As we wrap up the year 2020 we have so much to be proud of. It was a year full of the unexpected and yet another year where you all rose to the occasion and provided support, programming, and encouragement to the youth leaders across Illinois during a time when they needed it most. Below you will find OS, Inc. updates, upcoming trainings and a wrap-up provided by the OS Board Youth Advocates.

We are excited to continue supporting unique and innovative Snowball programming during the 2021 calendar year! Contact Riley Blythe with any specific Chapter programming questions.

Our office will be closed from December 24 - January 4.
FOCUS! Youth Prevention Gambling Program
We are very excited to announce a new youth prevention program right out of the IABH office, Focus! Gambling Prevention. This is a statewide program that has been designed to bring awareness to gambling prevention amongst youth. It is modeled after the PhotoVoice Project.

This approach to community change-making places youth, particularly those who are motivated to see positive change within their community, at the center of community change. Photovoice encourages youth to document how they are directly impacted by issues and conditions in their community. This method will allow youth to share their thoughts and opinions with others and speak to decision makers about what they think needs to change about their community.

If your Snowball is interested in incorporating Focus! into your action plan, email Ashley Webb or join one of our training sessions in February. This program is completely FREE and will provide you with one-on-one coaching through the implementation.

Follow @focusgamblingprevention on Instagram to learn more about youth gambling!
OS, Inc. Trainings
Thank You!
We had the pleasure of spending Fall 2020 with many Snowball youth & adults, CGTI volunteer staff, and prevention specialist while we hosted our virtual trainings. A big thank you to our speakers and to our attendees for joining the training with energy, excitement, and an open mind to learn more about themselves as a leader. To access recorded trainings, contact Riley Blythe.
ATOD Prevention Campaigns
Be Kind to Your Mind
2021 OS, Inc. Trainings
We are gearing up for an engaging, and packed Spring 2021 Training Calendar. Please keep your eyes out for a separate release of the topics, dates and speakers next week!
CGTI and OS Virtual Mid-Year
Mid-Year applications are open for middle school and high school participants, mentors, and alumni! Our event will be held on a virtual platform. We're sad that we still can't be together in person, but we're more confident than ever that our programs and participants are making an impact every single day. The safety and health of our participants remain a top priority and we look forward to being again in person soon.

Our theme this year is "Because you can't find this anywhere else". It's part of a quote that many Snowball and CGTI teams use, and we feel like it is the perfect fit for why our programs and this family remain an important part of our lives now more than ever.
Application Levels
Middle School Participants:
6th - 8th grade students.

High School Participants:
9th-12th grade students.

PALS Participants:
11th or 12 grade students who have attended CGTI as a high school participant can apply for PALS.

Adult Mentor:
Adults who work directly with the students year round and will assist them with the completion of their action plan.

Alumni are anyone who attended Teen Institute or Snowball in their school. Alumni will participate in discussion group, networking, team building, attend keynote and workshops just like participants will.
How to Apply

Applications can be found at or to register.

Early bird registration is $50 for participants, mentors and alumni has been extended.
Talent Show
Live from Zoom, it's Saturday Night! On Saturday, January 16 at 7:00pm, we will join together on Zoom to watch our Mid-Year Talent Show. The talents will be pre-recorded to eliminate the possibility of multiple tech issues. Talents can include singing and dancing, poetry, comedy, skits, and more!

So, how do you join in the fun? Simple - apply at the link below! We'll be allowing participants, staff, mentors and alumni to "try-out" for our talent show. You can submit a solo or group act that is 1:30 to 2:00 minutes long. Submissions are due by January 1, 2021. All submissions will receive a response by January 5, 2021.

December Monthly Challenge
Our Youth Advocates on the OS Board of Directors have been busy brainstorming to ensure the 2020-2021 school year is full of innovative programming and new ways for our community to stay connected.
Write A Letter To Your Future Self
A year from now, your life could look entirely different. Rather than let 2020 get you down, use the power of visualization and write a letter to your future self.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Make it aspirational
When writing to your future self, don’t be afraid to dream big. To achieve something you never had, you need to do something you’ve never done, and right now, that might mean dropping your limiting beliefs and swinging for the fences.

Make it specific
There is power in visualizing your desired future, writing it down, and then watching your life manifest in kind. Even if it doesn’t unfold the way you imagined, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you learn about yourself in the process.

Make it positive
Before writing your letter, reflect not only on the year to date but even farther back: What fell short of your expectations? What changed in your world? Conversely, also ask yourself what your successes were. Consider, too, those times when you most felt alive and fulfilled or frustrated and uninspired. Use that information to reframe your experiences in a positive manner to help you move forward and envision your desired results.

This is a letter to your future self; be kind, gentle, encouraging, and supportive.
Amplifying Youth Voices
Youth Advocates on the OS Board of Directors have been spending the past few months working hard writing articles, creating resources, and engaging our snowball community online.
Word Association Project
Brittany Reed
Libertyville, IL
As a Youth Advocate on the OS Board I wanted to take my passion of Snowball and mental health awareness and merge it into a graphic word association project. I sent a poll out to the students at my high school to gather their responses on both topics. They were asked a series of questions about the impact, what these mean to them, etc. Below you will see two different word cloud associations, one to represent Operation Snowball and one on mental health.
2020 Youth Advocate Video Reflections
As we approach the end 2020 our Youth Advocates on the OS Board wanted to share reflections with our Snowball community. Over the the month of December these videos have been released on our social media in our hope to share their voice and experience with others. Please take a moment and click the button below to view each video reflection. We hope you enjoy & share with your students as well.
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is observed in December to encourage sober, safe driving. The month provides awareness about impaired driving and ways to plan to be safe before celebrating the holiday season.

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals describes the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day as one of the most dangerous and deadliest times on US roads due to the increase in impaired driving.
The toolkit features ideas for activities, posts and verbiage and provides resources and pre-made content for social media, pledges and more. The hyperlinks in the toolkit will give you access to this content and can be printed as well. This is all created to help take your action plan to the next level, while taking a little weight off the adult's shoulders - we can't imagine how hard this transition to a virtual world has been for you. We've made these toolkits with all stages of programming in mind and have included pre-made social content to be used as well.
For inquiries and scheduling requests please contact Riley Blythe | 217.528.7335 ext. 27
K-12 Toolkit for
Mental Health Promotion
and Suicide Prevention
The K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention was created by the Health Care Alliance for Response to Adolescent Depression (HEARD) in 2013 (updated in 2017), in response to a need for schools to promote student mental health and well-being, to prevent suicide and, in particular, how to respond after a suicide loss. 

The toolkit convenes national best practices from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), and several other organizations. 
How to Get Help
If you or someone you know is in a suicidal crisis, call or text a suicide hotline (toll free, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week):
  • Text HELLO to 741741 to connect with someone
  • Call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • Call 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) for hearing & speech impaired
  • Call 1-866-488-7386 for the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth
MISSION STATEMENT: Through the development of leadership skills, Operation Snowball shall be a youth and adult partnership, providing awareness and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, while encouraging healthy decision-making in an active community of caring.
Operation Snowball, Inc.

937 South 2nd Street | Springfield, IL 62704
217.528.7335 ext. 27