Underage Drinking—Not Just a Minor Problem

By Katie Kust, Substance Abuse Prevention Intern |


Underage drinking is a big deal all across the country. Today, estimates from a National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate that there are currently 10.1 million underage drinkers in the United States. Alcohol is still the most commonly used drug among young people, but underage drinking is not just a minor problem. Many adults turn a blind eye to underage drinking, citing their own use as a teenager. But even back then, drinking underage was dangerous, and many adults were lucky their youthful drinking did not lead to addiction or death. Continue reading

Posted in Substance Abuse Prevention, Underage and Binge Drinking | Tagged | Leave a comment

Handling the Beast We All Face: Stress

Continue reading

Posted in Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

Mentoring Guides Youth from Stress to Joy

April photo credit Mike VanSickle Fayette County UnionBy Kathy Schwartzhoff, Mentoring Coordinator |

Looking at the picture above, the first emotion that comes to mind could be joyful! April Wilker (second from the left) is indeed that type of person—happy, energetic, and positive. And she is the first to say that these characteristics were greatly influenced by her mentor when she was growing up. You see, April is a former mentee in the Winneshiek County youth mentoring program, and she has quite a story. Continue reading

Posted in Prevention Newsletter, Youth Mentoring | Comments Off

How I Perceive and Respond to Stress

By David Runyon, Executive Director |

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. As Executive Director of Helping Services, I have experienced many periods of intense stress. These have included times of long hours with too many tasks, uncertain funding, personnel concerns, service delivery issues, and much more. That said, I can think of only a few events that left me feeling distressed. Mostly, I experience stress as an opportunity and challenge which leads to an energizing and positive experience. Among staff, these times have often led to amazing periods of creativity—a kind of stepping up to the plate and hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game! Continue reading

Posted in Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

Coping with Present Demands and Past Abuse—a Survivor’s Story

Altered Kris Krug Untitled 9.27.05 on Flickr

By Chrisann Zuerner and Viktoria Stockman |

Each day presents its own set of worries and concerns with which we must cope. While we all have means of dealing with and reducing levels of stress, individuals in relationships fraught with domestic violence must deal with huge, additional stressors. They live in constant fear of their abuser hitting them in front of the children, or worse, the children being harmed. They struggle to contain their partner’s violence, while attempting to maintain the image that they are in control of their lives and that nothing bad is going on at home. Or maybe it is not that they are struggling to prevent violence from happening, but rather trying to cope with their ex-partner and past abuser, balance parenting responsibilities, and deal with their past, present, and future. Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Abuse, Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

Navigating the Roads of Life—Helping Teens Learn to Manage Stress

Teen-article-imageBy Jen Stolka, Certified Prevention Specialist |

“My chest feels tight. My mind bounces from one thought to another. My palms are sweating, and I cannot seem to shake these feelings of being overwhelmed,” shared a local teen when asked what happens when she is stressed out. “Make good decisions.” “Do not fail that test on Friday.” “Do not be late for work.” “Pick up your little sister after school.” “Beat the Warriors on Friday.” “You are coming to my party on Saturday, right?” “Do you like my new outfit?” These are just a few phrases that teens hear on any given day. Our youth are pulled in so many directions, they often feel themselves coming, going, and never truly enjoying the moment. Continue reading

Posted in Prevention Newsletter, Substance Abuse Prevention | Comments Off

Adding a New Family Member


By Lori Barry, Family Educator |

Stress can come from many different sources—even from happy, exciting sources such as a new little member of the family.

Adjusting family routines after a baby’s birth can be stressful. A new baby involves many changes physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. Most families will experience normal ups and downs for the first few months. Each person has a different tolerance level. What is important is to know how to calm yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed because your emotional health affects your infant’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. Continue reading

Posted in Family Support, Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

When and How to Help a Stressed Victim of Domestic Violence

By Viktoria, Advocate |

You may have finished reading the story of M, a survivor of domestic violence struggling to deal with her stress. Your reaction is “I want to help!” However, you must be sensitive and aware of the best approach for helping and interacting with a survivor. The table below can give you some direction. Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Abuse, Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

Journaling and the Art of Stress Maintenance (Plus Writing Prompts)

20150302_102122By Sara Friedl-Putnam, Guest Author |

Ever feel like life has thrown just one too many curve balls your way? Ever try journaling as a way to cope? If not, why not take a chance and give it a shot?

Not so long ago I took that chance. Journaling, I quickly discovered, allows me to release stress by exploring the very roots of that stress and pouring them out on paper. And it’s inexpensive to boot—all you need is a pad of paper, a trusty pen, and a bit of “me time.” Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post, Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off

Accepting What I Can’t Control

By John Kelly, Board President |

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” —Reinhold Niebuhr

My high school wrestling coach, Bob Fassbinder, gave me this often-quoted verse as an amulet, which I wore on my warm-ups. For an 18-year-old kid, the lesson was simple: Work hard, take control of your destiny, but understand you will not always win. Continue reading

Posted in Prevention Newsletter | Comments Off