• Megann Horstead

Substance abuse prevention focus of parent, youth forum


The Will County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will host its second annual parent and youth forum Aug. 29 at Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox.

The event, by design, aims to move the dialogue forward on substance abuse and its impact to community youth and their families.

“We want to continue to educate community youth,” said Bonnie McPhillips, a board member for the Will County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. “We decided on a second location to hold the second forum. Education is important for substance abuse prevention.”

The program, moderated by Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley, will feature commentary from guest speakers, as well as a question-and-answer session between the audience and the speakers.

Featured speakers and guests include James Glasgow, of the Will County State’s Attorney Office; Patrick O’Neil, of the Will County Coroner’s Office; Scott Slocum, of WJOL; Pamela McGee, formerly of the WNBA; Pastor Jolinda Wade, of New Creation Church; Alando Tucker, formerly of the NBA; Roger Powell Jr., formerly of the NBA.

“We wanted both male and female perspectives,” McPhillips said.

McPhillips said the coalition wants the forum to be interactive and engaging for all.

Throughout the event, attendees will have opportunities to win giveaways.

“It gets youth excited,” McPhillips said.

McPhillips said it is clear that athletes are able to connect with the community youth in ways that others may not.

Last year, an estimated 300 people attended the event.

McPhillips said the coalition would like to see several hundred students and their parents at the forum.

“We want all the schools in the Lincoln-Way feeder school district to get involved,” she said.

McPhillips said the coalition wants to target all of Will County.

The Will County Sheriff’s In Plain Sight Trailer will be stationed at the event to give people a chance to walk through it and ask questions.

McPhillips said the work of the coalition has been successful since it hosted its last forum.

“We’ve got more youth in the coalition,” she said. “They’ve done training and events.”

The coalition is currently partnering with the Will County Health Department on a tobacco initiative.

“We think it’s an exciting partnership,” McPhillips. “We’re working collaboratively to educate the community.”

McPhillips said they’re looking to advocate for tobacco-free parks.

“There are places where tobacco-free environments would be helpful,” she said. “It’s a good initiative. It’s a natural collaboration.”

If you go…

Parent and youth forum

When: Aug. 29 at 4 p.m.

Where: Lincoln-Way West High School auditorium

#NewLenox

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