RISAS Leads Local Initiative to Support Children of Alcoholics Week


February 13-19, 2011


WARWICK, Rhode Island (February 9, 2011) – Rhode Island schools and students are under great pressure to meet state and federal learning standards. Schools invest a great deal of time and money in curriculum development, staff development, policies, procedures, and testing. Despite efforts to create an environment where students are “ready to learn,” there are students who fail to meet the standards.


For many students, failure in school has nothing to do with a lack of skills, intellectual capacity, teacher competency, or school environment. Rather, emotional turmoil, alcohol or drug use, living with alcohol or drug dependent parents, and other problems interfere with students’ ability to learn, socialize, and interact with others in the classroom and extracurricular activities in healthy and productive ways.


An estimated 25 percent of all children in the United States (about 27.8 million) are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. During the week of February 13-19, Children of Alcoholics Week celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children who received help to recover from the pain and losses suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering from the adverse impact of parental alcohol and drug addiction.


Locally, Rhode Island Student Assistance Services (RISAS) provides comprehensive school based substance abuse prevention programs for grades 6-12 that identify issues, such as living with alcohol or drug dependent parents, which prevent students from learning and being successful in school and provides education, prevention, early identification, intervention, referral and support groups for affected students.


“We encourage all Rhode Islanders to help break the silence often surrounding familial alcoholism and drug addiction and to reach out to support these children and their families,” said Judy Chick, LICSW, Program Director of RI Student Assistance Services.


At Barrington Middle School, many activities are planned to support awareness for Children of Alcoholics Week including faculty and student raffles encouraging positive social network messaging. To kick off the prevention week, members of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) – known at Barrington Middle School as CHOICE (Children Having Optimistic Influences Connecting Everyone) will be dressing up as famous adult children of alcoholics to demonstrate that you can grow up to be healthy, happy and successful despite the challenges of being a child of an alcoholic. On Valentine's Day, SADD/CHOICE members will be offering students the opportunity to send a supportive message to a friend.

“There are overwhelming challenges for today’s youth including, for many, the challenges of being a child of an alcoholic,” said Courtney Frye Canario, MSW, LICSW, a RISAS Student Assistance Counselor at Barrington Middle School. “It's crucial for students to offer this unconditional support to make a positive difference in a peer's life.”

For more information on this statewide campaign, contact Judy Chick at jchick@rieas.com.


Contact Information

Sarah Dinklage, LICSW
Executive Director


Charles Cudworth, MA
Director, Clinical Services

Leigh Reposa, MSW, LICSW
Manager, Youth Suicide Prevention Program

Colleen Judge, LMHC                  Director, School-Based Services

Kathleen Sullivan
Director, Community Prevention/ Kent County Regional Prevention Coalition 

Heidi Driscoll                      Director, South County Regional Prevention Coalition           hdriscoll@risas.org

Sue Davis, LICSW           Manager, Student Assistance Services               sdavis@risas.org

300 Centerville Rd.
Suite 301 South 
Warwick, RI 02886


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