FOCUS Monthly Newsletter
February 2023
2023 Difference Maker Award
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN for the 2022 "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 22, 2023.

Click the button below for more information or to nominate a Difference Maker!
Are you interested in
Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification? 
Register today by emailing


Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Time: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Location: Jacksonville State University 
Merrill Hall, Room 105

Lunch Provided

YMHFA Certification is valued at $170.00. Thanks to a donation from the FOCUS Program, attending learners may participate and attain certification at no charge.

Kim Bailey, MEd, ALC
Assistant FOCUS Director, Central AL
Retired Shelby County Schools Counseling Supervisor

Jennifer Bailey, EdS
Director of Student Services, Vestavia City Schools

For more information about mental health first aid, visit: 

Don’t Skip A Beat! Plan Ahead for American Heart Month!
Hearts, flowers and love might be the themes of the month, but we also celebrate American Heart Month in February. With the recent cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin, the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player, and the sudden passing of Lisa Marie Presley, sudden cardiac arrest and heart issues are front and center in the news. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reality is that heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.* 

FOCUS encourages you and your students to dig deeper and learn more about reducing risks for heart attack, stroke and handling emergency situations. Although National Wear Red Day is behind us, we encourage you to continue sharing facts and statistics within your school and community throughout the month. In turn, you will help raise awareness regarding risk factors and prevention. 

Below are links to resources and lessons that are ready to use. Be sure to tag us in your social media posts throughout the month. We look forward to seeing your students moving, learning and advocating for heart health! 

*(2022, October 14). Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from
Even though it is only February 2023, it is time to plan for the Fall of 2023 and next school year. The spring semester brings class scheduling for students, so you should also schedule plans for FOCUS for next year. Typically, some of the strongest leaders in FOCUS will be the seniors; therefore, Membership Drive in the spring semester is vital to recruit new members who are passionate about FOCUS. Then, begin training them to become those leaders of tomorrow. The facilitator portal has an Extracurricular Guide for more details of implementing FOCUS that contains two membership application forms that can be used–one is general (page 7); the other is more detailed and specific (page 8).

Once the new members are selected, schedule a meeting with the new and returning FOCUS members to map out a plan and a vision for your particular school/campus needs in the areas of education and prevention. Throughout next school year, encourage monthly health observances and other events or activities to bring awareness to the entire student body. Put those ideas on your calendar. It is your FOCUS students who have the power to change the climate of a school for the better.

Organization is the key to success! Select officers and allow the students to choose areas of interest or expertise in the FOCUS Committees (Peer Helper/Educator, Drama/Video/Skit, Public Relations/Publicity, Fundraising, Community Service, and/or Technology/Social Media). All of these committees play an important role in getting the FOCUS message conveyed, and all of your students have strengths that can be utilized in one or more of these committees. 

Begin preparing for the September 20, FOCUS Rally at Shocco Springs. Inform your students, get your needed paperwork completed either before the end of school or at the very beginning of the school year in August. Figure out how you will fund the field trip (LEA source, students pay, fundraise, etc.). Planning ahead is always good!! Let’s make 2023-2024 the best year yet for FOCUS–it all starts with you!!

Planning an Event Project?
Teaching students the planning process necessary in implementing prevention activities is an important step in project-based learning. 

We have added a helpful form on the FOCUS facilitator portal page. Check it out! Here’s the link to the our website, scroll down and click on the FOCUS facilitator login page. Use your facilitator password to access this new resource. Click on the "FOCUS Event Project Plan" to view out newest resource!
2023 FOCUS Rally
September 20, 2023

Register Your School with FOCUS!
Welcome to all our new and renewed schools for the 2022-2023 school year! As a reminder, we request that all registered facilitators renew each year to update information. Please take a moment and click on the link below to submit your registration.
New! 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline!
988 is now the active phone number that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This shorter number is easier to remember, and it provides free and confidential support for anyone in distress.
Be sure to share this updated information with staff and students in your school and community. Let everyone know that when they call, text or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who will listen and help, 24/7. They will even assist you if you know of someone who is in distress. This can be reassuring when you are trying to assist a student or peer and need professional help.
*The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-TALK) will always remain available for people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
A new FOCUS student brochure is now available!
Free hard copies are available by request! Email to place your order. A digital copy is available for printing on the FOCUS Facilitator Portal.
Connect with FOCUS!
Stay up to date on everything that is happening with FOCUS by following us on social media! Don't hesitate, follow us today!
Monthly Health Observances
We encourage all FOCUS schools to engage in at least one health observance activity each month. Each month has some excellent choices for students on your campuses to “Make a Difference” and to encourage their peers to participate.


  • 1-30  Alcohol Awareness Month
  • 1-30   National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • 1-30   National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
  • 1-30   Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
  • 1-30   Sexually Transmitted Infections Awareness Month
  • 8-12   National Youth Violence Prevention Week
  • 10       National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • 15       National Prescription Drug Take Back Day


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

Alabama Department of Public Health
Alabama Department of Education
Addiction Prevention Coalition
Children's Policy Council
Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
Be Part of Making A Difference!