Although it may be hard to believe, we are already nearing the end of 2020 - what a year it has been! To those of you who had to make the difficult decision last spring to cancel your in-person event, we're proud of you for doing what is needed for the safety of our communities. To those of you who are venturing into the unknown to plan virtual programming for the first time, we're proud of you for taking a healthy risk and teaching yourself new things while learning alongside incredible youth. To those of you who are still searching to find a middle ground of programming, we're proud of you for being mindful and strategic. This is a year that has pushed us all out of our comfortable routine and OS, Inc. is amazed by the flexibility and continued passion you have shown no matter the stage of your programming. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us to assist in the planning of your upcoming event!

We are excited to continue supporting unique and innovative Snowball programming the remainder of the 2020 calendar year! Contact Riley Blythe with any specific Chapter programming questions.
Fall 2020 OS, Inc. Trainings
Thank You!
OS, Inc. had the pleasure of spending our afternoon with Snowball youth & adults, CGTI volunteer staff and prevention specialist while we hosted our training on "Knowing Yourself as a Leader". A big thank you to our attendees for joining the training with energy, excitement, and an open mind to learn more about themselves as a leader.
Fall 2020 OS, Inc. Trainings
We invite you and your students to register and attend any of our trainings below for FREE. Each training has been created based to assist you with a successful Snowball event.
How to Utilize Zoom for Events
In this training participants will learn the functions of Zoom meetings, webinars, and breakout rooms. Participants will also get the opportunity to engage with the tools as a host and test out the functions to orient themselves.

Friday, November 6
Recorded Session
Recording will be available after 3:00PM
ATOD Prevention Campaign
In this training participants will receive information about the trends surrounding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) among youth, the negative consequences associated, strategies used to prevent the issue, and what community members can do to help.

Tuesday, November 17
Virtual Session
Be Kind to Your Mind
In this training participants will learn ways to clear their mind and gain clarity, manage worry and stress, step out of victim mode and find a place of inner peace. During the session participants will engage in exercises that can be utilized at home, school, work and when you're alone to decrease negative self talk.

Monday, December 7
 Virtual Session
CGTI/OS Virtual Mid-Year
Mid-Year applications are now OPEN for middle school and high school participants, volunteer staff, 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.

There's something special to be said about CGTI & OS, especially in the moments when we all come together, in any way. There's no other feeling like it. There's an abundance of warmth and an overflowing of hope. There is freedom in feeling safe to explore and grow. There is a shared desire to do good and be good. All these things culminating in concrete, positive change. We have multiple generations of leaders setting intentions and taking action to continue learning and leading with the goal of paving a better future for all.

This Mid-Year we're celebrating 46 years of being part of a something unlike any other. We're taking the challenges that come our way and answering them by continuing to serve as the catalysts for impactful and purposeful change.

CGTI and OS are places that is wherever we make it or want it to be.
A place that sparks movements.
A place that creates and celebrates leaders.
A place that you can't find anywhere else.
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.

Volunteer Staff:
Adults who have graduated high school and are interested in facilitating discussion groups. Volunteer Staff must attend staff training on Friday prior to the start of Mid-Year.

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 until December 4. Applicants who apply in the early bird timeframe will be guaranteed a shirt.

Standard registration is $100 from December 4 through January 8.
OS Virtual 5K
"Together but Six Feet Apart"
Operation Snowball, Inc. held our first virtual 5K event on October 10 and had over 100 participants join in to engage in the event from their homes. Attendees from Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin came together but stayed six feet apart to engage in the event and support the prevention work youth have been accomplishing this year.

We were very lucky to receive sponsorship from many community supporters: Aspen & Bronx, M&P Presentations, Jeffrey Collord, Netsmart, Project Oz, Celtic Cartage, Southern Illinois Substance Abuse Alliance, John Baker, Hyland Family Foundation, Jake Levinson, DMarcoSpeaks, Luzietti & Raney, and Mackenzie Grace Photography. The Virtual 5K was an incredible success!
November Monthly Challenge
Our Youth Advocates on the OS Board of Directors have been busy brainstorming all summer to ensure the 2020-2021 school year is full of innovative programming and new ways to our community to stay connected.
November Thank Yous!
With Thanksgiving Day and the holiday season coming up it is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. Whether you’re gathered around the table, or just in need of a little reminder, these November Thank Yous and well wishes will help you count your blessings this season.

Ways to Say 'Thank You!'
  • Pick up a piece of paper close to you, write a thank you note for a kind gesture someone did for you this year. Mail it to them.
  • For every day of November, send a text to a new person in your life thanking them for their support and friendship they have shown you.
  • Give your relatives a call and thank them for standing by your side.
  • Email your teacher to thank them for their patience and care spent in developing an online curriculum so you can still learn and advance your education.
  • Drop off a thank you card to a neighbor who is an essential worker and has been on the frontline during this pandemic.
  • Have a meal with your parents/guardian and thank them for taking care of you.

There is no 'right or wrong way' to give thanks this holiday season. Be creative, be yourself, and spread much needed kindness wherever you go!
Give thanks with a grateful heart!
Better Together: CGTI & Snowball Series
Amplifying Youth Voices
Youth Advocates on the OS Board have been spending the past few months working hard writing articles, creating resources, and engaging our snowball community online.
Please see below!
Planning for a Virtual Snowball Retreat: A Teen Overall Director Perspective
Emma Murphy
Homewood, IL
Being Teen Overall Director for Homewood-Flossmoor Operation Snowball has been a dream of mine since freshman year. I worshipped the people who I watched on the stage at Snowball every year and I knew that is what I wanted to do. When director applications came out in March I knew I had to apply. I applied, I interviewed, and I got the job. But the only thing standing in my way of being overall director was COVID-19. I was hopeful that by the beginning of August life would be back to normal and we would go back to school like before and begin planning for our Snowball event. As Summer grew closer to an end and there was no end in sight to the pandemic I began to worry. I had no clue what was going to happen to Snowball, but I got the thrilling news at the end of July that we would have a Virtual Snowball, I know it doesn’t sound the same, but at least it wasn’t canceled.
After 7 long months of COVID-19 consuming my life I was glad to get working to make Virtual Snowball the best it possibly could be. It took our chapter a little while to get up and running, but we are now in full planning mode. I would be lying to you if I said that this process has been easy. Honestly, it is probably one of the hardest things I have done. I can’t picture Snowball happening any other way. I know what Snowball is supposed to be like. For H-F it is a weekend retreat at Camp Manitoqua in Frankfort, Illinois. We are supposed to have fun cabins, intense small groups, exciting mini workshops and union stations and honestly it's just supposed to be the best weekend ever. How is Virtual Snowball supposed to live up to the standard I have created in my head since I joined the Snow community as a small 5th grader? 

Honestly through the past 4 months I learned that you can’t compare the two. You can’t compare an in-person Snowball to a virtual Snowball because we all know it's not going to be anything like an in-person Snowball. I know it's terrifying to think that you may not have the same experience as before, but you have to have an open mind as to what Snowball can be. It can be an amazing weekend, but it's what you make of it. That's something I have been telling our teen staff for weeks now. As a group my chapter came together and brainstormed ways we could make it as fun as possible. We found 5 amazing large group presenters who will be talking about drugs and alcohol, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the climate of our society, and self-care. It was really important to us to have large group topics that would be interesting and relevant to our participants. We also kept some of the things that make in-person Snowball so much fun. We typically have a mixer on Saturday night along with a Lip-Sync battle. We decided to keep those things and add even more. This year we will have a mixer, lip-sync battle, talent show, and glam night. We know it's not going to be anything like in-person Snowball, but we know a lot of people could use the Snowball community right now to help get through these unprecedented times. I am over the moon that our school was so supportive in allowing us to have our Snowball event and I can’t thank the adult staff enough in supporting our teen staff through the planning process. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but I am so excited for what Snowball has to bring on November 20-22!
Social Justice, Race and the Intersection of Prevention

Dr. Wanda Boone
The Strategic Prevention Framework is used to create and monitor change. The framework includes assessment, capacity building, planning, implementation, evaluation, sustainability and cultural competence.
Prevention Champions of Change that use the framework are uniquely positioned to respond to racism and social justice inequities. Cultural competence involves the ability of an individual or organization to understand and interact effectively with people who have different values, lifestyles, and traditions based on their distinctive heritage and social relationships. To elevate cultural competency within prevention plans 1. Become aware of personal implicit bias: judging people based on perceived ability, gender, sexuality, class, skin tone, race, ethnicity, religion and/or age. 2. Acknowledge challenges to health and well-being experienced by African Americans. 3. Include community members to develop action plans. Continue reading here.
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