United Way dollars help center provide help to youth in need of chemical dependency services

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

The Freeborn County Chemical Dependency Center was established to provide drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention programs, informational and educational materials to young people and their families, as well as diagnostic services to those experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.

The center is open to all residents of Freeborn County who are in need of Chemical Dependency services. An average of 630 people, including 200 youth are served in Freeborn County.

United Way donates 7.5 percent of the total budget of the center, but 50 percent of the budget for youth programs. This money provides youth chemical dependency assessments, one-one-one counseling, and group counseling. There are also workshops that run 4-8 weeks long and tobacco education classes for ages 12-15. The center focuses on positive ways to discourage drug use, such as going on &uot;alternative highs.&uot; Activities such as bowling, volleyball, picnics, etc. help adolescents to &uot;learn they can have a good time without using,&uot; said K Adamec, Co-director of the Chemical Dependency Center.

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All of these programs, which are very important for intervening with addiction in youth and teens early on, may be lost from cuts in grant funding and lack of United Way funds. These programs are so effective because, &uot;these kids aren’t addicted&uot; yet, and they &uot;can learn and make decisions much easier,&uot; Adamec said; they have &uot;been successful because (the kids) have been caught early enough.&uot;

Adamec also commented that there is a definite need for such educational and counseling programs to be directed towards the youth in Freeborn County, &uot;there’s a lot of kids that are heavily involved&uot; in drugs and alcohol.

Intervening when addictions have just begun is important in preventing adult addiction as well.

&uot;If the adolescents don’t get education and help…there will be more problems (when they are) adults,&uot; Adamec said, &uot;that’s why we work so hard to catch them when they’re younger.&uot;

The United Way is an essential part of the Chemical Dependency youth program. The center does not charge anything for its services. If there is a decrease in funding, there will be drastic cuts in the youth program, which may negatively effect underage drinking and drug use.

Contact the United Way if you are interested in making a donation, 373-8670 or write to: The United Way, 341 S. Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007.