Daily Herald supports group's fight against heroin
Diane Overgard helped launch ParentsMatterToo last year as a way to equip parents in the fight against heroin use.
This is what she had to say to Staff Writer Marie Wilson about the lasting effects of the Daily Herald's coverage.
"The Daily Herald was instrumental in getting the word out about the launch of ParentsMatterToo.
"From the beginning of the initiative, the Daily Herald was there to provide coverage and let people know about the resources we were offering parents, mainly our positive parenting discussion groups called Parent Conversation Circles. You helped parents be aware of when and where they could tap into a circle that fit their schedule.
"We also offer more than 85 Ask An Expert videos about subjects such as drugs, bullying, anxiety, peer pressure and family relationships. You came out to a filming session at the Fox Valley Institute, which did a lot to show people who are these experts who are taking their time to answer real parent questions from the community.
"You wrote a fabulous story about that with big photos. Through the course of the year, you were there to help people be mindful of the programs in their community."
Editor's note: This is an abbreviated version of a story that ran Dec. 1, 2014
By Marie Wilson
Never underestimate the power of parents in the fight against heroin.
That's the message of a Naperville nonprofit called ParentsMatterToo, which teaches positive techniques parents can use to encourage children to stay away from pitfalls like heroin.
ParentsMatterToo launched in October 2013 in response to the growing heroin problem in Naperville and surrounding suburbs.
One of its main offerings is a series of support groups called Parent Conversation Circles that discuss how to build family values, how to reach children no matter their personality and how to form strong child/family relationships.
"We are optimistic that families have the power to help their child make the right decision," said Diane Overgard, a life coach who was hired to launch ParentsMatterToo. "If we can create that environment within families to talk to kids in a way that creates a safety zone, where kids are not inclined to hide what's going on that's really scary but know their parent is their No. 1 resource they need to share this information with -- that's when there will be a difference."
The first round of Parent Conversation Circles launched in spring 2014, but Overgard initially said it was tough to get the word out so parents would sign up.
Once parents began to complete the programs, feedback was all positive.
"The ability to get input from others about issues I'm dealing with currently was helpful," parent participant Julie Parker wrote in a survey.
ParentsMatterToo also offers online expert advice videos about topics that might stump parents, such as drugs, anxiety, bullying, depression, sex and peer pressure.
By providing these resources, Overgard says her organization is helping parents can be the best soldiers they can in the fight against heroin.
"We believe there is one answer and it's the parents," she said. "We all need one person in our life who stands by us no matter what we do, and parents can be it."
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