2017-10-11 / Londonderry

The Collaborative kicks off ‘Refuse to Use’

Dr. Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center, speaks at the Refuse to Use kick-off event on Sunday, Sept. 10. — COURTESY PHOTODr. Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center, speaks at the Refuse to Use kick-off event on Sunday, Sept. 10. — COURTESY PHOTOMANCHESTER — Sunday, Sept. 10 marked The Collaborative’s kick-off its celebrated Refuse to Use program, with approximately 300 individuals passing through their doors.

The event dove into the 14th year of the program, which provides a season pass to either Stratton Mountain Resort, Viking Nordic Center, or Riley Rink in exchange for seventh- through 12th-grade students committing to not use drugs and alcohol.

The event, which took place in the gym of Manchester Elementary Middle School, opened with The Collaborative’s Executive Director Maryann Morris emphasizing that the program can only succeed if everyone participates and honors their pledges equally.

Morris also thanked the Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt Fund for providing Refuse to Use with a 3-year grant to improve the program’s curriculum, increase participation, and raise the program’s profile within the community. The Holt Fund seeks to help people live healthier lives and create healthy communities through prevention, health promotion, policy and research.

Dr. Jennifer Michaels, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the medical director of the Brien Center, also a certified adult and addiction psychiatrist, addressed the science behind how drugs and alcohol can affect a growing mind and implored the students to understand that making smart, healthy choices, when they are young can set them up for success later in life.

The Collaborative promotes the development of a healthy, involved community supporting substance free youth in a caring environment. The program has long stood upon the notion that providing healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol can help create a culture of substance free youth, all according to a press release.

This program is supported by volunteers, Stratton Mountain Resort, Viking Nordic Center, Riley Rink, Manchester Elementary-Middle School, and the families who are committed to helping young individuals be healthy and safe.

The schools that participate in the program include Manchester Elementary-Middle School, Flood Brook School, Long Trail School, Maple Street School, The Mountain School at Winhall, Arlington School, Burr and Burton Academy, and Dorset School.

For more information about the programs, visit www.thecollaborative.us. Registration is open until Friday, Sept. 29. 

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