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Middle School Prevention Specialist a Resource For Students

Somers Middle School’s new Prevention Specialist Amanda Casey Somers Middle School’s new Prevention Specialist Amanda Casey got students thinking about reasons to stay substance free with a recent unassuming campaign.

To mark National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week during March 21-27, Casey launched the “My Why” campaign. She handed out cards during lunch for students to write their own “My Why” message about why they choose to stay drug and alcohol free. The “My Why” wall now adorns the outside of her office in Room 302 and she has invited all students to stop by a take a look.

The project included students in all grades. Casey said by looking at the responses, she can tell that students are keenly aware of the negative affects that alcohol and drugs can have on them now and in the future. The answers ranged from the impact drugs and alcohol can have on health and sports and on their developing brains and bodies to just feeling like it’s the wrong direction to take.

In addition to building the “My Why” wall, Casey delivered messages to students on staying substance free during morning announcements, visiting gym classes and placing flyers in various spots around the school.

“It was a good first project,” said Casey, who began work as the middle school Prevention Specialist on March 1. She comes to Somers through Westchester-based Student Assistance Services. “I received about 90 responses and overall, the participation was strong. It opened up a lot of conversations.”

As the prevention specialist, Casey is a resource for middle school students to get information on a variety of issues affecting them. “Whether the issue is big or small, I am here to listen,” she said. She will offer students information on a range of issues like drugs and alcohol, depression, eating disorders, friendships, stress, family and more. “I am here to listen. I have an office filled with information.  Everything said in my office is confidential.”

Casey will spearhead more projects like the “My Why” wall. April is Alcohol Awareness Month and Casey will be doing a variety of activities related to teens and alcohol. She promoted a special campaign for Take Down Tobacco, an initiative supporting tobacco-free kids, on April 1.

She is also the advisor of the new SMS Y2Y (Youth to Youth) Club. The mission of the club is to support students’ healthy development and safe choices while having fun and creating school wide awareness events. The Y2Y Club is just getting off the ground and will meet once a week.

Casey is available to students every day from 7:30 – 3:00 p.m. and encourages students to stop by her office, Room 302, any time. “I am so excited to be part of the Somers community and I look forward to getting to know the students better,” she said.