5W Wednesday: SRSLY

Our 5W Wednesday series highlights a variety of health care organizations, professionals and
programs that keep our community healthy.

Who is SRSLY?
SRSLY, which is text language for SERIOUSLY, is a community coalition established to prevent destructive behavior in Chelsea youth with support from Chelsea Community Hospital and the Coghlan Family Foundation. SRSLY youth and community partners work together to change the Chelsea community in ways that will make it more likely that kids will make positive, healthy choices, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. The SRSLY community coalition is made up of youth, parents, neighbors, coaches, teachers, librarians, doctors, nurses, police officers, pastors, business owners, and anyone else who wants to prevent destructive behavior in Chelsea youth.

Why was the SRSLY Coalition formed?
Chelsea’s history of alcohol related tragedies over the years, and recent unhealthy behaviors in both the middle and high school has been a driving force for this initiative. The Coghlan Family Foundation partnered with Chelsea Community Hospital to create a program to address youth substance abuse in the community. The hospital worked closely with the Chelsea School District, and brought other community partners to the table to be a part of the coalition. In July 2008, the Chelsea Community Youth Collaborative, as it was referred to at that time, convened a group of community members concerned about youth substance abuse. Lead by Chelsea residents and prevention professionals Jim and Angela O’Neill, a needs assessment was conducted using local data and conditions. Bringing together local leaders from key sectors, the CCYC identified specific concerns and community strengths that would guide the long-range planning, programming, and evaluation of success. The result of this needs assessment was a problem statement, with prioritized contributing risk and protective factors.

Shortly after the 2008 Needs Assessment, the CCYC adopted a new name and logo: SRSLY. Instead of an acronym, SRSLY stands for “seriously,” as it is commonly spelled in instant or text messages. The new identity for the coalition was designed to appeal to a younger audience, signaling the importance of youth involvement and leadership in local prevention. Focus groups conducted with local Chelsea teens provided valuable insight, and helped adults in SRSLY understand some of the issues faced by youth in this community.

What does SRSLY do?
The campaign focuses on key transition points from elementary school to middle school, to high school, and students in the 10-15 year old age group. SRSLY works on prevention issues with these students and their parents, hoping to catch kids before they start using. Believe it or not, children as young as 10 years old begin using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. And prevention doesn’t end at age 15 – it’s just the beginning. SRSLY wants kids of all ages to make healthier choices, and people of all ages are encouraged to be involved in SRSLY.

SRSLY’s programs: Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) is designed to help youth in Chelsea develop the skills they need to create positive change in their community, including: teamwork and leadership, community assessment, and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
YES Projects include:

  • Bag ‘n Tag
  • Community Photovoice
  • Community Read

Guiding Good Choices is SRSLY’s evidence-based parent education program, implemented in response to the growing concern over the high rates of drug and alcohol use among Chelsea teens. Studies show that GGC is highly effective in reducing drug and alcohol use among kids whose parents participate. GGC consists of one two-hour workshop per week, for five weeks. Parents enjoy this skill-based program, and agree that their children’s health and safety are worth the ten-hour time investment. During lively, interactive workshops, parents learn practical skills to help them strengthen their relationship with their children, and help kids avoid drug use and other problems. Parents can participate in GGC by signing up for a session already scheduled or by scheduling their own session. Click here for more information.

When can I come to a coalition meeting?
The Coalition meets on the first Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00pm at the Washington Street Education Center Cafeteria in Chelsea, MI. The meetings are open to everyone ages 10 and up, including non-members. There is always pizza and fun!

Where can I find out more?
Check out the SRSLY website at www.srslychelsea.org
Contact Reiley Curran, Coalition Director at rcurran@srslychelsea.org

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