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Clergy Help Mount Kisco Coalition Spread Substance-Abuse Prevention Message

Teen members of the United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco discuss the pastor's Sunday prayer message of resisting alcohol and drug use with Dr. Nan Miller, coordinator of Photo Credit: Contributed
Rev. Karen Burger urges her congregation to lead local teens among an alcohol and drug free path as part of the community's faith initiative. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- In an unprecedented show of solidarity in the quest to keep local teens alcohol-and drug-free, Mount Kisco congregations have used time of worship to communicate the prevention message to their respective congregations.

Spearheading this initiative has been Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention, a coalition of community sectors organized through the Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council.

“We reached out to all the houses of worship in the community over the summer,” said Nan Miller, coordinator of the Partners in Prevention coalition.

Perry Wooten, a Partners in Prevention member and himself a retired pastor, took on the challenge of coordinating participation and developed the focus on a single week and a unified message.

Invited to speak at Bet Torah synagogue by Rabbi Aaron Brusso, Miller shared the perspective she has gleaned on teen substance abuse from her years of work as both a therapist and a student assistance counselor. Stressing the efficacy of approaching substance use among teens from a prevention, rather than a treatment, stance, she offered specific suggestions to families on how they can best protect their children from involvement with substances.

Miller’s advice included creating an environment of open communication about drugs and alcohol in the home and making parental disapproval clear and unwavering; following through on consequences; sharing family meals together and living as role models of how to handle alcohol and prescription drugs.

One additional suggestion — volunteering together as a family — was in evidence at the United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco, where the Rev. Karen Burger joined her prevention message this week with a spotlight on young parishioners reporting on their work for the Appalachia Service Project this summer.

St. Francis A.M.E. Zion Church will be incorporating the prevention message into his Community Day activities on Saturday, Oct. 4, and a joint service planned with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Westchester on Sunday, Oct. 12.

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