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Victim Witness to teach Lifeskills to middle schoolers
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In a world where people are busy, time is of the essence, and pressure is paramount, drugs and alcohol have become prominent in society to help people, especially teenagers, cope with life’s everyday struggles. After all, coming home after a long day at work, fighting traffic, and trying to decide what to cook for dinner and attempting to keep up the housework is quite stressful even for an adult.

Although teens do not have adult responsibilities, they have their own problems and struggles they strive to deal with daily. Teens are often faced with being in the middle of a divorce, family quarrels, peer pressure, dealing with puberty and trying to cope with life’s everyday encounters.

Teenagers are constantly looking for ways to increase their self-esteem, identify ways to fit in with their peers, ways to seek independence, and a way of life that is comfortable and safe. People like to be comfortable in their environment, so they try to surround themselves with others who have the same or common interest and goals. 

Teenagers who are taught the basic Lifeskills are more likely to be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, free from drugs, and violence.  

Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program, Inc. has taken the first step toward drug and violence prevention by sponsoring the Lifeskills program in the middle schools. The program addresses all of the issues described above.

In addition, the program teaches the teens the knowledge and skills necessary to help them increase their self-esteem, increase their ability to make decisions and solve problems, communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, manage anxiety, make new friends, stand up for their rights, say "no" to unfair requests, resist advertising pressures, and resist pressure to use drugs.       

People who use drugs often get involved in criminal activity to support their habit. This leads to greater incarceration rates, which are intended to incapacitate criminals so they can commit no further crimes for a period of time and to deter those who might contemplate criminal activity. Intervention by the parents is imperative.

It is important to note that although detention centers and jails to lock up children from using drugs continue to be built, prevention is the key to a promising drug free non-violent society.

Many children come from dysfunctional homes where the parents don’t assume the role of carrying out parental responsibilities.

Consequently, it is important for people in the community, social workers, teachers and neighbors to lookout for the children in the community and to encourage them to continue going to school, stay off of drugs, and give them hope. When a person is able to overcome such events there is somebody that made a difference. Someone believed in that person and gave them hope that they too could have a good life by making the right choices.

It is necessary to educate teens about healthier alternatives and more effective coping skills so drugs and violence aren’t an option to having a successful and rewarding life.

It is impossible to prepare children for all of the challenges ahead by providing our children with resources and education. The Lifeskills program will encourage them to look for different alternatives and resolutions instead of using alcohol, drugs or violence.

It is the goal of Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program to continue build partnerships within the community in an effort to provide alternative activities and implement strategies in an attempt to increase awareness of resources to prevent drug abuse and violence.

It is the 20th year anniversary for Effingham County Victim Witness and ECVW encourages businesses, parents and leaders in the community to get involved and help us make a difference for the youth of Effingham.

For information on how to become involved, contact Victim Services Coordinator Dawn Loetscher at 754-7460 or via email at dloetscherevwap.