2020 Workshops Bring Youth into the Creative Mix to Debunk Marijuana Propaganda Targeted at Teens


Prevention Means Progress (PMP) partners with local branding agency to bring youth into the creative mix to debunk marijuana propaganda targeted at teens

pmp youth workshop

Dec. 2, 2019 — PMP has partnered with REBEL INTERACTIVE to host an ongoing series of workshops that empower teens to “Speak Up!” against substance abuse, and become prevention advocates for their peers.

The first youth workshop kicked off in September, 2019, with 11 teens from four area middle schools. More workshops are planned for 2020, where students from area schools will be invited to brainstorm and promote the prevention of substance abuse in their own words.

Up to 25 students at a time will collaborate and develop ideas around promoting substance abuse prevention. Participants get to express creativity and demonstrate leadership in a collaborative environment, while sharing a positive message to help their peers. REBEL will turn selected campaign ideas into ads, banners, and other collateral that PMP, teachers and student groups can use for youth-inspired, in-school outreach.

Partnering with REBEL allows PMP to offer a unique creative session, resulting in an impactful ‘for-teens/by-teens’ message. PMP hopes the youth-inspired approach will combat many high-powered marketing messages about addictive substances that are often targeted to teens.

“Our new workshops offer teens an inspiring way to get ahead of substance abuse,” says Lorelle Mueting, PMP director. “Too often, the youth are manipulated by advertising messages from the drug industry. PMP’s youth campaign addresses the facts and risks of marijuana, debunks myths about the drug, and helps teens identify where they can make personal choices to avoid risks.”

“Because none of the marijuana products today are tested or regulated, we never know what’s in it, or what the true costs of using will be,” Mueting explains. “In our youth workshops, we pose concepts such as ‘What is important to you?’ and illustrate that using substances like marijuana put things that are important to you at risk. We challenge the kids to look at the choices in front of them. It’s your choice: you can make low-risk choices that protect things that are important to you, and live your best life, or you can make high-risk choices and put those things at risk. PMP youth workshops educate teens and support them in discovering their
own answers.”

“When the kids get to work with REBEL to turn their messages into teen-talking points, they’re empowered to speak up. We know this opportunity to educate kids is an opportunity for a life-long lesson,” Mueting adds.

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  • 1 out of 6 teens who use marijuana will develop an addiction to the drug.
  • Impairment is always high-risk. Consuming THC causes impairment, therefore it is always high-risk.
  • The marijuana of today is vastly different than the marijuana of the 60’s, 70’s or even 2000’s. Potency levels among smokeable, edible and other marijuana products such as shatter, wax and oils have greatly increased, now at 20% to 98% THC, compared to the 1-5% THC of 20 or 30 years ago.
  • Marijuana today is not a natural plant or substance. It is a genetically modified organism, or GMO. Legalization across our nation has led to a demand for higher THC potency in both the flower marijuana, as well as in semi-synthetic marijuana products. The marijuana industry has responded by genetically modifying this plant to deliver increasingly higher THC potency in all the products it produces. Higher potency levels have a more damaging impact on the brain, and can lead to greater long-term damage, especially for our youth.

Life is full of choices, and different choices have different risks. Prevention Means Progress (PMP) is an organization committed to helping local youth and adults distinguish the difference, to “Stay ahead of substance abuse.” Prevention starts by educating, increasing awareness, and building strong anti-drug attitudes among youth. PMP’s approach is grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention.


Community Star Award Winners


  • Christy Hagen

Christy Hagen received her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is passionate about building strengths, relationships, and community partnerships. Christy serves on various community coalitions and associations, including the HSAC Youth and Families Committee, Go HC/HY, Shaken Baby/Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, the LiveWise Coalition, National Association of Social Workers, and Partners for Meth Prevention. Christy has been a member of PMP since 2007 and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the coalition. She is also an adjunct professor at Buena Vista University in Council Bluffs.

Christy and her husband Dan founded Trailblazers in Council Bluffs, which is a faith-based, community-based program for at-risk youth and families from youth through adulthood. Trailblazers serves over 350 children and their families throughout the Council Bluffs area. The program presents to the children and families that they serve a vision of hope for their future and works to encourage them while celebrating the positive changes in their lives. She still continues to serve on the Board of Directors for Trailblazers, as well as facilitate the Parentlink support group for the program, which focuses on building the Developmental Assets in parents.

Christy and her husband Dan have two grown children, Courtney and Gabe

  • Susan Pawloski

Susan Pawloski received her Masters of Social Work and Masters of Public Administration from the University of NE at Omaha. She currently serves as the Building Families Boutique Program Coordinator with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. The Building Families Boutique promotes healthy, safe, and self-sufficient families through an incentive based educational program serving families with children prenatal to 5 years of age in Pottawattamie County.

Services available to families through the Building Families Boutique include: an incentive program where parents earn points by completing healthy activities and then exchange them for infant and toddler products, the Nurturing Parenting Program ® (a 16 week parent education class), educational/support groups, parent child interactive groups, developmental screening, maternal depression screening, monthly newsletters with community and educational information, and community referrals. Boutique clients have access to an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist who provides behavioral management interventions and therapy services for adults and children. Susan also teaches parenting classes at the Women’s Residential Correctional Facility.

Through these classes and through her interactions with families in the Boutique who have been affected by meth use she became more aware of the devastating consequences of meth addiction to families. Susan became involved in the Partners for Meth Prevention Coalition in 2006. During her time with the coalition she has served on the Evaluation committee, volunteered her time for special events hosted by the coalition, and currently serves as Secretary for PMP.

  • James Cloyd

James Cloyd is the Executive Director of the Metro Community College-Applied Technology Center. Cloyd, of Millard, is a graduate of Omaha North High School, Dana College, ICAN (Institute for Career Advancement Needs) Men’s Leadership Program and a 2010 graduate from the highly competitive Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Leadership Omaha Class 32. As a member of Partners for Meth Prevention since 2005-Present, Cloyd has served on the Coalition Capacity Committee, Event Planning Committee and the Education Committee. Cloyd has helped with various projects that continue to expose PMP to new audiences like PMP on Facebook, connecting PMP to Metro’s TRiO program, connecting PMP to the Kroc Center, recommending the creation of recruitment media to attract new members and co-facilitating the book discussion of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Meth Addiction with Christi Cloyd, MS, LMHP, LADC.

Other community involvement includes:

Citizen Advisory Committee – 2007 to present – I advise and share higher education expertise with the committee. I also endorse shared responsibility for the growth of the 40 Developmental Assets and education of our youth in Omaha.

Millard South Wrestling Club – 1999 to 2010 – eleven years coaching Novice to Varsity teams, vice-president 2003 to 2007, president 2007 to 2009, and currently Community Liaison for the club. Recruited and certified first three female coaches in the history of the club.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society – 2006 to present – Serve as general advisor for PTK chapters. Service includes advising and mentoring members in the areas of academic success, leadership, volunteerism and service to others and the community.

Brown/Black Coalition – 2008 to present– Involvement primarily as a newly active member participating in round tables and open discussion forums.

  • Melanie Berry

Melanie Berry graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. She began her undergraduate career as an accounting major, but quickly realized that was too hard and decided to try something easier, boy was she wrong. After graduation, in 2003, Melanie moved to Omaha, Nebraska to start her new job with the State of Nebraska, as a Probation Officer. She began as an Intensive Supervision officer and moved to a specialized caseload, supervising individuals convicted of dangerous drug charges. In July of 2007, she became a Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision officer, she currently supervises felony drug offenders and high risk DUI’s, she works to balance community safety and rehabilitation.

Melanie became a member of Partners for Meth Prevention in January 2008. She is s member of the events committee and has played a part in organizing events for Meth Prevention month. She is currently the treasurer of the coalition and strives to develop ways to build collaboration within the community.


Community Award

  • Wiles Counseling

Wiles Counseling was established in 2004 by Lori Wiles. Wiles counseling is located in the Ralston area and currently serves the Omaha Metro. Lori has a Masters degree, is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practioner, and a Certified Professional Counselor. Lori works to provide services to people who really want the help and can’t afford to get it. She is always looking for new “out of the box” ideas and strives to offer services that meet individual needs.

Wiles counseling currently offers numerous services such as Chemical Dependency Assessments as well as 10 and 20 week outpatient treatment programs. They also offer individual anger management, ADHD management, separation and divorce counseling, parenting skills, depression and anxiety disorder, and most recently added biofeedback and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).

Wiles counseling has expanded since it started and now employs eight licensed counselors. Wiles Counseling was nominated for this award not only for their hard work and dedication but their collaboration and work within the community.

  • Metropolitan Community College-College of Public Affairs

Metropolitan Community College’s Office of Public Affairs works to foster mutually beneficial relationships with individuals and organizations vital to community growth and development. Public Affairs reaches out to individuals ages three and up as MCC promotes education from College 4 Kids through lifelong learning initiatives.

As part of its relationship with Partners for Meth Prevention, Public Affairs created a membership brochure to assist the coalition’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families who are affected by substance abuse and addiction. The office also fostered meth awareness through promotion of the Diversity Matters Book Series selection of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Meth Addiction. MCC hosted the community education program Meth360 in May 2009.

Other Public Affairs outreach efforts have included the promotion of MCC efforts to weatherize low-income homes, remove neighborhood graffiti and provide free health services to community members. The office also plays a key role in generating community awareness of MCC’s workforce development partnerships that provide just-in-time training to contribute to the self-sufficiency and socioeconomic vitality of the College’s service area.

  • Donn Dierks-Council Bluffs Health Department

Donn Dierks has been with the health department in Council Bluffs since 1988. He oversees Deer Management, the Recycling Center, garbage collection, the public health sanitarians, restaurant inspections, weed control and public health announcements including disease outbreak situations such as pertussis (whooping cough) and the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2009. Donn helped organized the prescription drug drop off program aimed at safely disposing of unused and unwanted medications in April of 2010. He serves on numerous committees for the Iowa Department of Public Health and is an active member of the Iowa Public Health Association.

  • Heartland Family Service

Since 1875 Heartland Family Service (HFS) has been strengthening individuals and families in our communities through education, counseling, and support services. One of the oldest non-profit agencies in the Metro Area, HFS has sixteen locations and programs around Southwest Iowa and the Omaha Metro area. HFS has been providing substance abuse services in Iowa since 1981 and is a strong advocate for substance abuse services in the Metro area.

HFS has been instrumental in the formation of Partners for Meth Prevention since the coalition’s inception in 2004. Because of the agency’s strong advocacy for substance abuse services, HFS sees a need in the community for Meth Prevention Services and has been providing support for the coalition for the past 6 years through the following methods, devoted staff time for coalition involvement/development (ie Chair position), financial support for events and supplies, paper, ink, and photocopying services, occasional meeting space, fiscal duties, and housing PMP material, including brochures and resources.

HFS participates on numerous state and local groups to advocate for and promote substance abuse treatment services. The programs provided offer education and opportunities for self-evaluation that permit each individual to make informed decisions regarding his or her life and growth. The agency’s Council Bluffs Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Office has been recognized nationally by SAMHSA as a 2009 Science and Service Award Winner for their work in implementing the Matrix Model, an evidenced-based best practice model for treating stimulant addictions.

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