FOCUS Monthly Newsletter
August 2023
It’s Time to Register as a FOCUS School! 

Update your school’s information every year by completing registration form!
2023 FOCUS Rally

September 20, 2023 at Shocco Springs Conference Center
1314 Shocco Springs Rd, Talladega, AL 35160

Early Bird Registration $30 - Deadline September 13, 2023

Adults may earn 3 hours of Professional Development through PowerSchool (you must register through PowerSchool to receive professional development) and AL Board of Social Work CEUs will be offered. Certificates of Attendance will also be available. 

Register by September 13, to avoid late fees! Late Registration/Onsite $35.

Learn more about the Keynote Speaker here! Don't miss this valuable In-Person event at Shocco Springs Conference Center, September 20, 2023.
Visit to register and for information.
Congratulations to Emily Herring
the “2023 Difference Maker”
FOCUS Program’s Outstanding Facilitator
FOCUS and the Addiction Prevention Coalition (APC) in Birmingham, AL are pleased to announce Emily Herring, Fairfield City Schools, as the winner of the 2023 Difference Maker Award which recognizes the most outstanding educator facilitating FOCUS in Alabama!
Mrs. Herring is the Mental Health Coordinator for Fairfield City Schools and has a social work background. She has been the Mental Health Coordinator in Fairfield City Schools for three years and has been a social worker in the Birmingham area for nine years. This is her first social work role working directly for a school system. Mrs. Herring worked with Addiction Prevention Coalition to start Fairfield City’s FOCUS group this school year! She has been wanting to start a student group focused on mental health, addiction prevention, etc., and heard about FOCUS and thought that it fit perfectly with her goals! Over the summer and the start of the school year, she began recruiting students, ensuring that she had representatives from many different student groups. In her role as a facilitator, she has learned so much from her students and is always grateful for opportunities to be their cheerleader as they lead our school, district, and community.
Fairfield’s FOCUS group led the way in sharing about the importance of mental health district-wide this year. Their group held three mental health assemblies at Fairfield’s middle school, sharing the importance of mental health and leading mental health trivia and other activities. They then led a mental health assembly in front of their own peers at their school, and each FOCUS member shared why mental health matters to them and how they cope with their own mental health. An individual nominating Mrs. Herring stated, “Emily strives to find opportunities for the students to shine and empowers them to express their ideas at every chance.”
According to Mrs. Herring, “the students in Fairfield’s FOCUS group are some of the most resilient, inspiring people I have ever met! They have done an incredible job creating a vision for student-led mental health efforts in our school district and finding ways to implement that vision. They encourage each other to be bold in talking about mental health. They work together to lead the school. Above all, they have shown immense resilience in overcoming so many obstacles to get to where they are. I could not be prouder of them!”
We are honored to recognize Emily Herring for her outstanding leadership! Congratulations and thank you to Mrs. Herring for her work in reducing the incidence of adolescent risk behaviors and truly Making a Difference in the lives of students
Register Your School with FOCUS!
This will allow you access to our many resources and enable you to begin your “focus” on next year’s concerns for your students and campus. Having your school registered and students recruited before a new school year begins is half the battle of “Making a Difference” in your school and community.
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.
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  National Suicide Prevention Month
  • 1-30  Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  • 1-30  National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
  • 1-30   Sexual Health Awareness Month
  • 8-14   National Suicide Prevention Week


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!