North Stonington Public Schools

Wheeler Community Forum

The purpose of this forum is to raise awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic that our world and our own corner of Southeastern Connecticut is currently facing. We are inviting Wheeler parents, community members, local organizations and affiliations that would like more information on community resources and how to help fight this battle that continues to creep into our area. Please keep in mind this is a program for adults only.  We will be hosting a student forum on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 during the school day for our Wheeler 8th-12th graders so we ask that children not attend the evening portion of our program.

During this forum, members of our administration and school counseling office will present the results from our recent SERAC (Southeastern Regional Action Council) survey of our students in regard to drug and alcohol use, and mental health awareness.  SERAC is a regional, community-based, non-profit organization that is developing and carrying out strategies to reduce and prevent addiction, and to support the recovery of individuals affected by addiction. Their mission is to raise awareness, provide education, prevention and advocacy to youth, families and our community in order to reduce the impact of addiction and related risky behaviors. The purpose of our student survey was to garner information about our own students so that we can specifically support their needs in whatever way possible at Wheeler. Students in grades 7-11 were administered the SERAC survey last Spring. We will survey our students again in 2019 as we typically do so every three years.

The next segment of the panel will be hosted by Community Speaks Out, a local group that is organized and operated to walk families through the process of getting addicted family members into treatment through financial and logistical assistance.  Another main objective of Community Speaks Out is to foster community support, awareness, and education on addiction and prevention throughout Southeastern Connecticut.  Community Speaks Out was founded by four New London County residents in response to a lack of a support system in the community for families facing opioid/heroin addiction. Their experiences with addiction are first hand and they promise to provide an insightful perspective on the harsh reality of addiction.

Throughout the evening presentation, there will be booths set up outside of the media center with local resources available that participants can visit all throughout the panel discussions. These resources include, but are not limited to Narcan training, information on programs and resources for addicts and other resources to support families dealing with this crisis.  The main objective of this forum is to raise awareness and offer whatever community support we can provide to our students, families and community members.

We are hoping that you can take a few hours out of your busy schedules to come and participate in our forum so we can continue to raise awareness together as a school and local community. We truly believe that if we work together, we can assist all of our neighbors who may be suffering with addiction in some capacity.

In an effort to plan this event, we are asking that you specifically RSVP to attend this forum. The deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, May 10th.  You may RSVP by emailing the Wheeler Community Forum Committee at

wcf@northstonington.k12.ct.us

We appreciate your consideration in attending.

Thank you for your partnership,

Kristen St. Germain, Principal

Ryan Chaney, Associate Principal

Liz Cantelli, Teacher, Special Education

Nancy Liner, School Counselor

Christine Rogers, School Counselor

Carley Higginbotham, School Psychologist

Linda Costanza, Social Worker

Lisa Mazella, Wheeler Parent

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