Smart Choices postcard-save-the-date

Mark your Calendar!

Smart Choices for a Safe Future: Parent/Youth Forum

Join us for an inspiring evening of information, support, and a little bit of magic, featuring special guests and nationally renowned speakers Kevin Brooks and Robert Hackenson.

Kevin Brooks is a leading youth speaker on suicide prevention, overcoming obstacles and impaired driving. He is living proof that one poor choice can change one’s life forever. From his wheelchair, Kevin shares his life-changing story with audiences of all ages.

AND, get ready to be “edutained” as professional speaker Robert Hackenson Jr. infuses magic, illusions, skits, and more to deliver a highly interactive educational experience.  Students are raving about Robert’s dynamic and memorable performance, and his unique way of tying in the magic to deliver messages that will be remembered.

Oregon City High School, Tuesday October 20th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Open to all ages
Doors open at 5:45
Free dinner and childcare for ages 5 and up

Sponsored by Clackamas County Safe Communities, Oregon City Together, OCHS Pioneers, Oregon Impact, and OC Community Education.

Read more here.

Welcome to Fall

We are eager for all that Fall brings to the Northwest – the excitement of a new school year, the beautiful landscape as the leaves begin to change, and the promise of a few raindrops to remind us that we do in fact live in the Pacific Northwest!

Change has certainly been all around us, even as we wind down from the long days of summer. As of July 1st, recreational marijuana has become legal in Oregon. With this change, there are likely many questions about what this means for you, but perhaps more importantly, what this means for the children in our lives.

Choices we make as adults have a very different impact on our health and well-being compared to that of our children whose brains are still rapidly developing—in fact, until around age 25.
We hope that this season of change can prompt us to consider the needs of our growing children and how we can support and help them grow to be healthy young adults.

Did you know that you have the power to raise your children to be substance free?
It’s important to educate yourself and know where you stand on marijuana and alcohol use. And as important, do your children know where you stand?

Research shows that kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. If you’re unsure on the subject, more than likely your children are too, which can open the door to adolescent experimentation.

As a parent or other caring adult, when we look to prevent or change particular behaviors in children, we sometimes do so by attempting to instill fear or scare tactics.  When it comes to anti-substance use scare tactics, it may sound something like this:

  • See that mock crash, if you drink and drive, you will crash and you will die
  • Were you listening to the story that family told about their child’s drug overdose? If you take those pills, you will end up the same way as that child
  • Look at those awful pictures of meth users. That is what happens when people use meth.

Prevention experts discourage the use of scare tactics and here’s why:

  • Youth are hardwired to defend against negative messaging: When the outcome doesn’t always match the message being delivered to them, they may discount it. “My friend took those same pills to get high many times and he’s just fine.”
  • Young people filter information differently than adults: Most adults filter information using logic and rational thinking. Most teens, on the other hand, are naturally driven to engage in riskier, more impulsive behavior. Blame it partially on the adolescent brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for controlling impulses, exercising judgment and decision-making (which we just learned from above isn’t fully developed!).
  • High-risk youth can be more attracted to risky behavior: Some youth are wired more strongly for sensation-seeking and are more impulsive risk-takers. Present such a youth with the chance to rebel by getting drunk or high and he/she may see it as thrill-seeking opportunity. The better approach here is to deliver a positive message about non-use, so as not to give a child something to rebel against.
  • Strong warnings can send unintended messages: Overwhelming negative attention focused on anti-use may unintentionally send the message to children that it is a widespread problem and everyone must be doing it. Such misinterpretation leads to youth believing alcohol and drug use is the norm, that their peers are using, and that peers would be accepting of their choice to use.

Ok, that’s helpful, but now what can I do?
When it comes to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, focus efforts on teaching children what TO do, instead of what NOT to do, and reminding them regularly that the majority of youth do not use.

Research shows that parents and other caring adults can have the greatest impact on young lives by guiding them to make positive decisions, showing them healthy ways to cope, teaching them important resistance skills, and then giving them the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned.

Our youth hold a great deal of promise for our future. It’s up to us as parents and mentors to help guide them to put their best step forward!

You can read our Fall Newsletter for more resources.

Video available online

If you missed our spring Community Forum on Marijuana & Youth, you can now view it online. Here is a sample taken from Eric Martin’s keynote address.

Visit OCT’s YouTube channel to see the panel discussion, Judge Laraine McNiece’s talk, and more clips from Eric Martin.
You can view the full forum by following this link.

Community Forum on Marijuana & Youth

And wow, Oregon City!!
 Thank you to everyone who came out for April 9th Forum on Marijuana & Youth. What an amazing show of support for our young people.

With big thanks to our keynote Eric Martin, our amazing panelists (Paige Hirt, Amber Kersey, Officer Kevin Carlson, Dr. Ken Ensroth, and moderator Bill Stewart), Willamette Falls Media Center, Oregon City Police Department, Oregon City High School, Oregon City Police Department, Foundations Counseling & Consultation Services, LLC, Oregon City Chamber of Commerce, Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center, our partners & volunteers…

…and of course the parents, community leaders and youth who made the time and took action to get empowered and informed around this crucial conversation.

Here is the great coverage from KATU.

Eric Martin at the Spring Community Forum on Marijuana and Youth



Our first ever Volunteer Meeting!

Oregon City Together is holding a meeting for neighbors, parents, and friends who might be interested in helping with the April 9th Marijuana Community Awareness Forum and other upcoming projects. If you’re committed to the health of our community’s youth, we’ve got a job for you!
This will be a chance to meet each other and get a more personal introduction to OC Together. We’ll give a brief overview of where we are now as an organization, what we’ve accomplished so far, and what we are hoping to see in the future. Project sign-up sheets will be available for the Marijuana Community Forum, standing work groups, and other future needs.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11th from 1:00 – 2:30 pm in Room 209 at Eastham School (1404 7th Street in Oregon City). Questions? Contact Elizabeth at ocitytogether (at)

Teens and Pot : What Parents Should Know

Visit for info on our April 9th Community Awareness Forum.

OCT’s Webcast Launch

We are happy to see the early beginnings of a webcast series focused on informing our community on the current concerns around youth and alcohol and other drug use.  Stay tuned for future installments.  With big thanks to Bill Stewart, Donny Wright, and the Willamette Falls Media Center.

National Night Out

Thank you again to Mayor Neeley and all of the good sports who helped create such a fun National Night Out! Here are just a few pics, including cameos from our City Council and Chief of Police. It was great fun for all, and we are hoping that next year's cream pies will be just as thrilling. :-)

Thank you again to Mayor Neeley and all of the good sports who helped create such a fun National Night Out! Here are just a few pics, including cameos from our City Council and Chief of Police. It was great fun for all, and we are hoping that next year’s cream pies will be just as thrilling. 🙂