DCP/SAFE gives updates, presents awards

DeKALB – More than 130 community members of all ages came together on Oct. 1 to celebrate drug and alcohol prevention efforts in DeKalb County at the DCP/SAFE Coalition’s 24th annual assembly. The assembly reflects on the previous year, recognizes community members for their commitment and looks ahead to the future.

At this year’s assembly, 22 organizations and individuals were awarded certificates of appreciation for their continued support of DCP/SAFE as well as their dedication and commitment to making DeKalb County a safer and healthier place. Honorees included Dennis Waymire, Marisa Kafka, Kristal Templin, P.J. Hamilton, Ken Dawson, Elizabeth Hoerchler, Ben Mueller, Carinna Corbett, Veronica Garcia-Martinez, Alton Parker, Pam Rockwood, Sandwich High School Youth Action Group, Kishwaukee Education Consortium Youth Action Group, New Hope Baptist Church, Sycamore State Theater, Kishwaukee Family YMCA, DeKalb Park District, Ollie’s Frozen Custard, Midwest Museum of Natural History, Dairy Dogs, Kishwaukee United Way and DeKalb County InVironments Magazine.

The DeKalb Police Department received the excellence award, given to an individual or organization that has demonstrated excellence in their efforts to reduce alcohol and substance abuse among DeKalb County youth. The department received this award for multiple initiatives in 2013 under Chief Gene Lowery’s plan 20/20 – A Clear Vision for the Future. For more information about the plan, visit cityofdekalb.com/Police.htm.

After the awards ceremony, the DeKalb County KEYS Initiative reported the results of the 2013 Developmental Assets survey. In the spring of 2013, the KEYS Initiative administered a survey to nearly 3,600 youth in DeKalb County. The survey measures developmental asset levels, risk behaviors, and thriving indicators. The latest data indicates youth are doing slightly better in 2013 than during the last survey administration in 2007.

The final portion of the assembly featured guest speaker Debbie Bockstahler. In a very personal account, Bockstahler addressed the audience about the epidemic of heroin overdose. In July 2012, Bockstahler’s son died of heroin overdose. Since that time, she has committed herself to bringing awareness to the topic. She began a campaign on Facebook, “Drug Awareness: A Mother’s Cry” to share stories of people dealing with substance abuse. Bockstahler congratulated the youth in attendance for being involved in making healthy choices and encouraged everyone to become educated and aware of substance use and available resources.