OS, Inc. News
The start of this school year may look a lot different than you anticipated, full of twists and turns and plans being flipped upside down minutes before implementation. It will be a year of strategic planning, and many new experiences but OS, Inc. is here for you every single step of the way. Don't forget we are just a phone call or email away! We are happy to troubleshoot, brainstorm, or share resources from others across the state.

Below you will find the OS, Inc. fall training calendar, information on our Virtual 5K and virtual Adult Leader's Conference, articles, and resources that OS Youth Advocates have created, as well as our next monthly challenge where you will see us inviting the community to participate in!

You will also notice that our newsletter has shifted from quarterly to monthly. Our goal is to get as much information to you as possible and to continue being the resource your Chapter needs. We are so excited to welcome you back for unique and innovative Snowball programming this 2020-2021 school year! Contact Riley Blythe at riley@ilabh.org with any specific Chapter programming questions.
Fall 2020 OS, Inc. Trainings
Operation Snowball offers trainings for youth and adults to provide additional resources and information to enhance student leadership. Youth involved in Operation Snowball, a CGTI Community Action Team or a YAC would benefit greatly from attending.

These trainings are also open to prevention professionals interested in learning more.
Effective Virtual Group Facilitation
During this session we will discuss best practices to keep in mind when facilitating group discussions and activities virtually, how to pick up on non-verbal cues from group members, learn tools to use on zoom for group participation and youth will be given time to practice using these skills in breakout rooms.

Wednesday, September 23
Virtual Session
Knowing Yourself as a Leader
This interactive training develops the leadership of youth participants to create positive change in their communities. In addition to learning about leadership styles and effective group collaboration, participants will understand how to put their leadership skills to use.

Thursday, October 22
Virtual Session
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. The training will be used to educate already established groups and help new groups develop their strategies.

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
OS Virtual 5K
"Together but six feet apart"
Walk or run your 5K on Saturday, October 10 between 7:00AM and 12:00PM (CST) to support youth prevention, leadership, and action plans that create a healthier community!

What is a Virtual Race?
A virtual race is a race that can be completed by running, jogging, walking, or biking from any location you choose. You complete it at your own pace and time it yourself.
How It Works
  • Register for your spot and choose if you'd like the swag. 
  • Complete the race on Saturday, October 10 between 7:00AM and 12:00PM CST.
  • Track your distance and finish time with any fitness device or app.
  • This race is based on the honor system and we ask that you share your results with us on social media, but there is no formal submission process for your time and distance.
  • We will send out race items (shirts & bibs number) the week of the race. Shirts will arrive by 5K day!
  • Last day to guarantee shirts is Friday, September 25.
  • If you are interested in registering a group or Chapter, please reach out to Riley Blythe at riley@ilabh.org

Share Your Race With Us!
We would love to hear about your race experience. Join our Virtual Race Facebook event page and share your photos and connect with fellow participants! Also, share your photos on social media by using #OSvirtual5K 

Operation Snowball will be going live during the 5K and will welcome 5K participants to join the live feed too!
Operation Snowball, Inc. is also looking for corporate or individual sponsorship. In this role, you would provide $50-$100 to be a Sponsor and in turn we would promote you as one of the Operation Snowball Virtual 5K official sponsors.

Champion Level Sponsor
  • $100
  • Provides business logo or name on back of event t-shirt

Medalist Level Sponsor
  • $50
  • Provides business or individual name (no logo) on back of event t-shirt

All proceeds will be directed to Operation Snowball, Inc. to continue impacting youth through leadership trainings and events across the world. Operation Snowball is a global program that focuses on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives.
OS Adult Leader's Conference to be
incorporated into 2020 IABH Conference
This year the Operation Snowball Adult Leader's Conference will be housed as a specific prevention track within the IABH Virtual Conference, scheduled for the week of October 13-16. The prevention track will have all of the breakout sessions that were originally planned for the Adult Leader's Conference, but in addition you will have access to all of the keynotes and additional breakout sessions that the IABH Conference has to offer. This prevention track will allow you access to the broader behavioral health field.
The OS/CGTI Prevention track will hold one hour-long breakout session each day, topics include: Suicide Prevention, Youth Engagement and Retention, teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) in Schools, and Virtual Programming for Youth. The cost to register for the prevention track is $75.

Registration is open now! When signing up just make sure to select the ‘OS/CGTI Prevention Track” and the $75 registration fee will generate for you. 

While COVID-19 has brought with it a variety of unexpected challenges, it has also paved the way for new learning opportunities and innovative ways to meet you where you are. Join professionals, advocates, and other stakeholders in behavioral health as we convene virtually beginning October 13. Your registration provides you with full access to this year's conference.
September 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.
Kindness Rocks
For this month's challenge we will be painting rocks to spread Operation Snowballs positivity. Find a rock, pick your colors, and pick a design that you would like to complete. You can come up with a design on your own or you can use an example found online. We will have a tutorial video coming out on social media this week where one of our Youth Advocates will walk you through her process and give you different design examples!

Materials needed:
  • Rocks
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Creativity
When you are done, write on the back of the rock “post a picture on facebook or instagram and tag @operationsnowball” then put the rock in your community. You can put the rock in a park, at your school or a central location in your town.

Paint it Forward!
Better Together: CGTI & Snowball Series
CGTI Youth Advisory Committee Application
Are you looking to grow your leadership skills, connect with more peers from across Illinois, learn more about CGTI and have fun while doing it?

Apply to join our Youth Advisory Committee! We’re looking for four to six leaders to join us and our Leadership Team as we plan for our Mid-Year event.
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!
Starting College in a Pandemic: What Do I Do?
Autumn Boeing
Schaumburg, IL
How many times has the graduating class of 2020 heard, “And we thought we were gaining an extra week of spring break”? Turns out we gained an extra three months, which would have been fantastic, except it was the best three months of our entire high school career. The three months that included, prom, senior brunch, senior picnic, and of course, graduation. Now I don’t know about many of you, but when I found out we were not going back to school I cried, a lot. I called and texted all my friends telling them thank you for the past four, six, even twelve years. I emailed my teachers and told them thank you and how much I wished I could hug them like I was planning on doing the last day of school. I let myself feel all these emotions fully, I was angry, sad, I felt cheated and hurt. 
But on the day of my graduation, like many other schools, I got to drive in my car through a parade of my teachers and tell them thank you and celebrate everything I worked for and achieved in my four years in school. And then, it was officially summer break. It was a very boring summer break considering everything was closed and we couldn’t go anywhere, but still, I didn’t have to wake up and log into a computer to do my school work. I got to sleep in and enjoy the nice weather. However, it has now come to that dreaded but exciting time, the first day of college. Summer is over, cars are packed, and minds are racing with not only questions about the first day, but questions about the first day...in a pandemic. Are classes going to be online? In person? How many zoom calls am I going to have in one day?

As we move into this next chapter of our lives there are so many questions that nobody has answers to but just like everything else that has been thrown at us, we will take it in stride and make things work. I know it is frustrating and can seem daunting trying to figure out a new internet system while moving into your dorm while also trying to make friends all in a new place on your own, but that’s just it, you aren’t on
your own, the entire class of 2020 is with you. Everybody is processing the new normal in their own way, but I have found it helpful to spend time focusing on the things that I do have control over. 
  • Allow myself to feel all the emotions (anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety) but then move on to the next task. 
  • Set goals for myself and my future 
  • Lean on people in my circle of support

We are all in this together. Class of 2020, we have gone through a lot, but we are stronger because of it. Never once have we backed down from a challenge and we are not about to start now. Be kind to yourself, focus on your goals, and go out and change the world one step at a time.
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
riley@ilabh.org | 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