Junta for Progressive Action receives $25,000 literacy grant from NewAlliance Foundation

This is an edited press release from NewAlliance Foundation:

NEW HAVEN — Junta for Progressive Action has received the inaugural $25,000 “Hi-5” High Impact Literacy Award from the NewAlliance Foundation.

This award will be granted annually to an organization in the NewAlliance Foundation service area that embodies the five attributes the foundation wishes to honor in the field of literacy: vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results.

Junta is located at 169 Grand Ave. in the Fair Haven section.

“We are very impressed with the difference Junta makes in Greater New Haven’s Latino and Spanish-speaking communities,” said Kim Healey, executive director of the foundation. “They not only teach English reading and language skills, but also improve literacy in the native language spoken by many community residents. The work they do gives people access to jobs and empowers families and individuals to reach their potential as productive citizens.”

A segment of the NewAlliance Foundation grant-making is targeted toward programs that empower people by developing literacy skills. The “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award” underscores the foundation’s commitment to supporting improvement in community literacy in all forms, including reading, digital, financial and health literacy. Each year, a non-profit organization or program will be eligible to receive this unsolicited grant. Junta for Progressive Action is the first such organization to be recognized by NewAlliance Foundation with this prestigious award.

“Junta’s adult GED program and financial and computer literacy offerings, along with its bilingual health guide, are providing critically necessary support in literally keeping people healthy and financially stable,” Healey said. “NewAlliance Foundation is proud to support Junta’s responsiveness and results.”

“We strongly believe in the power of literacy to advance our community, eliminate poverty and create a culture of education for many low-income families,” said Sandra Trevino, Junta’s executive director. “As one of our largest programs, adult education has provided thousands of students with the opportunity to learn English, obtain a GED, gain literacy in their native Spanish language and learn the importance and beauty of reading with their children.”

NewAlliance Foundation is an independent charitable foundation that provides financial support to charitable organizations addressing diverse community needs in the arts, community development, health and human services, and youth and education. The foundation has chosen literacy as a special area of grant making.



Save the Sound: Connecticut River watershed named first National Blueway

HARTFORD — Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, released this statement today after the Connecticut River and its watershed were declared the first National Blueway.

“The Connecticut River binds the Long Island Sound watershed together,” said Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound. “It links the Sound’s health to activities happening in Vermont, Massachusetts and even Canada. Long known as the region’s premier fish passageway, today’s designation shows that it is also a premier recreational passageway.”

“Increased awareness of and expanded access to the River and its watershed will lead to citizen stewardship. And because the Connecticut River’s watershed health is integral to the Sound’s health, this stewardship will help protect Long Island Sound too; after all, if it goes on the ground, it goes in the Sound.”

The Connecticut River is the Sound’s largest source of fresh water. It runs 407 miles south through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and into Connecticut, where it discharges into Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. In 1998, the Connecticut River was declared one of 14 American Heritage Rivers by President Bill Clinton. As described in our State of the Sound Report, the river, whose watershed comprises the majority of Long Island Sound’s 16,000-square-mile watershed, also is a source of pollution for the Sound. Nitrogen from sewage-treatment plants and fertilizer use along the river, combined sewage discharges in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, and hydrology-changing development all affect the Sound’s health.

The National Blueways Initiative is part of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative with the goal to develop an agenda focused on conservation and recreation to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. A Blueway Trail is a distance of river that serves as a destination for on-water recreation, camping and exploration of our natural resources. Eventually such a designation could help the trail receive special attention for restoration and access expansion.

View this document on Scribd

Hopkins teacher, City Plan director to speak at Preservation Trust’s annual meeting

The New Haven Preservation Trust will hold its annual meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Speakers are Errol C. Saunders II (Assistant Director of Breakthrough New Haven and Faculty Member, Hopkins School) and Karyn M. Gilvarg, A.I.A. (Executive Director, New Haven City Plan Department) on  “Our Industrial Legacy: History and Adaptive Re-Use in New Haven.” Here are the details, from the trust’s online calendar.

2012 NHPT Annual Meeting
Hopkins School, Heath Commons
94 Knollwood Drive
New Haven, CT
Please join us for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the New Haven Preservation Trust.

5:00 – Silent Auction Preview
6:00 – Annual Meeting and Election of Officers, followed by remarks by Errol C. Saunders II (Assistant Director of Breakthrough New Haven and Faculty Member, Hopkins School) and Karyn M. Gilvarg, A.I.A. (Executive Director, New Haven City Plan Department) on the subject of “Our Industrial Legacy: History and Adaptive Re-Use in New Haven.”
7:00 – Reception and Silent Auction

The Trust encourages current members to attend and to bring friends who would be interested in learning more about historic preservation in New Haven. Reduced-price memberships will be available for new members during the event.

This event is free and open to the public ($10 suggested donation). Free on-site parking; please enter from 94 Knollwood Drive.

The Trust is grateful for the generous sponsorship of The United Illuminating Company and Southern Connecticut Gas and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and for the support of the following area merchants and businesses: Austin Street Inn; Blessings II Go; CAPA; Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro; Chabaso; Chestnut Fine Foods; Christopher Martins; The Frame Shop, Da Silva Gallery, Westville; Geraldine, A Florist; Grand Vin; Heirloom (compliments of The Study at Yale); Hull’s Art Supplies and Framing; La Cuisine Cafe; Manjares; Marjolaine Fine Pastries and Confections; Modern Apizza; Nica’s Market; Press Artisan Pizzeria; Taunton Press; Whitneyville Food Center; The Wholesome Kitchen; Zinc.

Forum on literacy partnerships Wednesday at New Haven library’s Wilson branch

The Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven will convene a forum, “Literacy Partnerships, K-12 and Beyond: Paths to the Workplace and Parent Involvement,” at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday at the New Haven Free Public Library’s Courtland Seymour Wilson Branch, 303 Washington Ave. Among the expected speakers are state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Gateway Community College President Dorsey Kendrick. RSVP: info@literacyeveryday.org.

To keep up on the many events sponsored by nonprofit organizations in Greater New Haven, go to GNH Community. If you represent a nonprofit, y0u can register and post your own events!

Come out to Train Day on Saturday, sponsored by New Haven Museum

United Way calls for 100 businesses to give $100 in 100 days

United Way of Greater New Haven is challenging 100 area businesses to donate $100 each in 100 days to address the disparities in education, income and health in the region.

Michael Ianuzzi, president of Tyco Printing in New Haven, is chairman of the fundraising campaign, called “100 for 100,” according to a release by the United Way of Greater New Haven.

“As a business owner, we have a responsibility to make our community a great place to live and work,” said Iannuzzi in the release. “United Way is the easiest way to make a small investment have real impact.  We at Tyco understand the rich history of the New Haven area and know that our contributions today will help ensure an even greater New Haven community tomorrow.”

The $10,000 raised will be used to address Connecticut’s educational-achievement gap, largest in the nation, and its income gap, second largest in the United States, the release said.  A $100 donation pays for five weeks of tutoring for a kindergartner or two weeks of employment training and job-search assistance, United Way said.

United Way of Greater New Haven serves almost a quarter of a million people in 12 area towns and cities. For more information about the “100 for 100” campaign, contact Cara Baruzzi at at 203-691-4288 or cbaruzzi@uwgnh.org.

10% of teens use pot at least 20 times a month, survey reports



May 2, 2012

CONTACT: Liz Connelly, 860.523-8042, ext. 50, Elizabeth.connelly@preventionworksct.org

National Study: Teen “Heavy” Marijuana Use Up 80 Percent Since 2008,

One in Ten Teens Reports Using Marijuana at Least 20 Times a Month


Only Half of Teens, 51 Percent, Now Say They See “Great Risk” in Using Marijuana Regularly

 ~CT Communities Show Similar Trend In Risk Perceptions on Drugs and Alcohol~

New York, NY – May 2, 2012 – New, nationally projectable survey results released today by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership Connecticut affiliate, and MetLife Foundation found past-month marijuana use – particularly heavy use – has increased significantly among U.S. high school students since 2008. In Connecticut, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership reports a similar trend reported by local surveys done in communities across the state.

The national Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, found that 9 percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month. Overall, past-month heavy marijuana use is up 80 percent among U.S. teens since 2008.

Concerning Trends in Teen Marijuana Use According to the New PATS Data (2008-2011)

•             Past-month use is up 42 percent (up from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011, which translates to about 4 million teens).

•             Past-year use is up 26 percent (up from 31 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2011, which translates to about 6 million teens).

•             Lifetime use is up 21 percent (up from 39 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2011, which translates to nearly 8 million teens).

This marks an upward trend in teen marijuana use over the past three years. The last time marijuana use was this widespread among teens was in 1998 when past month use of marijuana was at 27 percent.

“These findings are deeply disturbing as the increases we’re seeing in heavy, regular marijuana use among high school students can spell real trouble for them at this important time in their life,” said Jill Spineti, President and CEO of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership. “Intervention by parents and other concerned adults is critical in order to guide these young people toward a healthier and more productive future. Heavy use of marijuana – particularly beginning in adolescence – brings the risk of serious health problems and our data shows it is linked to involvement with alcohol and other drugs as well. Kids who begin using drugs or alcohol as teenagers are more likely to struggle with substance use disorders when compared to those who start using after the teenage years.”

Towns across Connecticut conduct their own youth surveys and while the increase in usage has not drastically increased, the perception of risk is still alarmingly low. In particular, a 2011 West Hartford High School Youth Survey found that 18 percent of students have used marijuana one or more times in the past 30 days. Up slightly from 17.6 percent in 2009 and 32 percent of high school seniors had used marijuana one or more times in the past 30 days. In contrast, 30 percent of West Hartford High School student have had one or more drinks in the past 30 days.

Down from 31 percent in 2009 and 50 percent of high school seniors have had at least one drink in the past 30 days. In addition, when these students were asked: “How much do people risk harming themselves physically and in other ways when they have five or more drinks of an alcoholic beverage once or twice a week?” Only 25 percent of the youth who reported drinking thought it was a “great risk”. In addition, only 53 percent of youth who reported not drinking thought the same.

Concerning National Trend: Teen Marijuana Use Has Become a Normalized Behavior

Teens now report seeing more of their peers smoking marijuana and only 26 percent agree with the statement, “in my school, most teens don’t smoke marijuana” (down from 37 percent in 2008). Also, 71 percent of teens say they have friends who use marijuana regularly (up from 64 percent in 2008).

Teen past-month “heavy” marijuana users are significantly more likely than teens who have not used marijuana in the past year to:

•             use cocaine/crack (30 times more likely)

•             use Ecstasy (20 times more likely)

•             abuse prescription pain relievers (15 times more likely)

•             abuse over-the-counter medicines (14 times more likely)

Social disapproval of marijuana among teens remained the same, with 61 percent of teens saying they disapprove of their peers using marijuana. (About 41 percent say they ‘strongly disapprove’). The PATS data also found an erosion of anti-marijuana attitudes among teens, with only about half of teens (51 percent) saying they see “great risk” in using marijuana, down significantly from 61 percent in 2005.

“We have also seen a considerable decline over the past five years in the proportion of teens seeing great risk associated with marijuana use,” says Professor Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the nationwide Monitoring the Future study conducted at the University of Michigan. “We believe that this decline in perceived risk has played an important role in the increases in teen use of marijuana, as it has done in the past. The fact that perceived risk is still falling portends a further increase in use.”

As teen drug use takes a turn for the worse, a heavier burden is placed on the shoulders of parents to play a more active role in protecting their kids from the health risks posed by drug and alcohol abuse. The removal of critical pieces of our national prevention infrastructure across the country – The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which was highly focused on educating youth about the dangers of teen marijuana use, and the elimination of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program – left a gaping hole where drug and alcohol education resources should be.

“The latest findings showing an increase in marijuana use among teens is unsettling and should serve as a wake-up call to everyone in a position to prevent unhealthy behavior,” said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “While it may be difficult to clearly understand just how dangerous marijuana use can be for teens, it is imperative that we all pay attention to the warning signs and intervene anyway we can. Early intervention is critical to helping prevent teens from drug abuse and addiction.”

Concerning National Trend: Teen Rx Medicine Abuse Remains High, but Relatively Unchanged, Parents Not Safeguarding Medicines at Home and Misusing Rx Medications Themselves

While the new PATS data did not show similar increases in teen abuse of medicines, prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse remain at unacceptably high levels, which lead to considerable damage to young lives. The study showed teen lifetime abuse of medicines is holding steady at 17 percent for Rx drugs and 12 percent for OTC cough and cold medicines. Among teens, past year abuse of the prescription pain relievers Vicodin and OxyContin, for example, has plateaued at about 10 percent.

However, it’s important to note that parental action does not appear to be contributing to the relative flattening of teen abuse of medications, as fewer parents report safeguarding Rx medications at home. The number of parents who agree with the statement “anyone can access prescription medicines in the medicine cabinet” is up from 50 percent in 2010 to 64 percent 2011, meaning the medications are more readily available to anyone in their homes. Fewer parents also report communicating the risks of getting high, or any other reason for abuse, from prescription medicines with their children; down from 82 percent who said they communicated the risks of Rx drug abuse to their kids in 2009 to 69 percent in 2011. The number of parents who say they “keep alcohol locked in a cabinet at home” is also down from 32 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2011.

PATS also found that an increased number of parents report misusing or abusing prescription medications themselves. More than one in ten parents (15 percent) say they’ve used an Rx medication not prescribed for them at least once in the past year, a 25 percent increase from 2010 to 2011.

Concerning National Trend: Teen Boys and Hispanic Teens Leading Marijuana Increases, Fewer Teen Girls Abusing Rx Medicines

The PATS survey confirms that teen boys are leading the overall increases in marijuana use. Past year use among teen boys is up 24 percent (from 34 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2011) and past month use among teen boys is up 38 percent (from 21 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2011). Additionally, boys’ heavy use – smoking marijuana at least 20 times a month – is higher than that of their female counterparts (11 percent for teen boys vs. 6 percent for teen girls) and boys’ heavy marijuana use is up an alarming 57 percent, from 7 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2011.

According to the new data, half of Hispanic teens (50 percent) report that they have used marijuana in the past year (versus 40 percent for African Americans and 35 percent for Caucasians). This means Hispanic teens are nearly twice as likely (43 percent) as Caucasian teens to have smoked marijuana in the past year (50 percent vs. 35 percent) and 25 percent more likely than African-American teens.

The study also found that fewer teen girls are abusing Rx medications. Teen girls’ abuse of a prescription drug “to get high or alter your mood” is down 30 percent since 2010 (from 23 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011) and is down a total of 24 percent since 2009 (21 percent in 2009). Rx drug abuse among teen boys has remained relatively flat over the same time period.

Teens are starting to view medicine abuse as less socially acceptable and the percentage of teens who “strongly disapprove” of peers using prescription drugs to get high has gone up significantly – from 52 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2011. Fewer also say it’s “very” or “fairly” easy for teens to get prescription pain relievers, down 25 percent from 57 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2011.

“These data set the scene for a ‘perfect storm’ that will threaten the health of a generation of American teens,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “Science has shown that adolescent brains are still developing and are more easily harmed by drug and alcohol use than fully developed adult brains. Dramatic increases in teen marijuana use, coupled with entrenched behavior of abuse of Rx and OTC drugs, puts teens at greater risk for substance use disorders, academic decline and other problems. With government budgets slashing the national prevention infrastructure and many prevention programs already eliminated, parents must step up to fill those voids, to protect their children’s health and futures.”

Mixed Results on Teen Abuse of Cigarettes, Inhalants, Alcohol, Meth, Cocaine/Crack, Ecstasy

•             Smoking rates have declined with 22 percent of teens reporting smoking cigarettes in the past month – this is down 19 percent from 27 percent last year.

•             Past-year inhalant abuse dropped from 10 percent to 7 percent, yet only 64 percent of teens strongly agree that “sniffing or huffing things to get high can kill you,” significantly less than the 70 percent of teens who said the same in 2008.

•             Past-year alcohol use is holding steady at 56 percent and past month is at 38 percent.

•             Past-year methamphetamine use is holding at 4 percent.

•             Past-year cocaine/crack use is remains at 7 percent.

•             Past-year use of Ecstasy is up 50 percent since 2008 (from 6 percent in 2008 to 9 percent in 2011).

Resources for Parents to Help Prevent Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Use

In Connecticut, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership website, www.preventionworksct.org, offers a parent resource center complete with information to help guide parents and caregivers on how to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Nationally, The Partnership at Drugfree.org, in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Treatment Research Institute (TRI), has released a new tool to help parents and caregivers possibly prevent adolescent drug and alcohol problems. The”Six Components of Effective Parenting,” based on scientific research, is the product of thenewParents Translational Research Center- a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded center involving The Partnership at Drugfree.org and TRI. The resource is comprised of “how-to” parenting tips organized around six principles specifically designed for parents, guardians and other caregivers who can play an active role in helping prevent substance abuse in their families..

PATS Methodology

The 23rd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) of 3,322 teens in grades 9-12 and 821 parents is nationally projectable with a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error for the teen sample and +/- 3.4 percent for the parent sample. Conducted for The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, the 2011 PATS teen survey was administered in private, public and parochial schools, while the parent survey was conducted through in-home interviews by deKadt Marketing and Research, Inc.

About The Governor’s Prevention Partnership Connecticut

Celebrating more than 20 years of keeping Connecticut kids safe, successful and drug-free, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, the state affiliate for The Partnership at Drugfree.org, is a statewide, nonprofit public-private alliance, building a strong, healthy future workforce through leadership in mentoring and prevention of youth violence and bullying, underage drinking, and substance abuse. The Partnership is the only statewide organization focusing exclusively on prevention issues affecting youth. Resources for parents, educators and young people related to each of the organization’s program initiatives can be found on http://www.preventionworksct.org.

About The Partnership at Drugfree.org

 Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, The Partnership at Drugfree.org works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.

About MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Our commitment to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide is reflected in our dedication to empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities. Since it was established, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $530 million in grants to nonprofit organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. For more information visit www.metlife.org

# # # #