The proverb “It Takes a Village” is as old as time. Yet it’s as relevant today as ever in our community and beyond as a substance abuse crisis spreads nationwide. The free community workshop “Hidden in Plain Sight” is designed to give parents and grandparents tools and tips on how to search for clues that might indicate drug or alcohol use among teens and young adults and it’s coming to Upper Township this Thursday, February 1 at 6pm in the Primary School Music Room.
“We all need to look out for each other’s kids,” said Amy Holmes, an Upper Township mom and third grade teacher who also coordinates the Ocean City High School After Prom Committee. “And we need to feel comfortable enough to talk to other parents if we see something concerning. We need a band of strong parents that communicate honestly to get through the years ahead.”
Amy is hoping parents in the community attend the workshop. She attended the same event in Sea Isle City a few months ago because of her role in After Prom, a committee that plans an alcohol-free celebration after the Ocean City prom and works year round to keep the community informed of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
“This event was a real eye opener for me. I went in feeling confident about what I know. This event was sponsored by the police and the Municipal Alliance. I was very impressed by the attendance of people who live this life to protect our kids. At the same time, I was disappointed that there were only three people from Upper Township there,” said Amy. “I’m not placing judgement, I just don’t think anyone knew how great this was going to be.”
So she decided to bring the event to Upper Township. The After-Prom Committee, along with the Cape May County Prosector’s Office, OC Police Department, UT Education Association, Cape Assist, and the OC-UT Municipal Alliance are hosting.
“We want OC and UT parents and grandparent be part of this interactive night,” Amy said. “They set up a teenager’s bedroom, laundry on floor, pens at bedside, books. What you don’t realize is that all these things are hiding places for drugs that are killing our kids.”
Though these may seems like issues for parents of older students, elementary school parents are encouraged to come. The county prosecutor Joe Landis will be there to discuss current trends as will OfficerJennifer Elias from the OCPD.
The intention of Hidden in Plain Sight is to educate, not scare, parents.
“This event could be a game changer if people come, if people educate themselves and the power is put back into the parent’s hand. This is the first step, to have this interactive event,” said Amy. “We need to be more educated and we need to make sure we know where our kids are and who they are with. It all really does come down to loving our children so much that we want to protect them.”
Hidden in Plain Sight is February 1 at 6pm at the Upper Township Primary School Music Room. Food will be provided. The presentation is for adults only. – Stef Godfrey