Hazel Crest Alliance (HCA) Positively Impacts District 144 Students

On Jan 20 President Vernard L. Alsberry, Jr. met with the Hazel Crest Alliance (HCA) for an update. The Alliance was established in the Spring of 2013 as a substance abuse prevention and behavioral health promotion coalition, comprised of key stakeholders in the community, with the vision of significantly reducing underage drinking and illegal drug use by youth.

The coalition was developed under the leadership of President Vernard Alsberry Jr. and is an official project of the Village of Hazel Crest.

The Mission of HCA is to comprehensively address underage drinking as well as other behavioral and public health needs (Drugs, obesity, mental health disorders, violence) though community collaboration and evidence-based prevention, intervention and health promotion approaches.

We seek to empower youth to be positive leaders, make good decisions and live healthy lifestyles.

The January meeting documented the progress of the HCA program in School District 144 Prairie Hills Junior High School. The 2014 Illinois Youth Survey Report, the standardized tool for measuring impact and monitoring future trends; showed that over the year of the program 37 percent of students surveyed have used some sort of substance (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and inhalants) compared to 42 percent in 2012.

This was a significant decrease in 365 day substance abuse by 8th graders. HCA is looking to expand the program into School District 15.5.

Citing reasons for the positive outcomes President Alsberry said, “The HCA intervention program was able to impact the 8th graders in School District 144 because of group counseling, and various youth activities. We were also able to reach them with positive messaging through posters placed around the village including Village Hall, the Park District and school. I believe that the consistency of the messages and activities made a difference in how our youth now perceive substance abuse.”