The Mobile/Baldwin County Community of Concern
The Community of Concern is a partnership of parents, students, schools, and other organizations working together through education and cooperation to keep youth alcohol, tobacco and other drug free.
St. Paul's Episcopal School has joined forces with Bayside Academy, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, St. Luke’s Episcopal School, and UMS-Wright Preparatory School to give our parents and children the tools, knowledge and guidance they need in order to help them make positive choices. Learning begins at home, and the partnership of parents, schools and students is a crucial component in encouraging the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by young people.
The COC at St. Paul's
The Community of Concern at St. Paul’s Episcopal School is more than educating parents on ways to give our youth the tools to empower them to make positive, healthy choices concerning drugs and alcohol. We also provide information through speakers and group discussion on other issues of concern that our youth are facing today. Community of Concern is parent-driven but St. Pauls’ has continued to be supportive and help provide leadership in promoting our mission.
Since 2008, St. Paul’s has been committed to the mission of COC. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, parents from grades 5 through 12 graciously opened their homes for parent “gatherings” to discuss the COC and give them the opportunity to ask questions and suggest speaker topics of interest or concern. They also heard from Jean Downing with Mobile’s Drug Education Council, who presented an overview of COC and frightening statistics on what is out there robbing our youth of their “youth.”
Once a quarter, St. Paul’s hosts “Brown Bag” lunch meetings with speakers from various agencies. Allison Covington with Bradford Health Services spoke during the first quarter, highlighting the dangers of K2 Spice, Dipping, and Date Rape Drugs. During the second quarter the St. Paul’s Mentor class came and talked about their work with the students in the elementary grades to educate them through role playing and discussion to empower them with making positive choices.
Last year, COC had a program called Conversations that Count, which involved our 8th graders and select senior students from the Mentor class as leaders. They broke into small groups and the 8th graders were given real-life situations to discuss and come up with choices on ways to handle the situations. It gave the younger students the opportunity to respond in a non-threatening environment so they could respond openly with their peers.
St. Paul's also helped to promote the recent program “Finding Kind,” a documentary on bullying, particularly among females. St. Paul’s offered this documentary to our students and parents as it portrayed a very real picture of the damaging and shocking issues relating to bullying, which has become prevalent in today’s society. The parent presentation was open to all schools in the community. The young women who produced the movie came as well and spoke to our students.
For our school-wide speaking events this year, Tommy Loftis, the Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Department of Justice, spoke to our students during assembly and the parents in the evening on “Internet Safety: What Every Parent Should Know to Protect Children from Online Predators.”
These are just a few of the topics and events that have been provided over the years. St. Paul’s is supportive in promoting Community of Concern, not only within our school, but throughout our community. Our youth are our main concern and it is our privilege and responsibility as parents and educators to educate ourselves so that we may learn better ways to communicate with and provide our children with the tools to make right choices.
There are adult grade representatives for each grade from 5 through 12, and all announcements for upcoming events are posted on the school website and web calendar. If there are any questions or suggestions please contact Jimmy Messer, Dean of Students, at 251-461-2147, or Susie Foster, Parent Representative for COC and Drug Education Council, at 251-454-0080. We want your suggestions and always your support!
For further details, visit the Community of Concern website, or read the local Community of Concern Parents' Guide.