by Kathy Sandberg
What do you call someone who has helped provide support for a healthier life in our community by reducing risk factors for alcohol and drug abuse, supporting recovery and building assets for our youth and other community members?
The Rice County Chemical and Mental Health Coalition calls them Prevention Champions. The Coalition is pleased to honor four individuals who have made significant contributions to prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in Rice County.
The 2019 Prevention Champions, Melissa Dobbs, Amanda Reed, Tracy Ackman-Shaw and Bart Wiese, were nominated by community members and chosen by a committee of individuals affiliated with local prevention efforts.
Melissa Dobbs and Amanda Reed both serve as staff members at the Cannon River STEM School, a K-8 charter school in Faribault. Melissa is the school’s Social Worker; Amanda, the ADSIS Success Coach, provides additional supports to help students achieve academic success. The nominator noted their commitment to each student need or request, even if it means a day without breaks for them, “whether it is organizing presentations or curriculum for classroom teachers, or meeting with students 1 on 1 or in groups, they are constantly supporting the academic and social-emotional needs of students.”
Tracy Ackman-Shaw works at Rice County Public Health Nursing. She was nominated by the Northfield Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP), a group working toward a community where youth can lead healthy lives, free of alcohol and drug use. The group noted Ackman-Shaw’s efforts in reducing youth smoking and use of electronic smoking devices, known as vaping. ASAP praised her efforts saying, “She has consistently provided education to parents, teachers, and community members about tobacco and e-cigarettes. She has also been instrumental in assisting Northfield ASAP’s efforts toward passing Tobacco 21 in Northfield and provided our group valuable resources in this process. Tracy has worked so hard to support the health and wellbeing of youth and adults in our community!”
Bart Wiese has served as a police officer for the Northfield Police Department for more than 10 years. Wiese is a member of the Northfield Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention along with nominator, Patrick Gordon. Gordon highlighted the many other roles Wiese has played including DARE officer, School Resource Officer and emcee of the Northfield Mock Crash. Gordon noted, “Raised in the Northfield area, Bart is a role model and leader who gives back to his community and makes it better for everyone. Not only does he contribute to the prevention of substance abuse in our community, he develops genuine connections with everyone he meets. His personality, knowledge, and humor light up any room, and he is always willing to help, provide advice, or simply listen.”
For more information regarding the Project Prevention awards or other resources offered through the Rice County Chemical and Mental Health Coalition, please visit http://www.ricecountycmhc.org/