What’s Up.

Well, it’s been a good, long while since we’ve made any posts on this little blog.  We figured this was a good time to provide an update on what CGAP is up to.  After all, it’s kept us so busy we haven’t managed to share here in ages.

  • We continue to meet every month.  Please consider joining us on the fourth Thursday of each month at 9:00 a.m.  In February we will be meeting in the conference room of the Fort Bragg Police Department.
  • Fort Bragg Police Department, Fort Bragg Unified School District and CGAP are pooling their resources towards providing a School Resource Officer for our schools.
  • Parents hold a monthly support group with Mendocino County Youth Project’s Carla Leach. This group provides a place for families that are working through their child’s involvement with gangs, drugs and alcohol.
  • Mendocino Coast TV, Fort Bragg Police Department and CGAP are working a video project that will provide education about preventing underage drinking and over serving of alcohol at public events.
  • A group of CGAP members is preparing a document that outlines the services related to gang prevention that are currently available on the Coast.  This matrix will help prepare grant applications and ensure continued funding for vital programs.

That’s just a little bit of what we’re up to.  Thanks for stopping by.


The Resource List for Parents of Teens

One of greatest thing about CGAP is the energy and connection in the room during our monthly meetings.  That connection, in particular, has often times spilled out of the room and helped to create collaborations between different sectors of the community.  These collaborations take different shapes, sometimes they are joint grant applications, or an event where resources are shared.  In the early days of CGAP a great resource was created through that spirit of teamwork and it has been kept up over the last several years.

We present the freshly updated Resource List for Parents of Teens in both Spanish and English.  In this one page document you will see names of individuals and organizations that are regularly attending CGAP members, but you will also see some equally important names and contact information that are not members of the Coalition.  The purpose of this resource is that a parent or caregiver have something that they can quickly refer to when they need some help working with the teens in their life, so we have strived to make it as complete and accurate as possible.

Please feel free to print as many of these as you need and to distribute them amongst your friends and colleagues.

Many thanks to Safe Passage Family Resource Center for helping to maintain this document all these years.

National Night Out and Neighborhood Watch

National Night Out LogoIn the last several months, Chief Mayberry and the officers at the Fort Bragg Police Department have been working with concerned community members to revitalize the Neighborhood Watch program.  CGAP members are pleased to be involved in this effort by helping to raise awareness of the local program and connecting people to community resources.

Many local participants in the Neighborhood Watch program will be participating in the National Night Out on August 7th.  Locally, the National Night Out will include cook outs and neighbors walking around their communities to get to know each other.  If you plan to participate in the National Night Out, please consider letting the Fort Bragg Police Department know, so they can recognize you and your block.  For some history and resources related to National Night Out check out this page.

Ms. Elaine Ball is a champion of the Fort Bragg Neighborhood Watch programs, having made a commitment to improve the safety of the area where she lives and the Bainbridge Park.  In the past few months, Elaine has organized and hosted an informational forum, produced brochures and assembled a great team of neighbors to help in her mission.  Elaine is happy to work with anybody interested in the program to help them on their way to creating a more safe and happy neighborhood.  If you would like to work with Elaine, please contact CGAP at mramos@mcn.org or 813-0778 and we will put you in touch with her.




Family Beach DayFor the last five years CGAP members have provided support for the Gang Resistance is Paramount (GRIP) prevention program presented at Dana Gray Elementary.  The GRIP program is presented to fifth graders throughout Mendocino County.  This year the Fort Bragg program was made possible by a generous donation from the Fort Bragg Police Department and coordination by Redwood Childrens Services. The curriculum utilizes group discussion, activities, movies and special guests to teach the students about the real consequences of gang involvement, positive ways to respond to peer pressure, strategies to protect themselves and friends from bullying and positive alternatives to the life of drug abuse, crime and hurt that accompany gang involvement.

The culminating activity for Dana Gray fifth graders for the last two years has been brainstorming a list of positive activities that are available to people their age in the coastal Mendocino County area.  Students work in small groups for about 45 minutes to prepare their lists, learning about the activities their peers are doing outside of school, and even creating some new ideas on the spot.  The lists created by each small group are then compiled in to one giant list that is presented to each student along with a t-shirt and certificate during their final GRIP class.

This year’s fifth graders did a fantastic job on their lists, coming up with 237 different ideas!  What really stands out about the activities they selected is that so many of them are free and are great ways for families to spend time together.  Here is a small sample of some of their great ideas:

  • go fishing
  • jump on a trampoline
  • go to the skatepark
  • read a book
  • pick up litter
  • take pictures
  • clean your room
  • look in tide pools
  • have dinner with your family
  • sing
  • make origami
  • do Zumba
  • go to a Grange breakfast
  • volunteer at the Humane Society
  • ride a bike
  • play soccer
  • watch a sporting event
  • be a cheerleader
  • go on a picnic
  • play at Wiggly Giggly Park
  • dress up
  • go for a walk on the Haul Road
  • knit
  • split firewood
  • babysit

Here is the complete list: Positive Activities for 5th Graders 2012

-Miranda Ramos

Alcohol Awareness Month – A recap

Whoa!  Here we are in May already.  The year is flying past.  It seems like we were just gearing up for Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM) at the end of March.

One of the best things about AAM for me was gathering and distributing all of the great online resources about alcohol use and abuse.  I thought that this would be a great place to highlight some of the best sites that I found with a bit of a description of each one.

Underage Drinking

Much of our work this month focused on underage drinking.  Even here, in the Emerald Triangle, alcohol is the drug most often used by adolescents, including those in gangs.  Fortunately, there are a lot of fantastic sites designed for both teens and parents that address underage drinking.

The Cool Spot is a site designed for younger teens to learn facts about alcohol and strategies for dealing with peer pressure to drink.  One of my favorite pages on the site talks about the peer pressure “bag of tricks”.  It helps kids understand that when their friends use rejection, put downs and reasoning on them it is to pressure them into making decisions they may not be comfortable with.  The Cool Spot also includes several interactive sections that provide facts and advice.

Stop Teen Drinking is a sleek, easily navigated site.  You’ve probably seen some of the printed materials associated with this site around town.  They have a great brochure that includes all of the factoids from their site.  The resource page of their site is great, it provides contact information for Mendocino County services.  Yeah, locals!

If there is one site about underage drinking that you go to, please have it be The Unconscious Truth.  This page is a project of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and features an incredibly well made film about the effects of teen drinking.  The film is based on a real life tragedy and must be seen to be appreciated.  Students in the alternative high school in Fort Bragg have watched the Student Edition of the movie and were quite impressed.

General Drug and Alcohol Information

One of the most well-known sites in this category is Above the Influence.  These folks are web savvy, having Facebook, twitter, YouTube and google+ accounts.  Their site is not focused on one specific drug, but provides clearly written information about many different types of drugs.  In addition, they provide help with peer pressure and educational videos by and for teens.

A lesser known site is Drug Free World.  This site is stunning and fully interactive.  It includes videos, quizzes, printable resources and testimonials.  One of the best features is its accessibility; it is available in several languages.  The site also allows people to order a free educational DVD and kit.

I hope that you will have an opportunity to check out some of these resources and share them with your family and friends.  Please let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Miranda Ramos


Lessons from the Gang Culture in Communities Toolbox

On Saturday, February 11th, Fort Bragg’s Town Hall was filled with people wishing to learn more about recognizing the signs of youth gang involvement, tools for the community to address the gang problem and ways to prevent our children from joining gangs.  Gang awareness and community development expert Bob Florez of Sunny Hills Services in Santa Rosa spoke on these topics and more during this excellent workshop.  CGAP was pleased to co-sponsor this special presentation with Mendocino College’s Foster and Kin Care Education Program.

Participants in the workshop represented varied sectors of the community including parents, foster families, city officials, law enforcement, schools, small businesses and local non-profit agencies.  Bob reminded the group that acknowledging and understanding the unique perspectives that these different groups have on each child is key to a community response to gangs.  Ultimately, all of these perspectives share the common goal of raising safe, healthy, educated children that will contribute positively to their community.

Of particular interest to the families and school staff in the audience was the list of signs of possible gang involvement that Bob provided.  The list included some items that are common in many adolescents such as withdrawal from family activities and a desire for privacy, but also featured things more specific to gang involvement, like a new nickname, use of hand signs and use of graffiti on their backpacks, schoolwork and bodies.  It is important to remember that presence of these signs may or may not mean a child is involved in and hanging around with a gang, but it should certainly merit some investigation.  For a more comprehensive list of signs of possible gang involvement, please see this page.

Another topic that was discussed intensively was what can be done to help keep kids away from the dangers of gang involvement.  Bob counseled that parents should have the following items on their “checklist”:

  • Spend time with your children, and do activities together as a family.
  • Know your children’s friends and their friends’ families.
  • Monitor where your children go and with whom.
  • Let your children know that they can come to you any time with any problem.
  • Teach your children to respect other people, their rights and their ideas.
  • Support your children by being involved in their education.
  • Do not attempt to resolve problems by yelling or using violence.
  • Give your children warm, unconditional affection.

Mr. Florez shared many other valuable insights regarding gang recruiting techniques, decoding graffiti, and gang trends.  Please stay tuned to this blog for more on those in future posts.

Many thanks to Bob for sharing his knowledge with our community!

Project SUCCESS!

In our last post we featured the school-based prevention  that our Program Specialist, Emily Husson, brings to students in the Fort Bragg Unified School District.

At Fort Bragg Middle School more than 120 seventh graders participated in the Project SUCCESS Curriculum.  An important facet of any program or curriculum is evaluation.  In the case of Project SUCCESS we need to ensure that our young participants are learning about drugs, alcohol, positive choices and refusal skills.  To determine what students learned during their eight weeks in the curriculum they completed pre-surveys and post-surveys and then responses were then compared by our Evaluator, Kathy Hopper.  Overall, there was a 71% increase in correct answers from the pre-survey to the post-survey!   What follows below are some specific highlights from the evaluation that Kathy prepared.

  • There was a nearly 500% increase in the percentage of students that correctly understood the alcohol content of a can of beer as compared to a shot of liquor.
  • There was a 131% increase in the percentage of students that correctly understood the concept of addiction.
  • There was a 155% increase in the percentage of students that correctly understood chemically addicted people’s ability to function.
  • There was a 258% increase in the percentage of students that understood the likelihood of family members being able to get their chemically dependent relatives to stop using.

To get further insight into students’ learning in the class, on the post-survey they were asked to provide answers to the three open-ended questions.  Below you will find the questions and some selected responses:

What did you like best about the class?

  • Doing experiments.
  • Police officers coming in to the class.
  • Getting prizes and playing games.
  • Getting to talk about stuff.
  • Listening to all the options to take in a situation.
  • Getting educated about serious things.
  • Learning what we are up against.
  • Learning about how drugs affect you and your family.
  • The teacher’s attitude.
  • My parents think that it’s great that we are learning about this stuff.

What would you like to learn more about?

  • I would like to learn how to refuse better.
  • I would like to learn more about how to stop using drugs and alcohol.
  • I would like to learn more about what goes on in the body.
  • How drugs affect your whole family.
  • Why drugs are so addicting.
  • Adolescence.
  • Coping skills.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Teen drinking.

What changes have you made in your life or behavior because of what you learned in the class?

  • Just looking at drug people a different way.
  • I’ve learned to deal with stress better, and I do.
  • To not use drugs!
  • I’ve been able to refuse a drug more respectfully.
  • I’m not ever gonna drink because I now know the consequences.
  • I promised myself I wouldn’t take unnecessary drugs of any kind.
  • To look at all things offered to me with caution.
  • How to stop using drugs and alcohol.
  • I told one of my family members to stop and gave them lots of reasons.

All-in-all it looks that the implementation of Project SUCCESS during the 2011-2012 school year was a great success, indeed!