April 2016 ASAC Action Newsletter

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The Big Question – what will ASAC’s logo be?

Question MarkAt the end of this month ASAC will be unveiling our new logo. In reality, ASAC has never had a logo – we just used our name, asac, in lower case letters. Our new logo was developed by Benson and Hepker Design based on input by a group of board members and staff. We look forward to sharing our new logo with the community but first we will present it to our staff, retirees and board members at the Agency’s annual dinner on Friday, April 29.  Stayed tuned…

Save the Date: May 7th

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are significant childhood traumas that can affect brain development.  Adverse childhood experiences have been linked with increased rates of mental health problems, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and other health risk behaviors in adult life.  ACEs can affect a child’s learning ability and social skills, which can result in long term health issues.  According to a study by Dr. Robert Anda, CDC and Dr. Vincent Felitti, Kaiser Permanente, the ACEs can be identified with some of the following health issues:

ArtOfAces3Developmental impairment in children
Chronic depression
Attempted suicide
Alcohol use
Illicit drug use
Risky sexual behaviors
Liver disease
Heart disease
Victim of domestic violence
Impaired worker performance
Health-related quality of life
Early mortality

There is a need to examine the mental health impact of adverse childhood experiences across diverse cultures.  Last year, a committee of community members from Linn and Benton Counties was formed to address ACEs problems.  Last April, the inaugural Art of ACEs event was held and it gave youth an opportunity to share their feelings of Adverse Childhood Experiences such as homelessness, substance abuse, violence, divorce, separation, or neglect in the home through using art.  Examples of art that were on display included paintings, drawings, poetry, photography, dance and song.

The second annual Art of ACEs event will be held on May 7th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Public Library.  Please join us to learn more about ACEs and see the amazing art created by local youth.

Join us for a Magical Time…

On Saturday, April 16th from 4:00pm to 5:30pm the I.B.M. #327 Mombo Ring will be presenting a magic show at the Cedar Valley Bible Church, 3636 Cottage Grove SE, in Cedar Rapids.

Tickets are $5 for an individual and $10 for a family. All proceeds will benefit ASAC’s Heart of Iowa Mother and Child Recovery Center. Tickets are available at any ASAC office or you can purchase your tickets at the door. Doors open at 3:30pm.

Through your attendance you will be helping moms and families become healthy and drug free. The following is a testimonial from a former Heart of Iowa client:

My name is Martina and I’m an addict in recovery for 6 years, as of February 14th 2016!

My journey to recovery started February 15th, 2010 at ASAC’s Heart of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My drug of choice was I-V Methamphetamine; I was an active daily user for 7 years of my early growing-up years.              

I’m also a survivor of sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuse. I come from a family where both of my parents were active users of alcohol and drugs of all sorts. Since birth, I grew up in this horrible lifestyle. It was all I knew on how to cope on a daily basis. At the time of intake to the Heart of Iowa, I was a mother of 4 boys, but only had custody of one, my 4-month-old, who joined me on admission on February 28th of 2010. 

Today, six years later, I have 5 boys; 4 who live with me. I have met my soul-mate and have been with Bart for 6 years this coming June. I’m an Independent Contractor for 5 years in August at the Linn County Parent Partner Program. We attend Cedar Valley Bible Church with my family and my boys attend Cedar Valley Christian School. Today, I’m going back to finish high school and have 3 credits left before I am a high school graduate through Kirkwood. After I graduate my plan is to apply for a Patient Support position through The Heart of Iowa and will be going back to school to obtain my Drug/Alcohol Counselor Certificate. 

In my journey through Heart of Iowa’s recovery program for mothers and children, I learned how my family’s addiction issues affected my life and why I went on the wrong path in my life. I also learned I was co-dependent on men that lived in the same lifestyle. My counselor at the time worked on emotional recognition and taught me that I didn’t have to live this way anymore. I was also taught how to re-parent my boys while sober! 

If it weren’t for the fantastic programs at Heart of Iowa I would be dead today! Instead of living my life as an addict, I live my life in recovery! Thank you Heart of Iowa for helping me save my own life and teaching me how to be an awesome mother, person and citizen in my community today! Thank you! Thank you!

Upcoming ASAC Training: Stages of Change and Readiness

The Stages of Change and Readiness is a 3-hour training that will be held on Friday, May 13th, from 1:30pm – 4:45pm, at ASAC’s Cedar Rapids Prevention Building; 3536 18th Ave SW.

ASAC_Training_Rainbow_DaysThe training facilitator is Leslie Mussmann. Leslie is a Certified Prevention Specialist who has been working in the substance abuse prevention field for ASAC since 2001. She is currently the Director of Prevention Services for Clinton and Jackson Counties. Leslie has provided substance related education, community support with coalitions and policy work for over 15 years.

The objectives of the training include (1) Identifying individual stages of change, (2) Identifying stages of community readiness, and (3) Understanding appropriate strategies for various levels of readiness. The training was created for substance abuse treatment counselors and prevention specialists, social workers and therapists.

The Iowa Board of Certification has approved this training for 3 hours of substance abuse CEUs. Cost is $30 per person; $15 for current ASAC staff and interns. Please visit ASAC’s website to register. Class size is restricted to 30 participants. Please register by May 1 and direct any questions to Kathy Corbett at 319-390-1884 or kcorbett@asac.us.

Live Healthy Iowa Challenge

The 10 week Live Healthy Challenge ended on April 1. Our ASAC teams participated in the activity challenge but some staff also decided to take the opportunity to also lose weight. Those with the most weight loss and activity minutes received $5 Subway Gift Cards.

Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week ChallengeThe top three Weight Loss winners were Pat Stammeyer, Kim Molitor and Ron Keesey and the top ten winners for Activity Minutes were Pat Stammeyer, Melissa Walker, Laurel Merrick, Kim Molitor, Maribeth Bousman, Shirley Schneider, Kathy Corbett, Candace Seitz, Sara Felderman, and Ron Keesey.

As an additional incentive, there was a drawing for a Jawbone among all Linn/Benton and Jones participants and Jackson/Clinton participants who submitted their activity results at least three times a week. The winners of the Jawbones were Pat Stammeyer and Sara Felderman.

Those who participated in the Challenge are all winners for taking steps to be healthier!

Alcohol Awareness Month


April is Alcohol Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.”

Parents play an important role in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol and other drugs can have on their lives.  Kids really do care about what their parents think.  The numbers of kids who “believe their parents think it is wrong for them to drink” has gone up steadily over recent years, and at the same time the numbers of kids drinking have gone down. This is great news. Research has shown that children who have conversations with their parents and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use.

Parents may wonder what they should say about underage drinking and when they should say it.  It is never too early to start talking to kids about these issues in an age appropriate way.  Parents can encourage healthy and responsible attitudes early.  Parents know their child’s maturity and their family situation best.  Open communication includes showing children that what they have to say is valued. It’s vital to take advantage of teachable moments when these issues come up on TV or on the radio.  Parents can clearly state that they do not want their children drinking alcohol or using drugs and that they trust them not to.  It’s important to talk about possible consequences of alcohol and drug use, legal and medical, and what will happen if family rules are broken. If there is a family history of addiction to alcohol, parents should talk about the genetic risks just as they would any other chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.  Encouragement to develop positive interests and supportive friendships are great ways to prevent underage drinking as well.

It’s important that parents also have the community supporting them and their children by working together to prevent underage drinking together.  To learn more about what parents and others in the community can do, visit www.SAMSHA.gov/underage-drinking .

ASAC’s prevention is busy this time of year supporting Town Hall Meetings on Underage Drinking and initiatives around proms, graduations and upcoming community events.  Check out ASAC’s website or Facebook page for upcoming events in your area!

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