearview today, working with a group of students. So it's great to see that kind of full circle. Right?

That's awesome.

And so community partners, as you mentioned, play a huge, huge role in your initiatives. Can you guys talk through that and if you're looking for more? Sure.

Well, we started out in 2003 as what they call a community coalition. We were a community coalition focused on substance abuse prevention. It's kind of changed a little bit because now we have multiple coalitions and we also have some prevention programs that are targeted specific to substance abuse prevention and behavioral health promotion.

And so the community coalition is only as good as its partners. Right. So we have partnerships from law enforcement, definitely schools, faith based community businesses. We even have students who participate in our coalition meetings. So, you know, I think it is takes that kind of whole village approach to serving the kids in our programs.

And we're always looking for, you know, new partners who want to come alongside of us. We are always we have application out for actually disserve and circle of care. We'll also have an application pretty quickly if you want to participate in the program, because we're always looking for adults for that.

But there are a myriad of ways to plug in the alliance and and really see some changes. Right. Yeah.

And another one of your initiatives is to educate parents and community members on current trends that we're seeing in our communities. And I know that coming up, where we are going to host a few parent meetings that we've hosted kind of in the past. I know we did a vaping town hall with you guys and just opened our eyes to so many things going on within our schools and at home.

So can you talk through those initiatives and kind of what you offer through that?

Well, you know, even what we presented in that town hall, like probably two years ago, so much has changed. So trying to keep up with sort of the regulatory legislative changes to e-cigarettes or any number of topics like that, but also keeping up with the trends.

And so we do we have one that talks about smoke shops and what you might find there. We have one that's just focused on vaping. We have another one that's just drug trends.

So it's all the things that we are seeing in our community, in the greater Houston community to that our kids can fall prey to. But we do also. On the flipside, we talk about coping skills. And we talk about how parents can start conversations with their their kids and how they can, you know, address instead of turning to alcohol or drugs or even e-cigarettes. What other coping skills might they have and how do we build those in our kids? The research shows that bonding to one school, bonding to one's community, those things are what we call protective factors.

And the more of those kinds of things we can build in our kids, the more successful they are or they're going to be at navigating sort of the challenges of life.

Awesome work. How are these initiatives funded? We get that question a lot. We actually primarily are funded through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. So they actually receive their money from the seventh SBUs Mental Health Services Administration. So we have all of these acronyms, but that is our primary funding.

They do require match. So there is a percentage of the money they give us that we're required to provide a match. And so we do do some fundraising. We're best known for Dancing with the Stars. Bay Area. It's an opportunity where we pair local celebrities to compete for the Mirrorball trophy.

We just had that in August and raised just over forty eight thousand dollars. So that will cover our match. Plus some other things that grants don't cover. Right. And so, yeah, we're super excited. We're always looking for great opportunities and trying to figure out what best pear's with our skills and also the needs of students in our community.

Absolutely. And you have smaller fundraisers throughout as well.

I know there's painting with the alliance.

So painting with the alliance, oddly enough, is not a fundraiser. It is what we call a positive alternative. And so one of the grant requirements is that we provide opportunities for kids, but also adults to be involved in something that doesn't require drugs and alcohol.

And so, you know, you can go to some of those larger places, businesses, and you pay a fee and you can bring your own wine. Ours just is without the alcohol. Right in the ten dollars just kind of covers the cost of the supplies and stuff.

But it's been a super popular event. In fact, I'm just going to give a plug. We have one coming up on the 14th. So I think that one will be at the Webster Civic Center. But for ten dollars, you can paint this really cool door hanger.

We do pumpkins and ornaments and circles and seasonal. Yeah. You know, people free to be creative. And it just shows you right like that. This is something that makes me it reduces my stress and makes me feel that it's fun to do it with girlfriends or, you know, other people so we can laugh together. But we didn't have to have drugs or alcohol do it.

How long have you been with the alliance?

I've been here for 11 years now, 11 years. This week, actually, on the 5th.

And so what's been some of the most impactful and it could be anything from student stories or events that kind of highlight your career?

You know, I think it's student stories. I think it is the impact of having those community adults investing in the lives of these students. And the long term effect of the students that we see who keep coming back to tell their stories are to celebrate their accomplishments.

Right before Covid, we had one of our former students come and speak to the group of salsa youth and adults. And he had graduated from our program in 2015. And after some conversations with the late Chris Reed had really determined that he wanted to be a paramedic and EMT.

And he came back. He had finished his EMT and paramedic certification. He's now a paramedic and Friendswood. And so it's really amazing to see that that comes from conversations that they may not have ordinarily had with these adults that just just care. Right. Yeah.

Love it. We you all do great work. If there's people who are wanting to get involved, where should they go to get some more information?

Well, we have a website and it's the And so it has information about all of our upcoming events, our projects, initiatives. There's a membership link if you want to join one of our coalitions or salsa.

And we have a myriad of ways for people to plug in, so.

Awesome. Is there anything we didn't cover?

Gosh, I don't think so. I will I will just plug again the medication take back. It's on October twenty third. We will be at Harris County Precinct eight counsel's office off of Diana. We will be at League City PD, off of Walker and then also at Hopeless in church in a partnership with Friendswood PD from tended to that day. And there are no no real questions asked, just dragged through, dropped off. It's an easy, quick way to just ensure that your kids aren't tempted by something that can be done in a safe way to do that. Yes. So we'll post that information on our social media channels and our website and also those information sessions we kind of plugged. Those will be private parent meetings where you can get more information.

On current trends and some more information about the alliance, but thank you for being here with us today. It's always a joy to see you. But that's it for this episode of Car Rider Line. We'll be back in two weeks with a technology podcast, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for car rider line and you'll be notified whenever we publish a new episode. So until then, thank you and we'll see you next time.