After a few months of planning, The Connecting Our Community Fall Resource Fair was held in the Young Student Center on Wednesday September 19th. In an effort to inform the community of Keene–both the college and the city– the Young Student Center hosted a variety of behavior health, wellness, and substance abuse programs. This is the second event of this nature that the Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition, has sponsored here at Keene State College. In the Spring of 2018, the Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition hosted the Connecting Our Community Spring Resource Fair in the Mable Brown Room of the Young Student Center. The Fall Resource Fair was co-sponsored by the Southwest Center for Emotional Support at Keene State College, as well as Monadnock Voices for Prevention.
According to the event’s page on the Keene State College website, the fair was hosted to inform the community of the behavior health and wellness resources available to them in the community, and how to access them. Director of the Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition Sarah Johnston said, “Our hope is that as many wellness services in the area would come so that it isn’t just focused on substance misuse and behavioral health, but ways to increase the likelihood that those challenges won’t come about. For example Title I Ready for Kindergarten, we have Big Brothers and Big Sisters and some other entities that are increasing preventative factors for young adults.”
Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition co-sponsored the event, coordinating with the various groups that came to the fair. Johnston said, “Most of the booths here are community partners, so we already work with them in some form or fashion.” Johnston added that there were a few booths who reached out either to Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition, or the Monadnock Voices for Prevention.
Since the late 1990s America has been struggling with an opiate epidemic that kills tens of thousands of people per year.
According to Johnston, MADAC started in the City of Keene in 2003 and branched out to become a regional prevention group. Along with other coalitions Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition, also known as MADAC, formed Monadnock Voices for Prevention. Johnston said: “They became part of the regional public health network, they applied for drug free community grant funding and received it in 2009, so we are heading into our final year actually, September 30 2019 we will be done, because the DFC Grant is a ten year grant, it’s up to ten years, you can apply for the first five years and then apply for another five years, and like I said, we’re heading into our tenth year.”
Chloe, a first year student, came for the Hootie’s Points. Chloe said that she learned a lot about vaping through reading the pamphlets at the fair. Chloe said, “I have learned a lot actually, just through all of the pamphlets about vaping, just that a lot of the things that I thought aren’t actually accurate…I do vape…I didn’t know that it had all of these different chemicals in it, formaldehyde, nickel, and [Acetaldehyde] which is used in paint stripper. It’s definitely changed my thoughts on vaping. I don’t know how effective that change is but it has changed it.”
Sam, a first-year student who stumbled across the fair while coming into the Student Center to work on homework said, “I see a lot of stands dedicated to drug and alcohol abuse and I think that’s good. It’s not that people should avoid it, but they should be educated about it, what’s safe.”
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