Hitting Home: Parents invited to anti-drug discussions

After an unprecedented turnout for last year’s event, the Mountain Brook Anti-Drug Coalition and Mountain Brook Schools are inviting parents to home discussions for their second Hitting Home program.

“We have always felt that parent involvement is one of the most critical weapons  for combating underage drinking, and we want to do what we can to encourage conversation about this topic,” said Leigh Ann Sisson, co-chairman of the Mountain Brook Anti-Drug Coalition. “We hope to see many parents this year.”

The event will held in homes on Monday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Last year, about 210 parents met in six homes around town, on the same evening and at the same time. 

“The remarkable thing about that level of participation is that we have not been able to come close to that number of parents coming to programs on this kind of topic when we’ve held them in school facilities,” said Dale Wisely, director of student services at Mountain Brook Schools. “In fact, in a survey we did of parents who participated last year, 98 percent said they preferred having meetings like this in homes and neighborhoods, rather than in school facilities.”

Each home hosts a speaker as well as school administrators and counselors to provide support.  The program covers statistics about underage drinking among Mountain Brook youth and suggests resources and parenting tips.

Parents who participated last year said they wanted more time to interact with each other and with the speaker. They also indicated that they wanted to discuss more practical ideas about what to do in various situations involving alcohol and their teenagers.

To accommodate these requests, eight homes will host smaller groups than last year. The speakers will provide a shorter program and allow more time for discussion.

Four of the eight homes will be for elementary parents, and the other four will be for junior high and high school parents. The facilitators will be: Dr. Angela Stowe, 11th grade counselor at MBHS, Licensed Professional Counselor; Mr. Kenneth Harkless, student support counselor at MBHS and experienced addictions counselor; Dr. Steven Taylor, a local pediatrician, psychologist and addictionologist; Dr. Dale Wisely, Director of Student Services at Mountain Brook Schools  and a clinical psychologist; Leslie Cross, counselor at Mountain Brook Elementary; Alla Lewis, counselor at Crestline Elementary; Leigh Cohen Long, Student Intervention Specialist at Homewood City Schools; Gloria Anderson, former Director of Student Services at Mountain Brook Schools, Licensed Professional Counselor.

Event organizers deliberately don’t indicate which leaders will be at which home.

Host homes will be announced soon. Parents will be asked to RSVP online. For more information, visit www.mountainbrook-antidrug.org.

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