Merry Christmas!
We hope you have a wonderful holiday!
It’s NOT Too Late! 

If your school has not yet recognized World AIDS Day there is still time. Even though World AIDS Day (WAD) is recognized on December 1, select a date that works best for your school and begin planning. You will find excellent resources which includes a WAD resource guide on the FOCUS website.


CONTACT: Adrinda Carter
(334) 206-5945

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, and the first one was held in 1988.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” In 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the EHE Initiative, a national collaborative response developed and embraced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Services, National Institute of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration.

To read the complete press release please click the button below.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
Newly released 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2019 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey Data Summary and Trends Report show that US adolescents continue to suffer from poor mental health and suicidality at alarming rates. These data alone would be cause for concern, but the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to further erode adolescent mental health, particularly for those whose mental health was poor prior to the pandemic. Given the status of adolescent mental health prior to
COVID-19 and the impact of COVID-19, health professionals and schools must partner together now to mitigate potentially deleterious health, mental health, and education impacts for children and adolescents. 

FOCUS is committed to supporting all Alabama schools in implementing student-led prevention of adolescent risk behaviors. Partnerships can be vital in increasing student access to youth-friendly, affordable, local services that could be provided
on-site, at a convenient off-site location,
or remotely. Visit today to update your school's profile in FOCUS' membership database. Without current information, we are unable to maximize our service to you and keep you informed. 

Free marketing materials and resources ~while they last~ will be distributed to all active schools who have registered by January 1. 2021. (Schools previously registered for the 2020-2021 School Year will receive materials.)

FOCUS values continued partnerships with the following state and community organizations.

Alabama Department of Public Health
Alabama Department of Education
Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health
Addiction Prevention Coalition
Children's Policy Council
Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
Even though visiting your school in person is not possible at this time, we would love to visit virtually to see what you and your students are doing to provide student-led prevention of adolescent risk behaviors through FOCUS and Peer Helping! If interested, please complete the form so that a member of the FOCUS staff may visit with your students virtually and see the amazing activities being planned in your school. Use the Google Form to contact us if you would like additional FOCUS Facilitator Training.
2021 Scale Back Alabama
Let's say good-bye to 2020 and look ahead to a better year in 2021! Attached is a flyer that tells you some of the exciting changes that will take place this year for SBA. First change - a later start date! We'll be kicking off in March next year instead of January.

We are so happy to continue the program with some major improvements. Stay tuned for more information in the very near future. Thank you!

Molly B. Killman, MS, RD, LD
Director, Nutrition and Physical Activity Division
AL Department of Public Health

Alumni of the Month
Every month we will highlight one of FOCUS' alumni!
Our December Alumni of the Month is Chelsey Strong.

Chelsey graduated from Sylacauga High School in 2011, where she was a member of the FOCUS Program. She was honored to be apart of FOCUS because she wanted to be a positive influence on her peers and friends. FOCUS helped her have those conversations and have data to support her beliefs.

She graduated from Jacksonville State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. After living in Calhoun County for 5 years, she and her husband decided to move back home to Sylacauga and start a family.

Chelsey launched her own marketing consulting company, Muscadine Marketing, in 2017. She really enjoys helping small businesses and organizations establish strategic marketing plans that bring in more customers!

One of her clients is The FOCUS Program! According to Chelsey, "I loved designing the current FOCUS website to highlight the successes of this great organization that is very near and dear to my heart. Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Digging Deeper: 8 Reasons Children & Teens Get Mixed Up With Prescription Drugs

Read the article to see "eight key reasons why children and adolescents turn to prescription drugs, along with suggestions for how to counteract those underlying causes."
Connect with FOCUS!
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