Community of Concern
The Community of Concern (COC) is a national program founded over twenty-five years ago by parents in Washington, D.C. who wanted to gain a better understanding of the effects of alcohol and other drugs on youth as well as the situations that surround usage. Five years ago, leaders in our community saw a similar need and in an effort to protect our youth initiated the COC Program in five private schools in our area – Bayside Academy, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, St. Luke’s Episcopal School, St. Paul’s Episcopal School and UMS-Wright Preparatory School. COC is a parent-driven group that works within the school environment to disseminate information. This sharing of knowledge and empowering of parents, teachers, administrators and youth has made a positive impact in many communities. COC is more a philosophy than a program, one that promotes healthy, productive conversations based on solid information on often challenging topics. The basic philosophy is described in three steps:
Educate all parties, both youth and adults, with the focus on facts and not misinformation or gossip.
Bring all parties together for effective communication ensuring that everyone has the same understanding of the facts and possible consequences. This step also helps both youth and adults develop dialogue about subjects they may find difficult to discuss.
Youth with the input of adults set viable personal goals for one year using the “facts conversation” to determine how to stay alcohol and drug free. Youth are encouraged to reexamine these goals annually.
For more information at UMS-Wright Preparatory School, please contact Meridy Jones, Upper School Guidance Counselor at 470-9029 or Tabitha Olensky, Parents’ Association COC Liaison at 776-2650.
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Community of Concern | Drug Education Council