Note: In an effort to highlight the prevention programs that are available in Mifflin County, Mifflin County Communities That Care (CTC) is offering a new series that will focus on one service provider each month. CTC offers this information with the purpose of strengthening our families and community.

I am Jennifer Hepner, the Secretary for Communities That Care. As a volunteer for Communities That Care, I serve on the Executive Board, Prevention Board, and the Media Event Action Team. I care about kids and I live in a community that cares.

Communities That Care is a volunteer coalition working to decrease risky behaviors and increase healthy behaviors in the youth of Mifflin County. Currently our focus is on working to reduce underage drinking and to strengthen families and communities.

In order to help reduce underage drinking we are working to educate parents, because underage drinking is an adult problem. A lot of kids are able to drink before they are 21 because they can access alcohol by getting it at home or from an adult or an older sibling. Well-meaning parents provide alcohol to their teens and their teens’ friends with good intentions, thinking that it is okay since they are staying at home and not driving while drinking. This sends the message that underage drinking is acceptable.

Instead, we adults need to send a clear and consistent message that underage drinking is illegal and unacceptable. Adults who provide alcohol to minors can be fined and imprisoned. Teens who drink put themselves at a higher risk for health problems, for alcoholism, for making dangerous decisions, for decreasing academic performance, etc. “Parents Who Host Lost The Most! Don’t be a Party to Underage Drinking?”

To help strengthen families and communities, we are working to provide parenting workshops, to provide activities for kids, to provide activities for families, and to strengthen and grow community watch programs.

Our vision is “Because of community-wide collaboration, Mifflin County will have safe, caring and drug-free neighborhoods for all children”. If you care about kids like I do, we have a role for you! To get involved, please call 248-3994. We care about kids. We are Communities That Cares.