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2 schools work with GCASA to step up drug prevention efforts

Photo by Tom Rivers: Diana Fulcomer, a prevention educator with the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, is pictured with Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville Central School. Fulcomer has been spending at least a day of week at the district this school year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2018 at 10:24 am

‘We’re trying to prevent kids from using the drugs that are killing people.’

Two school districts have increased the presence of prevention educators from the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Lyndonville and Medina both have GCASA staff in school buildings at least a day a week this school year. Diana Fulcomer has been working out of Lyndonville and Tracy Zakes has been connecting with Medina students.

“It’s been a great program,” said Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville Central School. “I appreciate the partnership with GCASA.”

Fulcomer and Zakes have age-specific programs, as well as workshops for parents.

The educators teach students about the dangers of addictive substances. Fulcomer in some of her presentations focuses on making healthy choices, which includes getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods and not spending too much time on social media.

Smith said he supports the expanded message – coping skills and making good choices.

“If the students are having issues with anxiety, we don’t want them turning to substances,” he said.

Lyndonville and Medina are both paying GCASA $3,500 this school year to have a prevention educator work out of the district.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina superintendent, said Zakes spends at least a day a week at the district. She meets with at-risk high schoolers and other students. She starts with students as young as third grade, teaching communication skills to those elementary students and urging them not to express their anger and frustration through violence.

“It’s going very well,” Kruzynski said about the partnership with GCASA. “Not only do we have the opioid epidemic, but kids today are exposed to so many things.”

Zakes some days spends a solid workday in the district, and other days might only be there a short time. Zakes has been a big asset in helping the district educate students about the dangers of drugs, he said.

“We’re trying to prevent kids from using the drugs that are killing people,” Kruzynski said.

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