News Release – December 19, 2006

Program that helps teens in trouble with drugs, alcohol and crime wins top state honor

Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace campaign receives award from Governor’s Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs

Portland, OR (December 19, 2006) — The Oregon state Governors Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs today awarded Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace with the Clark Campbell Media Award for education and reducing alcohol and other drug abuse problems.

Multnomah Embrace earned the recognition for its “When You Were 15” campaign which works to increase community understanding of teen challenges and encourage adults to become a positive influence in their lives. The campaign includes a published book, radio spots, a Web site, posters, and bus ads; and has garnered favorable media coverage from area newspapers, television and radio stations.

The campaign includes stories from local celebrities, including Art Alexakis of the rock band Everclear, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, African drummer Obo Addy, Portland Schools Superintendent Vicki Phillips and others who talked about their own lives at 15 (which were often challenging), and the adults who helped them.

As part of this campaign, Multnomah Embrace has formed partnerships with three mentoring organizations: Big Brothers/Big Sisters Northwest, Oregon Mentors and Powerhouse Mentoring Program. Multnomah Embrace has also collaborated with Write Around Portland, a local arts program, to produce and publish the book, as well as provide a series of writing workshops for youth in juvenile detention, residential alcohol and drug abuse treatment and community service programs.

Most people can think back to a time in their teenage lives when they were having a tough time and recall one adult who had a particularly positive influence them,” said Benjamin Chambers, Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace project director. “Reclaiming Futures wants to encourage people to return the favor by mentoring a youth in trouble that needs help.”

Mentors are still being recruited for this ongoing campaign. People interested in becoming a mentor can find more information at www.whenyouwere15.org.

Multnomah Embrace is one of 10 communities in the nation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures initiative to help teens in the juvenile justice system overcome the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. In addition to providing quality drug and alcohol treatment for these teens, a key element of the Reclaiming Futures model is to engage community members to serve as mentors and natural helpers, and provide more opportunities to engage in healthy, positive community and social activities.

Reclaiming Futures is a $21 million initiative located in Anchorage, Alaska.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; three counties in Eastern Kentucky; Marquette, Mich.; the state of New Hampshire; Rosebud, South Dakota; Dayton, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle, Wash. In its fifth year, early research conducted by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago indicates the program has significantly improved the coordination of juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment services in its 10 communities. It is housed in the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University. For additional information, visit www.reclaimingfutures.org.

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