Sabrina Rogers, LMHC Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition President
The Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition started a new campaign to thank parents and community members for making a difference in the lives of Jones County youth. “You are the Buffer” began as an idea on how the Coalition can focus on the strengths of our community and grew into a full campaign. So many times parents and adults are blamed for the problems youth face. The Coalition wanted to do something drastically different. “You are the Buffer” is aimed at parents and community adults reminding them they do have a positive influence on their children and are a buffer between youth and substance use. The campaign specifically reminds adults of all the positive things they do for youth that help build resilience. For example, listening when youth speak; being present with them at home, at school, at sporting events, etc.; and taking a genuine interest in them and their activities. “You are the Buffer” will also give parents and community adults more ideas on how they can be a buffer to youth to help further the Coalition’s mission of preventing and reducing youth substance use. Look soon for “You are the Buffer” messages on the Coalition’s social media pages, at the local businesses, and at school and community events.
The first message can be found at Grounds and Goodies in Anamosa and Java Jones in Monticello on to-go coffee cup sleeves, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to success is the positive involvement of parents. You are the Buffer!” The second message is just getting started. Be on the lookout for our next message: “Stories Matter. Listen. #youarethebuffer” You may notice these stickers on a cinnamon roll you buy at a coffee shop or a bag of popcorn at a community event. We are reminding adults and parents to take the time to listen to kids and encourage them to share what is going on in their lives with you. Being a buffer does not mean that you protect your kids from learning some of their own lessons, in fact it can mean the very opposite. It may mean lovingly but firmly enforcing that rule or consequence so they grow into responsible young adults. Instead being a buffer is being that person in a kid’s life who they can go to talk when life isn’t easy.