CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS WEEK 2014
Sunday, February 9 - Saturday, February 15
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIFE OF COAS AND HONORING RECOVERY –AN ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF HOPE AND HEALING
During Children of Alcoholics Week you and your organization can be a part of a grassroots nationwide and international celebration spreading the word that children living with addiction in the family need the support of caring adults. During this week we join our voices and connect our activities to raise awareness that children of addiction can be encouraged and supported just knowing there are safe people who can help. By raising our voices together we can encourage able, caring adults to be there for children who suffer when a parent abuses alcohol and other drugs.
We can also reach the children with important information. Children living with addiction in their family need to know that it is not their fault that a parent is alcoholic or drug addicted. They need to hear the message, “It’s a disease; it is not your fault, and there are safe people who can help.”
During this special week, choose to speak out, to reach out, to get the word out that all too often, it’s the children who are hurt the most when parents are addicted. The right message from caring adults or being included in an educational support group can make a world of difference for them. Join thousands of NACoA affiliates and friends during this important annual celebration.
Your own experience in your community and organization will inform you how you can have the greatest impact but we want to suggest some of the many ways your organization and you, as a private citizen, can make a difference during Children of Alcoholics Week 2014:
- Speak out as an organization and as an individual. Advocate for the children and families affected by alcoholism and other drug dependencies. An estimated 25 percent of all children in the U.S. (about 27.8 million) are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. Their needs often go unaddressed for a variety of reasons – some emotional, some financial, and all very persistent. It doesn’t have to be that way! For more ideas and resources, see SAMHSA’s booklet “Children of Alcoholics: A Guide to Community Action.”
- Ask Churches and Other Faith-Based Organizations to join in Children of Alcoholics Week. Something as simple as recognition in the bulletin and newsletter would be a start. Suggest that they make available to young congregants the pamphlet It Feels So Bad and to adult members Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families…and it Hurts. Ask that Children of Alcoholics Week be announced in the bulletin and that the COA Week poster be on display from Sunday February 9 through Saturday, February 15. Another idea: Send the free handbook for clergy, Preventing and Addressing Alcohol and Drug Problems: A Handbook for Clergy, to your own clergy as your gift to them to use all year round. Call NACoA (1-888-554-2627) about obtaining an adequate quantity of the handbooks and for suggestions.
- Stimulate a Proclamation. Join with other groups in your town or state to persuade the mayor or governor or state legislators to make an official proclamation of Children of Alcoholics Week 2014. Announce the event with as much fanfare as possible, including a kick-off press conference and as much TV or radio coverage as you can attract. Work with the public affairs office that serves the official who will be signing the proclamation. (See attached Sample Proclamation.) Arrange a radio interview for a local authority or call NACoA (1-888-554-2627) to help get a national authority.
- Use COA Week to fundraise. Being Valentine’s Day week use flowers or candies as a way to bring in donations. Other Options: 1. Sell Valentine’s Day items to raise money. 2. Partner up with local restaurants and businesses for a percentage of a day’s earnings to be donated. 3. Ask if local businesses will allow you to leave a donation container on their counter during COA week to raise money. For other ideas contact NACoA’s Jackie Endicott (1-301-468-0985) or Melissa Sauve (1-301-476-6231 ext.1004)
- Engage health care professional associations and managed care organizations. Contact your community’s health care professional associations (hospital association, medical and dental society, nurses’ association) and managed care organizations. Show them the Children of Alcoholics Week poster and other educational materials. Make a request for them to be shared on the office’s notice board and patient education material table.
- Distribute Prepared Materials. Celebrate Children of Alcoholics Week 2014 with a simple information distribution campaign. Using material already developed, call and visit the offices of organizations whose work is like yours or otherwise well-suited to the messages of Children of Alcoholics Week. Ask them to display the Children of Alcoholics Week 2014 poster and other materials in their public areas.
- Sell the Money-Saving Aspects of Prevention to City/County Managers. Use basic statistics about addiction and its impact on families to dramatize the potential costs to local governments. Let the numbers convince them that it is money-saving, as well as compassionate, to speak up for and promote prevention programs such as youth mentoring; student assistance programs in schools; or to support programs in health clinics. Savings will come in reductions in health care, human services, and criminal justice costs avoided through investment in prevention. (See Children of Addicted Parents: Important Facts for State and Local Government Agencies. For more on this see “COAs and Economic Costs” by Dr. Alison Snow-Jones.
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