RITTMAN – Imagine strolling along the bank of a river when a baby suddenly drowns in the current.
They jump in, save the child and bring them back to safety. Then you see another baby in the river and jump back to save it too. Then another and another and another.
Using this analogy, Rob Gable describes the often overwhelming work of treating drug abuse in a community.
"At some point someone went upriver and found out: Why do babies come into the river and how does it happen at all," said Rob Gable, chairman of the Rittman SALT Coalition. A voluntary organization that does not focus on treatment services, but on prevention and education of drug abuse. "Here we are. It is our job to get ahead and keep our children, the children of our community, from getting into trouble and making risky decisions that will lead to drowning."
The group was founded in 2008 and has grown to 34 members from all parts of the community.
"We have members of the clergy, members of law enforcement, the city government, business owners and then only affected citizens," said Gable. As a rule, eight to 15 members take part in the coalition meetings, which take place on the third Monday of each month from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. in the media room of Rittman High School.
Mayor Bill Robertson has been a member since the founding of Rittman SALT, an acronym for Substance Awareness Leadership Team.
"The whole drug problem is just so frustrating to me that it is still going on, and we don't get any news about the dangers to adults and children," Robertson said. "And so this group was a way for me to feel like I was spreading the message that I was doing something about it."
All members of the group, Gable said, are committed to promoting their mission to "help young people in the region reach their full potential by staying alcohol, tobacco and drug free." .
"There must be people out there who work to make sure that no tragedies happen," he said. "And that's exactly what the coalition is doing. All community coalitions are working to prevent children and families from needing treatment and recovery services."
The Rittman SALT Coalition is one of five community-based coalitions in Wayne County that focus on preventing drug abuse. Others are: The Turning Point Coalition in Orrville, the CIRCLE Coalition in Wooster, Norwayne SALT, a subcommittee of the Rittman Group serving the Norwayne school district, and Chippewa CARES in Doylestown, which is not currently meeting, although it is currently planned to start the group new.
"These groups are very important for the prevention of drug abuse because they are made up of the residents of each community," said Nonya Wenger, the community coalition manager at OneEighty, who acts as a financial agent for each group the groups. "By working with different sectors of a community (such as parents), law enforcement agencies and schools … we get different perspectives on a community's concerns and can work together on solutions and educational issues to help the community participate in solutions and solutions . "
In pursuit of its mission, the Rittman SALT Coalition works closely with the Teen Institute through the Rittman Exempted Village Schools. The student-led group has approximately 30 members, mainly in middle school, who organize meetings and activities to encourage peers to avoid risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.
The coalition also works with schools to provide monthly parent notifications with information on drug abuse prevention and education, and supports a safe home pledge where parents promise to underage or otherwise not allow drug abuse in their home.
"So if you are a parent and want to make sure your child goes to a safe home, you can check if they say: & # 39; I want to go to Johnny's house & # 39; See Whether Johnny's parents signed the promise to be drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free in their home, "said Gable.
In addition, the group promotes community engagement and education by running a booth at the annual Rittman Sleepwalker Festival and sponsoring activities such as sham testing for students and presentations on the dangers of steaming.
– Reporter Jack Rooney can be reached at 330-287-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Twitter at twitter.com/RooneyReports.
Name: Rittman SALT Coalition
About: The Rittman SALT Coalition is a community-based volunteer organization that works to creating an environment in the community that helps keep children free from alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Help: Participate in one of the coalition meetings that take place every third Monday of the month from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. in the media room of Rittman High School.