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Department Of Education, National Guard To Collaborate On Youth Prevention Strategies

Members of the New Hampshire Department of Education and the New Hampshire National Guard sign a memorandum of understanding to work collaboratively on youth substance abuse preventions strategies.

A first of its kind plan between New Hampshire organizations focuses on bolstering drug and alcohol abuse collaborations.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Education has reached a memorandum of understanding with the New Hampshire National Guard’s Counter Drug Task Force to work collaboratively on youth drug and underage alcohol prevention strategies with department’s Bureau of Student Wellness. The framework of the agreement will allow both organizations to share a community planning process in an effort to curb substance misuse in Granite State communities. The MOU is the first of its kind in the nation between an education department and a National Guard.

The Guard’s Counter Drug Task Force and Student Wellness agree to work collaboratively to coach, facilitate, train, and support processes that are known to have the greatest impact on a community’s ability to address substance misuse concerns leveraging military-specific knowledge, and skills. The organizations will be using the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, a research-based approach to help young people build resiliency and become caring, responsible, and productive adults by emphasizing positive experiences and qualities.

“This really reflects a great partnership of two important state agencies, working together, to find ways to support one another while building resiliency in our students, our families, and our communities,” said Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education.

“Prevention is a critical aspect to fighting the opioid crisis,” added Gov. Chris Sununu. “This innovative public-partnership will help serve as a national model so organizations can share best practices all for one reason: better outcomes for our children.”

Communities – including schools and drug-free coalitions – will be trained in best practices to implement effective drug prevention planning tools as well as public affairs and messaging efforts specific to their substance misuse concerns and initiatives. The agreement allows the state to utilize initiatives the New Hampshire National Guard has been using to perform prevention and message anti-drug initiatives since the late-1980s.

“The reason why this partnership is so important is it allows the New Hampshire National Guard to support – not supplant – the New Hampshire Department of Education in fighting for drug use prevention and early intervention,” said Brig. Gen. David Mikolaities. “As a community-based organization, we’re here to help the constituents of the state of New Hampshire. It matters to us what happens in our communities. This is just another avenue that allows to do that.”

Bureau of Student Wellness
The New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of Student Wellness was formed in 2014, in an effort to assist the needs of local school districts to support students as they become fully productive members of society. The bureau focuses on affecting real, meaningful change in the lives of all Granite Staters while remaining fiscally responsible, culturally competent, and family and youth driven. Student wellness is the recognition by schools, districts, and educational professionals that there are many factors that impact a student’s academic attainment. It is an approach that focuses on supporting the whole child. The dimensions of wellness include: emotional, personal, intellectual, physical, environmental, occupational, and social factors.

New Hampshire National Guard
Since 1989, the New Hampshire National Guard’s Counterdrug Program has worked to impact the supply and demand of illicit drugs and within New Hampshire’s borders. We support supply reduction by providing analytical support to various law enforcement agencies in their efforts to curb the flow of drugs into our state. We support demand reduction by working with community based organizations to lessen the interest in illicit drugs and alcohol, especially by youth. Our unique planning approaches help communities identify assets and issues, and help organize those communities to address drug issues at the grassroots level.

Caption: Brig. Gen. David Mikolaities, seated left, of the New Hampshire National Guard, and Frank Edelblut, right, signed a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 6, 2018, to work together on substance abuse prevention. Pictured in the back, from left to right, are Bhagirath Khatiwada, Kelly Untiet, Ellen Desmond, Helene Anzalone, Melissa Lee, and Michelle Myler, of the Bureau of Student Wellness, and Lt. Col. Eugene Mozzoni, MSgt. Amanda Bates, Staff Sgt. Richard Frost, and Capt. Craig Sanderson of the New Hampshire National Guard.

A video of the signing ceremony can be found here on YouTube.

The memorandum can be viewed in this link in Word. Word document

Microsoft Word Symbol Microsoft Word format. You can download a free reader from Microsoft.

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711