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WW Health Sponsors Top Secret Project

The Baldwin-Woodville School District and Western Wisconsin Health to co-sponsor “The Top Secret Project,” a unique program designed to help parents and professionals who work with youth recognize potential warning signs.

Looks can be deceiving. That’s the message behind a unique program created by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Through a display of various items provided by the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, participants learn to identify objects that could provide critical insights about potentially risky behavior. Many seemingly ordinary items can actually be signals that a young person could be involved in risky, harmful or even illegal activity. A presentation by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation staff provides participants with insights into some of the items in the room and identifies how each can signal a warning about alcohol or other drug use, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, bullying, criminal or gang activity, and other mental health concerns. And what attendees don’t get from the presentation, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has created a web site, TopSecretProject.org, with resources related to prevention, early intervention, drug trends, mental health resources and much more.

“Being a teen may be harder now than ever before, and being the parent of a teen presents many unchartered challenges because of this,” said Natasha Ward, Director of Community Wellness at Western Wisconsin Health. “This event will give a unique opportunity for parents to learn more about what their children are exposed to and how they can support their children better to navigate these challenges and live healthy lives. We are so excited to collaborate with the Baldwin-Woodville School District and St. Croix County Sheriff’s and Medical Examiner’s departments to bring this event to our community.”

“Our motivation for launching this project was to encourage parents to take a closer look at their teenagers’ rooms. Often times, signs of danger are in plain sight, but if we don’t know what to look for, we can’t help our kids safely navigate the teen years,” said Cendee Palmer, Outreach Manager for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “Parents will be enlightened by what they learn through this program and will also walk away with important resources to help them not only learn about various issues, but they’ll also learn what they can do to prevent and take action,” Palmer added.

Already people are talking about their experience. “Get the word out to ALL communities.  This was awesome,” was one quote from a law enforcement officer. And from a parent: “I learned a TON about the drugs that are out there and what to look for.  Great reminders about healthy relationship maintenance.”

A similar event was held earlier this year at the Somerset High School. “The Top Secret Project was an interactive experience that opened the eyes of our educational staff as well as parents in our community in terms of the extent that teens will go to in order to mask substance use,” said Shannon Donnelly, Principal of the Somerset High School. “We had no idea that many of the objects shown in the presentation even existed or could be used to hide hazardous items.  This presentation opened up excellent dialogue between the school district and the community regarding ways in which we need to work together to support our teens.  I would highly recommend the Top Secret Project to anyone!”

The Top Secret Project” will be on display at the Baldwin-Woodville High School located at (Address) on October 17, 2018.  There will be a free meal for families provided by Blackhawk Bakery and Catering from 5:00 – 6:00 pm. Free childcare will then be provided, so adults can view the “In Plain Sight” display from 6:00 – 6:30 pm provided by the St. Croix County Sheriff’s and Medical Examiner’s departments. Participants will then attend the presentation by Hazelden from 6:30 – 8:00 pm about what parents need to know about drugs and alcohol. The exhibit and presentation are open to adults only.  There is no charge for admittance.  Members of the media are invited to cover this presentation. Please contact David Brandvold at 715-684-3321 or dbrandvold@bwsd.k12.wi.us or Natasha Ward at 715-684-1285 or natasha.ward@wwhealth.org with questions.   

Learn more and register online at wwhealth.org under “Classes,” or you may also register by calling 715-684-1645.

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