Welcome to "Choose the Right Path"!

ThreePresenters_copy.jpg
Introduction
This "Choose The Right Path" webinar and wiki provide teachers with (1) an introduction to problem gambling among youth, and (2) the tools to use- within the framework of health, developmental guidance, and related disciplines- a one-session lesson on gambling as an addiction with options to expand to multi-sessions.
History
The webinar and companion wiki are two of the outcomes of a Connecticut Legislative Initiative funded in 2005 that enabled the Connecticut State Departments of Education (SDE) and Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to partner in addressing the impact of gambling activities among state youth.
This initiative also led to the formation, by the SDE and DMHAS Commissioners, of the "Connecticut Youth Gambling Work Group" which included representation from SDE, DMHAS Prevention Unit, DMHAS Problem Gambling Services (PGS), the Regional Action Councils (RACs), the Connecticut Regional Educational Service Centers (RESC) Alliance, and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. In 2008, the Work Group published the results of its efforts in the following two studies:
1) Yale University's "Gambling Behavior among High School Students in the State of Connecticut, a survey of 4,523 high school students, http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/lib/dmhas/pgs/yalereport.pdf; and
2) the RACs’ "Community Assessment on Youth Gambling and Youth Problem Gambling Prevention Efforts", http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/lib/dmhas/pgs/racreport.pdf, a survey of parents, students, school teachers, administrators and staff, and community workers and leaders.
Training
Also included in the Work Group's efforts were four school-based and community-based pilot projects and a statewide initiative to "train the trainers" to bring a one-session, user-friendly, and easily adaptable problem gambling awareness program into the classroom. The full report is available on this site through the link "Youth and Gambling".
In 2006 – 2007, the Work Group also trained, through the RESCs, a cadre of thirteen professional developers who, in turn, scheduled trainings in individual districts. It soon became apparent that the amount of staff time and resources needed to provide the kind of oversight, outreach and support to this project was beyond the scope of the Work Group. At the same time, the enthusiasm and positive feedback of those teachers who did become trained and had rewarding experiences using the materials in the classroom inspired the Work Group to develop different ways to reach educators.
And here they are!
Webinar and Wiki
Webinars and wikis are relatively new phenomenon, and certainly new to us. "Us" includes two members of the original Work Group and one Education Consultant. All three of us are former classroom teachers who share a commitment to creating healthy and productive students and citizens. It is our hope that you, the participants, will become as excited as we are about introducing this pertinent and important material to young people.
As a result of signing on for the live webinar, you now have access to the resources provided through the wiki. Also available to you will be technical assistance and follow-up support as you prepare and evaluate your efforts to incorporate the lesson on "Beat Addiction: Choose the Right Path" into your teaching.
We hope all the participants will contribute their ideas, questions and comments to the wiki.