Resilient Seniors Rebound
One year ago life changed for everyone due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the ones who probably had their lives altered the most were the seniors of 2020 and 2021. High school memories, hopes, and dreams were tarnished and eliminated in many cases . . . no classes on campus, no sports, no prom, no assemblies, no extracurricular activities, no club meetings . . . virtual learning became the “norm.” 
However, the resilience of these high school students is to be celebrated and highlighted. Instead of focusing on the negative and concentrating on what had been lost, most have overcome these adversities and found ways to move forward and survive. One day they will be able to look back and realize what they overcame, how well they got through it, and how they became stronger for it! Life always gives moments of uncertainty, but taking those moments and turning them into positive lessons learned is the greatest come back story of all time!
April is Youth HIV + AIDS Awareness Month, which helps raise awareness about the impact of HIV on young people. Together, we can help youth stay healthy by encouraging HIV testing, prevention, and treatment.

Join us for the PREMIERE of our video "Youth Leading & Ending the HIV Epidemic in Alabama" featuring Tom Robertson, HIV Manager, NE District, ADPH (Retired) and students from Tarrant High School. The video is hosted by acclaimed Sports Reporter for WOTM TV, Gerhard Mathangani.

This event is brought to you FOCUS, Addiction Prevention Coalition, and KML AL of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day
Our facilitators should have already received Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Month posters to display in their schools and wristbands to distribute to their FOCUS members. Please display the posters for the entire month of April, or longer, and distribute the wristbands as soon as possible to your members. The posters have a QR Code for students to scan and receive information on all HIV testing sites in the State of Alabama. We are encouraging schools to post pictures of prevention activities and tag @ALABAMAFOCUS and use the hashtag #FOCUSonHIVPrevention. 
2021 Difference Maker Award
The deadline is April 24!
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN for the 2021 "Difference Maker of the Year!" The Facilitator chosen as the "Difference Maker" will receive $1,000 cash to be used however they choose. The "Difference Maker" will be chosen based on their school's activities, their level of involvement with FOCUS, and the creation of successful prevention activities and events. All nominations must be received by 5:00pm on April 24, 2021.

Click the button below to visit our website for more information!
END Heroin BHAM 16.6 Challenge
Every year the END HEROIN BHAM Walk brings thousands of people together in an effort to spread awareness about the drug epidemic in Alabama, and create a sense of solidarity for those struggling through it. This solidarity is just one way to reduce the stigma around substance use disorder (SUD) and one of the first steps in getting people the help they need.

Due to the pandemic, this year we are shaking things up and going virtual with a 16.6 challenge! 16.6 is the current rate of death by overdose in Alabama (CDC), which means that 16.6 in 100,000 Alabamians die each year from overdose. We can reduce this number by removing the stigma surrounding SUD and educating our community about the dangers of substance use.

Join us for our 2021 END HEROIN BHAM 16.6 Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Fritz Clinic, where APC is challenging YOU to 16.6 miles, reps, minutes, laps, rounds, sets, etc. of running, walking, swimming, riding, praying, meditating or anything you like to do to bring awareness to Substance Use Disorder and overdose in Alabama. You get to choose. Create a team and do something fun together! Or register as an individual and enjoy your "me time." Even if you don't want to participate, you can still create a fundraising page! We've got something for everyone!

Every registered participant will receive an END HEROIN BHAM 16.6 Challenge t-shirt, a race medal, a runner's bib and additional swag and info from our sponsors. Please help promote the event through your social media outlets! #EHBChallege. Share your story about why you walk!
Alumnus of the Month
Every month we will highlight one of FOCUS' alumni!
Our April Alumnus of the Month is Kate Embry!

Kate Embry, an active member of FOCUS while a student at Sylacauga High School, was vital in the education and prevention efforts of adolescent risk behaviors that helped “Make a Difference” in the lives of her classmates. After graduation Kate continued to be an important component of FOCUS for several years by volunteering at the annual rally at Shocco Springs. Her involvement with FOCUS had a major role in the direction of her future life choices following high school.

Kate graduated from Auburn University in 2013 with a B.A. in Public Administration and then graduated from Troy University in 2018 with a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Personnel Management. She has been in Foley, Alabama, since 2015 serving as Grant Administrator, then Assistant City Clerk, and currently the Human Resources Coordinator. Some of her current responsibilities include developing and administering the city’s wellness program and health initiative and serving as the city of Foley safety coordinator.

Kate shared, “I've never REALLY thought about anything common among positions I have held. However, there really is one common theme among all positions I have held during/since college and that is having consideration for others in difficult situations. I know my mom and dad always taught me to care for others, but I believe that FOCUS helped me have compassion for others no matter their situation or what they were going through. I have carried that with me since high school.” 
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.
FOCUS Certificates
Do you need a "Certificate of Participation" or a "Certificate of Leadership" for your students? We just wanted to send out a quick reminder that these certificates are available on the FOCUS Facilitator Login portion of the website. If you are a registered FOCUS school you should have already received your log-in information. If you haven't registered as a FOCUS school you can register on our website. If you have any questions, please contact April at
Become a FOCUS School!
FOCUS is committed to supporting all Alabama schools in implementing studentled 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.


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
Connect with FOCUS!
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