By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department
The Garrett County Health Department (GCHD) recently held training for members of the Community Planning Groups that receive mini-grant funds to provide alcohol, tobacco, and other drug-free events in their areas. Participants included members from the Accident, Friendsville, Kitzmiller Crellin, and Oakland They came together for an evening of food, fun, and education on the importance of protecting our youth from the dangers of underage drinking.
“The training was inspirational!” said Glenda Lane, member of the Friendsville community planning group. “To hear firsthand of someone getting help and changing their life was encouraging.”
The first guest speaker was Susan Mills, an Alcohol & Drug Counselor at GCHD. Her services extend to Garrett County Public School’s secondary education students. She shared about the impact her services have on the students and explained the process to get students enrolled in the Maryland Student Assistance Program.
“It was so good to hear from Susan Mills and hear what is going on among our youth,” said Machelle Bender, GCHD outreach worker from the Accident area. “I was made more aware of the difficulty our young people have when a family member struggles with substance abuse. I’m thankful for Susan and the good work she does in our schools to help the young people of our community.”
The second presenter was Harold Dillsworth who talked about his long-term recovery from alcohol. He shared his personal testimony about his recovery journey.
“Working in Health Education and Outreach I meet a lot of men and women who are in recovery and each and every story is eye-opening,” said Heather Berg, GCHD outreach worker for the Kitzmiller area. “You see them as a person instead of an addiction. Harold Dillsworth’s talk at the Community Planning Group training opened my eyes to how alcohol affects the body and the mind and how addicting it can be.”
“His story showed me how easy it is to become addicted to something that an adult can purchase legally,” Berg added. “We need to realize that this is something that our young people may be doing in their free time. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves on what to watch for in our youth and to keep the alcohol out of their hands. Please, properly store, monitor, and secure your alcohol and your medications.”
If you are interested in getting connected to a community planning group in Garrett County call the Garrett County Health Department 301-334-7730.