Family Fun Night ~ becoming like Iceland

Having fun at Family Fun Night – Debbie Irvine, Phys. Ed. teacher at Marlinton Elementary School, leads youngsters and parents in line dancing. Pictured, in front, Debbie Irvine. Back, l to r: Katherine Flood, Shannon Anderson, Emma Anderson, Jeanette Brown, Emmalee Dean, Mayleean Brown, Kristie Tankersley and Alan Gibson. Photo courtesy of Jean Srodes

Jean Srodes
Contributing Writer

The Pocahontas Prevention Coalition plans to host monthly family events at all three elementary schools this spring. Marlinton Elementary and Green Bank Elementary-Middle schools kicked off the program, with a Hillsboro Elementary School event planned for this week.

The Iceland Project in West Virginia doesn’t have to do with snowfall or climate change, but it does have to do with the environment – the social environment.

The focus is on changing the adolescent social life. The belief is that kids are products of the society they grow up in. It’s not about trying to change individuals, it’s about trying to change the social community.

Dr. Alfgeir Kristjansson, an associate professor at WVU, promotes a model that was developed in Iceland 20 years ago when Icelandic teens were among the heaviest drinking youths in Europe.

Today they rank as the lowest in alcohol use.

The Icelandic Project is about strengthening communities, which helps discourage the use of tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Parents in Iceland stepped up to provide more structured after-school programs involving sports and activities that kept their kids engaged and excited.

Our local PRIDE Survey determined that students with the lowest rate of drug use make good grades, have families with clear rules and consequences for drug use, attend church regularly, and can talk to their parents about their problems.

The coalition wants to be part of a collaborative to provide venues that strengthen family involved activities.

Family Fun Nights are hosted by the Pocahontas Prevention Coalition and sponsored by the Snowshoe Foundation with the help of the Family Resource Network and the Community Wellness Center.

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