Ideas for Neighborhood and Family Prevention Activities


Here are some things that you can do to make an impact!  Activities should be continued over time to be effective and a variety of activities with positive reinforcement will give better results.  Visit University of Maryland, Baltimore County Model of Behavior Change for more information on creating and sustaining behavior change. 

Visit Take Action to view the Spectrum of Prevention, developed by The Prevention Institute, to illustrate the different levels of involvement that contribute to making a difference.

 

 

Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs

  • Learn which drugs are most commonly used by youth and the warning signs of drug use.  Use these fact sheets and visit the following web sites to help you get started:

Fairfax County Youth Survey Drug Use Fact Sheet
Fairfax County Youth Survey Alcohol Use Fact Sheet
Fairfax County Youth Survey Inhalant Use Fact Sheet
Fairfax County Teens and Alcohol video icon
Fairfax County Teens and Inhalants video icon
Too Smart to Start: Tweens, Facts About Alcohol
Healthy Youth! Alcohol and Drug Use: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Cool Spot
Youth and Tobacco Use: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Recognize the signs of alcohol and drug use and take action by talking to your child about what is going on in his/her life and reach out to parents, the school, and the community for help.
  • Know, practice and discuss safe and responsible alcohol and drug use in your home.
    • Keep all alcohol out of reach and secure in your home, don’t drink in excess, and never drink and drive.
    • Have an ongoing discussion with your children about the dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.  Let them hear directly from you how you feel about them using drugs or alcohol.  Encourage them to ask questions.   
    • Know your child’s friends and always know where they are and who they are with.  If your child is going to a party at a friend’s house, make sure that there will be responsible adult supervision. 
    • If you smoke, try to quit and explain to your children that you are making an effort to quit because of the health dangers to yourself and others.
    • Be aware of the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and how they can be misused.  Properly and promptly dispose of prescription drugs that are no longer needed. Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs secure, and educate your children about the proper use of medication.  Improper use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause serious health effects, addiction, and death.  Visit NIDA for Teens: Prescription Drug Use to learn more. 
    • Be aware of the danger of inhalants.  Examples of the things that children may inhale to get high include spray paint, glue, gasoline, fingernail polish, and correction fluid.  Improper use of these items can also cause serious health effects, addiction, and death.  Visit NIDA: InfoFacts: Inhalants to learn more about inhalant use.
    • If you are concerned that your child may be using drugs or alcohol, view Prevention Agencies and Organizations for suggested resources.
  • Use your school staff as a resource. Let children and teens know that school counselors, psychologists and social workers are available to listen to their concerns. Resources and help are available in their school.  Visit Fairfax County Public Schools Intervention and Prevention Services.
  • Reach out to other youth and share what you know about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.  Listen to their concerns and and offer guidance.
  • Get involved with a youth group at a local house of worship, community center, school, or civic center.  Focus on educating youth about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol and encourage them to agree to abstain from substance use and abuse.  Visit NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse and encourage youth to visit the site for information, videos, games, and true stories that youth have shared. Have ongoing discussions with the group and encourage them to talk openly about peer pressure, helping others to stay drug free, and activities that they can do to promote a drug-free community.  If there is not a youth group in your area, get involved with a community group to start one.
  • Organize guest speakers, classes or seminars to be held in your workplace, school, faith or community organization.
  • Start a Public Awareness Campaign.  You can get started by Hosting a Community Forum using the Fairfax County Youth Survey Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Presentation, Handouts and Resources.  Involve local experts such as the police department, school representatives, and substance abuse professionals.  Invite parents, community leaders, and youth to find out more about the issue, about the resources available in your community and discuss what you as a community can do to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.  
  • Host a movie night to raise alcohol and drug awareness.  Find educational alcohol and drug prevention films or movies with abuse in the story. Have a group discussion about what happens in the movie and how things could have been handled better.
  • Promote “Three to Succeed”!  Youth Survey data and national data show that youth are more likely to thrive and less likely to participate in risk behaviors when they have just three assets or strengths.   Want to know more about assets?  View the  Risk and Protective Factors in Fairfax County fact sheet.

View these websites for more ideas

Too Smart to Start, SAMHSA

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Bullying and Cyberbullying

  • Learn more about bullying and cyberbullying.  Find out what it is, and what you can do to prevent it or handle if if it has already happened.  View these fact sheets and videos to help you get started:

Bullying and Cyberbullying in Fairfax County Fact Sheet
Bullying and Cyberbullying in Fairfax County video icon
Fairfax County Public Schools Student Safety and Wellness Bullying Prevention
StopBullying.gov has tabs for kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and the community.
StopBullying.gov: Cyberbullying has information specific to bullying through electronic media such as websites and cell phones.

  • Recognize the signs of bullying and take action by talking to your child about what is going on in his/her life and reach out to parents, the school, and the community for help. Visit Stop Bullying: Warning Signs to learn more.
  • Know, practice and discuss healthy relationship behavior in your home.
    • Have an age-appropriate conversation with your child about bullying and explain that bullying others is unacceptable behavior.
    • Explain the importance of standing up for others who are being bullied. 
    • Ask your child if he/she has been a victim of bullying.  
    • If your child has bullied others or is the victim of bullying, follow up with your child’s school (teacher, administrator, guidance counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker) to help resolve the issue in a safe and responsible manner.
    • If you are concerned that your child has bullied others or is a victim of bullying, view Prevention Agencies and Organizations for suggested resources.
  • Know, practice and discuss safe online and cell phone practices
    • Have an age-appropriate conversation about internet activity and texting.
    • Be aware of where they go online and familiarize yourself with these sites and the technology they use.
    • Make and enforce rules about computer and phone use.  
    • If you are concerned that your child has cyberbullied others or is a victim of cyberbullying, visit, Stopbullying.gov: Cyberbullying, What Parents Can Do for a list of actions you can take. View Prevention Agencies and Organizations for suggested resources.
  • Use your school staff as a resource. Let children and teens know that school counselors, psychologists and social workers are available to listen to their concerns. Resources and help are available in their school.  Visit Fairfax County Public Schools Intervention and Prevention Services.
  • Reach out to other youth and share what you know about bullying and cyberbullying.  Listen to their concerns and and offer guidance.
  • Get involved with a youth group at a local house of worship, community center, school, or civic center.  Focus on educating youth about bullying and encourage them to agree to not bully others and to stand up for people being bullied.  Visit StopBullying.gov and encourage youth to visit the site. Have ongoing discussions with the group and encourage them to talk openly about peer pressure and barriers to helping one another.  If there is not a youth group in your area, get involved with a community group to start one.
  • Organize guest speakers, classes or seminars to be held in your workplace, school, faith or community organization.
  • Start a Public Awareness Campaign.  You can get started by Hosting a Community Forum using the Fairfax County Youth Survey Bullying Presentation, Handouts and Resources.  Involve local experts such as the police department and school representatives.  Invite parents, community leaders, and youth to find out more about the issue, about the resources available in your community and discuss what you as a community can do to prevent bullying and cyberbullying.  
  • Host a movie night to raise bullying awareness.  Find educational bullying prevention films or movies with bullying in the story. Have a group discussion about what happens in the movie and how things could have been handled better.
  • Promote “Three to Succeed”!  Youth Survey data and national data show that youth are more likely to thrive and less likely to participate in risk behaviors when they have just three assets or strengths.   Want to know more about assets?  View the  Risk and Protective Factors in Fairfax County fact sheet.

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Mental Health: Depression and Suicide

  • Learn about depression and thoughts of suicide in youth.  Youth who experience depression are at higher risk for drug and alcohol use and other health concerns.  If you suspect a youth is depressed or has had thoughts of suicide, seek professional help.  To learn more and find sources for help, view these resources:

Fairfax County Teenage Depression and Suicide Fact Sheet
Fairfax County Teens and Depression video icon
Fairfax County Public Schools Brochures on Suicide Prevention
Depression in Children and Adolescents, National Institute of Mental Health
Depression and High School Students, National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Resource Center Recognizing the Warning Signs of Depression in Teens.

  • Recognize the signs of depression and thoughts of suicide.  Take action by talking to your child about what is going on in his/her life and reach out to parents, the school, and the community for help. Visit Helpguide.org to learn more.
  • Discuss depression and suicide in your home.
  • Use your school staff as a resource. Let children and teens know that school counselors, psychologists and social workers are available to listen to their concerns. Resources and help are available in their school.  Visit Fairfax County Public Schools Intervention and Prevention Services.
  • Reach out to other youth and share what you know about depresson and suicide.  Listen to their concerns and and offer guidance.
  • Get involved with a youth group at a local house of worship, community center, school, or civic center.  Focus on educating youth about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in themselves and their friends and the steps that they can take to get help.  If there is not a youth group in your area, get involved with a community group to start one.
  • Organize guest speakers, classes or seminars to be held in your workplace, school, faith or community organization.
  • Start a Public Awareness Campaign.  You can get started by Hosting a Community Forum using the Fairfax County Youth Survey Mental Health Presentation, Handouts and Resources.  Involve local experts such as mental health workers or school representatives.  Invite parents, community leaders, and youth to find out more about the issue and dispel myths and stigmas associated with depression.  Share resources available in your community and discuss what you as a community can do to prevent depression.  Visit the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board Network of Care for Behavioral Health to learn more about services that are available to the public.
  • Host a movie night to raise depression awareness.  Find educational depression and suicide prevention films or movies with these themes in the story. Have a group discussion about what happens in the movie and how things could have been handled better.
  • Promote “Three to Succeed”!  Youth Survey data and national data show that youth are more likely to thrive and less likely to participate in risk behaviors when they have just three assets or strengths.   Want to know more about assets?  View the  Risk and Protective Factors in Fairfax County fact sheet.

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Nutrition and Physical Activity

  • Learn about the benefits of healthy eating and active living.  To learn more and find sources for help, view these resources:

Fairfax County Nutrition and Physical Activity Fact Sheet
Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Food and Nutrition Services
Fairfax County Public Schools Health and Physical Education
Fairfax County Public Schools Health and Physical Education Resources
ChooseMyPlate.gov
Let's Move Faith and Communities

  • Recognize the signs of overweight and obesity. Familiarize yourself with Body Mass Index (BMI) and know your BMI and that of your family members.  It is always a good idea to have regular check-ups with your doctor and discuss your health needs.  Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Body Mass Index for how to calculate BMI for adults and children
  • Know, practice and discuss healthy living in your home.
    • Make a commitment to exercise together for 60 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. 
    • Make a commitment to reduce your portion sizes and to eat more nutritious and healthy foods.
    • Reward yourself and your family as motivation when you make healthy food and activity choices and plan fun activities like hiking, swimming, or basketball.
    • Get to know the Parks and Recreation facilities in your area. These include RECenters, Community Centers, Senior Centers, and Teen Centers, and Parks, many of which have athletic fields, courts, and trails.
    • Find out about Sports Clubs in your area and encourage participation by the whole family.  
  • Reach out to others and engage them in healthy activities.
    • Start a neighborhood walking group.  Meet at set days and times and don't let each other down!
    • Start a bike riding group with friends and neighbors and commit to riding 3-4 times/week for 60 minutes.  See these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraton for Bicycle Safety.
    • Serve nutritious and healthy foods at neighborhood get togethers. Consider something like fruit kabobs instead of sugary treats.
  • Get involved with an existing group at a local house of worship, community center, school, or civic center. 
    • Engage guest speakers to focus attention on the benefits of healthy eating and active living.
    • Start a fitness club within the group that offers incentives for reaching milestones (e.g., 60 minutes of physical activity 4 days/week).  Seek input from the group on activities that interest them.
    • Encourage the group to take the President’s Fitness Challenge.
    • Find out about Sports Clubs in your area and consider sponsoring people who would like to participate who might have difficulty with fees.  
    • Start a community garden.  Encourage youth, adults and seniors to all take an active role in the process. For help getting started, email Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners or call 703-324-8556.  The Let's Move Toolkit for Faith-based and Neighborhood Organizations also includes a step by step guide on how to get started.
    • Serve nutritious and healthy foods at work, community or faith events.  Consider something like fruit kabobs instead of sugary treats.
    • Contact your local grocery story to see if they do healthy eating cooking demonstrations.
  • Organize guest speakers, classes or seminars about healthy eating to be held in your workplace, school, faith or community organization.  
  • Start a Public Awareness Campaign.  You can get started by Hosting a Community Forum using the Fairfax County Youth Survey Nutrition and Physical Activity Presentation, Handouts and Resources.  Involve local experts such as nutritionists and fitness trainers.  Invite parents, community leaders, and youth to find out more about the issues.  Share resources available in your community and discuss what you as a community can do to prevent obesity and promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Host a movie night to raise health awareness.  Find educational films or movies that address the consequences of poor diet and nutrition. Have a group discussion about what happens in the movie and how things could have been handled better.
  • Promote “Three to Succeed”!  Youth Survey data and national data show that youth are more likely to thrive and less likely to participate in risk behaviors when they have just three assets or strengths.   Want to know more about assets?  View the  Risk and Protective Factors in Fairfax County fact sheet.

View these websites for more ideas

Let's Move Toolkit for Faith-based and Neighborhood Organizations

We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition) Energize our Community: Toolkit for Action

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Teen Dating Abuse and Domestic Violence

Fairfax County Youth Survey Teen Dating Abuse Fact Sheet
Teen Dating Abuse in Fairfax County video icon
Understanding Teen Dating Violence
Love Is Respect

  • Recognize the signs of teen dating abuse and take action by talking to your child about what is going on in his/her life and reach out to parents, the school, and the community for help. Visit Break the Cycle: Dating Violence 101  to learn more.
  • Know, practice and discuss healthy relationship behavior in your home.
    • Engage the teens in your family and talk to them about healthy and safe relationships. 
    • Spend quality time with your teen(s) and meet his/her friends. 
    • Model positive and respectful behavior in your own relationships and encourage your teen(s) to do the same. 
    • Remember that dating abuse is not limited to only physical and/or sexual abuse.  Emotional or verbal abuse and other types of controlling behaviors can be just as unsafe or unhealthy. 
    • Don’t focus only on girls.  Both girls and boys can be victims and perpetrators of teen dating abuse.
    • If you are concerned that your child is a victim of dating abuse, view Prevention Agencies and Organizations for suggested resources.
  • Use your school staff as a resource. Let children and teens know that school counselors, psychologists and social workers are available to listen to their concerns. Resources and help are available in their school.  Visit Fairfax County Public Schools Intervention and Prevention Services.
  • Reach out to other youth and share what you know about healthy relationships.  Listen to their concerns and and offer guidance. 
  • Get involved with a youth group at a local house of worship, community center, school, or civic center.  Engage the youth in conversation and talk about the signs of teen dating abuse, resources for help, and things that teens can do to help a friend.  Don’t just hold one “chat session” about teen dating abuse.  Follow up with regular sessions where the youth can freely and safely express themselves and listen with an open mind about issues they face in everyday life.  If you don’t know all of the answers to the questions the youth may ask, reach out to a professional. If there is not a youth group in your area, get involved with a community group to start one.
  • Organize guest speakers, classes or seminars to be held in your workplace, school, faith or community organization.
  • Start a Public Awareness Campaign.  You can get started by Hosting a Community Forum using the Fairfax County Youth Survey Teen Dating Abuse Presentation, Handouts and Resources.  Involve local experts such as domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, and school representatives.  Invite parents, community leaders, and youth to find out more about the issue.  Share resources available in your community and discuss what you as a community can do to prevent dating abuse.  Visit these sites to learn more about services that are available to the public.
  • Host a movie night to raise depression awareness.  Find educational depression and suicide prevention films or movies with these themes in the story. Have a group discussion about what happens in the movie and how things could have been handled better.
  • Promote “Three to Succeed”!  Youth Survey data and national data show that youth are more likely to thrive and less likely to participate in risk behaviors when they have just three assets or strengths.   Want to know more about assets?  View the  Risk and Protective Factors in Fairfax County fact sheet. 

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