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Prevention A Newsletter from Helping Services for Northeast Iowa

Look for New Faces at Helping Services Stacie Schroeder As the new Fayette County S t r a t e g i c Prevention Framework Coordinator, I am working closely with agencies in the county to reduce underage drinking and binge drinking. Recently, I graduated from Upper Iowa University with a BSc in Business Management and Human Resource Management. Did you know that 57% of Fayette County high school students consider drinking an “acceptable� behavior? Or that 26.9% of Fayette County residents over the age of 18 reported binge drinking in the last month? In purely economic terms, alcohol abuse costs society almost $185 billion a year, and the human costs are immeasurable. I am new to prevention work, but feel compelled to get involved and make Fayette County a healthier place to live and work. As the mother of a teenager, I want my son and his friends to grow up knowing that he does not need alcohol to have fun. The more we can do as adults, the better the lives of our children and youth will be. Ryan Cooper I am originally from Billings, Montana. Now my wife, Kim (who is from Volga, IA), and I have lived in Elkader for five years. I earned my degree in Biology/ Secondary Education from Montana State University-Billings and promptly moved to northeast Iowa to teach school. After teaching for five years, I switched Continued on page 4

Returning Veterans

a new mission at home

Photo used with permission from Family Features

Fall 2011

Imagine getting a letter from your boss. He tells you that for the next year, you will be sent on assignment in a country far away from home. You will have little contact with your friends and family and few of your everyday comforts. Also, you are told that prior to being sent to this far away country, you will spend three months in training. You knew it was a possibility when you agreed to the position, but you hoped that the letter would never come. Now, you are torn between your responsibilities for the job and your responsibilities as a spouse and parent. Not something you would probably agree to, right? Fortunately, today’s military have agreed to do their jobs to protect our freedoms. Unfortunately, when they return home, they are riddled with the challenges of readjusting to a life that went on without them. Spouses who have been away from their loved ones must once again learn to communicate. Children and families seem to overwhelm soldiers that have not been around them in months. Parents dote on their military children, asking questions and pestering them when they do not talk. Employers want them to return and be as productive as they were before their deployment. Community members hold ceremonies and services to honor them, placing them in a spotlight they did not expect. Add to all this the struggle these brave men and women have knowing they returned home without fellow soldiers. Soldiers become overwhelmed with finding their place. They have been so focused on the mission they were sent to achieve that other things seem small and inconsequential. Communities have changed, businesses have been added, new laws are in place, and the prices of daily necessities have increased. These veterans are Americans back in their homes, yet their previously familiar surroundings seem almost foreign. They miss their friends and bunk mates and are unsure how to act around those they love. The same separation anxieties that affected them when they received that letter are back when they return home. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), in the years since September 11, 2001, more than two million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Although most returning service men and women do not return with serious Continued on next page

From the Executive Director

Recognizing the Unnoticed Acts How is it that people will reach beyond themselves to help someone outside their circle of family and friends? People call and ask how they can help. Then they step forward and touch someone whose need has surpassed their ability to cope.   Bringing financial relief, offering a word of comfort, spending time with a child, and helping a parent are heroic acts that go unnoticed throughout our communities each day as people make their communities caring, safe and productive. We at Helping Services truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to work beside these people in our communities. Their volunteer work provide garlands to those whose lives are a struggle, and their generous spirits dispense the oil of joy, making their community a safe, healthy place to live. Helping Services is made up of 29 staff and 272 program volunteers serving seven counties with 195,215 residents. We have offices strategically placed in Dubuque, Postville, Decorah, Manchester, and Elgin. With passion and dedication, we focus our resources toward preventing and intervening in areas of relationship violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, and substance abuse. This focus empowers the board, staff, and volunteers to facilitate meaningful social change for the health and safety of children and adults in northeast Iowa. A key word here is “volunteers.” We need people whose time is valuable and want to use it wisely. We need people who care to make a difference and will target their energy to that end. We need people who will make room in their lives—what a difference you can make. You can serve by answering the 24-hour telephone line—you will be trained to help people in crisis. Provide child care for an adult class or help teach a class. Work with active community teams in your county to address the epidemic of underage alcohol use. Mentor a child and bring happiness to the face of someone who is young and needing a supportive friendship. Opportunities are listed on our website. Follow us on Facebook. Call our office. There are so many ways to help and many, many opportunities. Please contact us. -David Runyon, Executive Director


Prevention - Fall 2011

Returning Veterans

Continued from page 1

behavioral health issues, a significant proportion do return with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injury, and substance use problems. These challenges, along with trying to readjust into their previous life, are leading many to turn to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as coping mechanisms. Jonathan recently returned home from a tour in Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard. “In Afghanistan, I was part of many missions, and I could see the successes every day. My life was structured and predictable. Here, there is so much going on, and I do not feel like I belong.” Jonathan discussed the challenges of re-entering his life and again becoming familiar with his wife and family. “When I was in Afghanistan, I missed my wife so much. I would picture the day I arrived back home and saw her again. I missed being able to talk to her, but when I got home, it was as if we no longer had anything in common.”

Jonathan’s wife, Karen, felt the same way. “I could not wait for the time that my husband arrived. We made banners and T-shirts. Jonathan’s entire family was on hand for the “Welcome Home” ceremony, but when we arrived at our house, I was not sure how to talk to him anymore. For the past year, we have talked on the phone when he had time. There were so many things that I did not have a chance to tell him about, and even though I want to tell him everything now, I feel like he is an outsider. There have been babies born, weddings, and even a funeral. Yet, he has been detached from all of it and has not gotten to experience the joys or sorrows of the past year. How do I bring him up to speed on this? How do I tell him everything now? Does he even care? These are questions I often ask myself.”

Jonathan’s deployment made him part of a mission to accomplish something good. He was provided with structure and surrounded with like-minded individuals. Now that he has returned home, it is difficult to find others that share the same ideals. A new endeavor at Helping Services can help: the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). County coalitions in Allamakee, Dubuque, Delaware, and Fayette Counties are implementing this project. Jonathan and other returning veterans can use the Strategic Prevention Framework to collaborate with others that have experienced challenges in life. By joining the county coalitions, veterans can work on a mission to reduce underage drinking and binge drinking and learn how others cope with stress. The project’s grant would also allow returning veterans to share their experiences and make sure their fellow soldiers are receiving the support they need from their communities. Finally, the county coalitions would allow veterans to begin new supportive relationships and contribute to the successes of their communities. Veterans have learned to think and act strategically to address a problem. By joining coalitions to address underage drinking and adult binge drinking, they can help their communities, their families, and themselves confront one of the biggest dangers facing Iowa and the United States. By joining this effort veterans will have a clear, purposedriven mission. Learn about Iowa’s SPF in your county Allamakee Katie Bee,, 563-382-1720 Delaware Jen Stolka,, 563-379-0531 Dubuque Dawn Cogan,, 563-379-0629 Fayette Stacie Schroeder, 563-380-7983

Be Ready to Help a Survivor In northeast Iowa, the month of October conjures thoughts of harvesting fields, cheering on favorite sporting events, and enjoying the beautiful fall colors. During October we also celebrate the courageous people who stand against violence in their personal relationships, wearing the color purple. Purple has become the symbol of awareness and support for victims of domestic violence. In the last 17 years, this silent tragedy of abuse has occurred in Iowa. During that time, 231 individuals have been killed in domestic violence related homicides. It continues to happen. You might be asking yourself what you can do to assist someone in a dangerous situation like this. The only way to know if someone is being abused is to ask them. A common myth is that a person who is being abused does not want to talk about it. When you do ask them, always do it in a private place away from the possible abuser. Many times the victim tries to hide the abuse, but s/he often does so for many reasons. These reasons may include embarrassment, being afraid the abuser will become more dangerous towards him or her, possible financial dependency, or having deep emotional feelings for the abusive person. Must-Do’s When Helping A Possible Victim

Upcoming Events Helping Services hosts many programs, meetings, trainings and events for you and the community. For complete details and an up-to-date listing of these opportunities, please visit our Facebook pages or our online calendar at

Reader Input We would like to gather input on what pieces of this issue you enjoyed or ignored. Do you have content you would like to see in future issues? Share your feedback with our Administrative Office (contact information below). After all, this publication is to benefit you, our readers. Thank you for your opinions.

Board of Directors

• Believe them. • Be a good listener.

Domestic and Sexual Abuse

• Don’t judge.

Resource Center Crisis Line Helping Services

• Be supportive. • Build on their strengths.

• Don’t downplay their situation.

800 -383 -2988

• Encourage them to call the crisis line. • Let them know that help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Perhaps you do not personally know a possible victim. You can help in other ways. These include volunteering to answer our crisis line, transporting victims to safety, providing a safe haven for survivors, donating needed supplies, and participating in the Christmas Giving Project (see details below). No one deserves to be abused. Everyone deserves support. Thank you for being willing and ready to help survivors in their time of need.

The Christmas Giving Project The Resource Center has begun collecting Christmas gifts for children and families fleeing domestic violence. You can help by bringing new, unwrapped gifts to the Decorah or Postville offices.

Toy Favorites: • Bratz or Barbie dolls • DVD’s or music CD’s • board games

• Spiderman toys • trucks or tractors • Hotwheels

• puzzles • Legos

Toys are needed for children under 18 months and for teens (they usually like gift cards, bath and body items). If you’d like to sponsor a family, call the Postville office for gift ideas, 563-864-7163. Gifts must be dropped off by December 15. Thank you for supporting these families in a special way this holiday season.



Steven Drewes, President Dick Graham, President Elect Hanni Hernandez, Treasurer Sue McMillian, Secretary Tom Buresh Barb Duwe-Peterson Dennis Koenig Mary Straate

Are you receiving duplicate mailings? If you receive multiple newsletters, please let us know. Also notify us if you prefer to receive this newsletter by email. or if you wish to remove your name from our mailing list. Email or call to change to your preference.

Contact Information Prevention is published quarterly by Helping Services for Northeast Iowa. Administrative Office P.O. Box 372, Decorah, IA 52101 Email: Phone: 563-387-1720 Fax: 563-382-5730


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

New Faces Continued from page 1

Holiday Lights Magical Nights

jobs and began working for the Valley Community Coalition. I enjoy working for the VCC because it is a community organization making a legitimate difference in the lives of many people here in the Valley.

Yes, it’s time to pack up the grandkids and belt out “Jingle Bells,” as you drive to the Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah. We want to invite you to come enjoy the new light displays, chat with Santa, and spend a cheerful evening together with your loved ones. You may not be able to bring everyone you would like, but you can still celebrate those friends and family members no longer with you. Again this year, we are dedicating the tunnel of lights to be a memorial. As you drive through red and green lights in the tunnel, you can fondly remember the holidays past with those special people. To commemorate your loved one, we are suggesting a donation of $50 per name. These special names will be listed in our Holiday lights program given to every visiting car of the lights.

Katie Becker I am a native Northeast Iowan, and I realized my dreams of working in human service while studying at Luther College. Since graduating, I have worked in the Decorah community as a sales assistant for Donlon Pharmacy and a skills trainer for Opportunity Homes, Inc. I believe that local businesses and agencies are the cornerstone to a successful and prosperous community. As the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Coordinator, I hope to build community awareness and support for area services as well as create more opportunities for families to grow healthy relationships. I think, together, we can give everyone the chance to succeed, nurture future generations, and change the world one life at a time.

“Last year my husband Stuart’s light shone brightly, and it will again this year through my contribution to his memory at the Holiday Lights Magical Nights Memory Tunnel. It is a beautiful way to remember how much Stuart loved the lights of Christmas and helping others.” -Cindy Schultz If you are interested in honoring your loved one in the Tunnel of Lights Memorial, call Dennis Osmundson, 563-387-1720.

Watch Your Mailbox You will soon be receiving this year’s holiday card from Helping Services. We want to wish you happy holidays, thank you for your past commitment, and give you an opportunity to help provide services to more people this next year. As with any non-profit, your donation is needed and appreciated. When you give to Helping Services, your gift is passed on locally to help your neighbors and thier children bring health and safety into their lives. Please consider making a financial gift this year. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the new year.

2011 Holiday Lights Magical Nights Nov 24 to Dec 25 Thursdays thru Sundays 5:30 - 8:30 pm Open every night Christmas week. Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah off Hwy 52

Giving Form

Monthly Giving Program

I will support Helping Services monthly through an electronic funds transfer in the amount of:




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Signature Today’s Date I hereby authorize Helping Services for Northeast Iowa to arrange automatic withdrawals from my bank account on the day of each month. I understand that I may cancel at anytime with written notice. *IMPORTANT* Please include a voided check.

One Time Donation I will support Helping Services and have enclosed a check made out to Helping Services for the amount of: $30




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Secure Online Donation Donate Donations can be made through our secure Now website, www.

Questions? Call 563-387-1720


Prevention- Fall 2011

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Please mail this form to:



PO Box 372, Decorah, IA 52101

Your donation brings positive programming and resources that truly matter to the people of our community. Family Support Domestic/Sexual Abuse Resource Center Mentoring Substance Abuse Prevention

From the Board of Directors

Two Powerful Words

Supporters of one county’s 2011 National Mentoring Month Proclamation

The Ambitious 2012 Mentoring Goal During the past year, 84 youth found support and friendship with a mentor in Allamakee, Delaware, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties.

In 2012, we are going to double that number. How? We can only do it with your help and the help of your brother, your neighbor, your dentist, everyone. We are asking you to be part of the 11th annual National Mentoring Month, January 2012. This month has been set aside to celebrate mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young people. During the month, awareness of mentoring will be heightened, and individuals will be recruited to be involved in mentoring programs.

5 Ways You Can Help Give 168 Youth Support In 2012 1. Become a mentor. Make a difference in a youth’s life. In just 4-5 hours a month, you can build a positive relationship with a youth and help them aspire, achieve, and develop to their fullest potential. You will be amazed by how much you will get out of the friendship too! 2. Become a Mentor For A Day. Spend time with a youth waiting for a mentor by attending a mentoring event that fits in your schedule. 3. Recruit a Mentor For A Day. Encourage someone you know to spend a few hours one time with a youth at a mentoring event. 4. Join a Steering Committee. Each mentoring program has a group of community members that help make decisions about the program and help plan events and trainings. 5. Sign the proclamation. Each county will be asked to declare January as National Mentoring Month. This proclamation is a legal document signed by elected officials and other mentoring supporters in January. It says, “We publicly support mentoring efforts, because we know it is effective and important.” Watch for the dates, times, and locations of proclamation signings in January. Help us celebrate National Mentoring Month in your county. In doing so, invest in your community’s future and have a whole lot of fun. Help us reach our ambitious goal. 168 supported youth, here we come! You don’t have to wait until January to learn more about mentoring or how you can get involved. Today you can call, 563-387-1720, visit www., or check out our Facebook page.

Hello, I am Steven Drewes, the newly elected president of the board of directors of Helping Services. I have been a member of the board for the past five years. Prior to serving in this capacity, I taught middle school social studies for 41 years. I also coached track and cross country, and I farmed with my father. My retirement six years ago has allowed more time for family (my wife, Olivia, and I have three children and six grandchildren), landscaping, reading and volunteering. Being a board member has given me opportunities to make many new friends and be involved in activities beyond my hometown of West Union. As a result, I have many people to thank and much to be thankful for. That statement leads me to what I wish to address in my messages to all of you throughout the next twelve months. “Thank” and “you” are two seemingly simple words. But as we all know, the two together are very powerful words, whether we recieve a “thank you” or we deliver a “thank you.” Several years ago an unknown author stated, “I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom.” That meaningful statement speaks volumes for how we at Helping Services feel towards the people of the seven counties we serve. This past July, several board members took part in a phone thank-a-thon, calling people who have donated monetarily to the agency. It is always rewarding to receive kind comments in return during those conversations. We are looking forward to saying “thank you” to many people in the future. Helping Services will be initiating its annual fund drive soon. The second annual walk/run on Friday, November 25, is being organized. Plans are being made for our Holiday Lights Magical Nights event. With these events and the ongoing services provided by our staff, many thank yous will be forthcoming. On behalf of the board of directors and the staff of Helping Services, I extend to all of you a blessed Thanksgiving. May that holiday reinforce our realization of the power of two simple words.

-Steven Drewes, Board President



Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage

P.O. Box 372 Decorah, IA 52101

Decorah, Iowa Permit No. 4




Opening Night:

Thanksgiving (Details on page 4)

Highlights Inside Returning Veterans New Mission.....1 Be Ready to Help a Survivor..........3 Most Wonderful Time of Year..........4 Ambitious 2012 Mentoring Goal.......5

A Day-After-Thanksgiving Tradition on November 25 After the big turkey dinner last year, people were ready to stretch their legs on Black Friday. So, they showed up at the Pulpit Rock Campground for the Holiday Lights 5K. The race is on again this year with even more festive fun. So runners, walkers and stroller-riders get ready for November 25. (Race begins at 4 p.m.) New this year: A special one mile run will be held for kids under 12, with prizes awarded to the first boy and girl. We are also hosting a Corporate Challenge, encouraging local big businesses to get as many employees at the event and go home with the traveling trophy. Same as last year: Prizes will be awarded to the first male and female runners, as well as to the Largest Family and the Best Holiday Costume competition winners. Start recruiting family and digging out those reindeer antlers. We learned last year that the more help the better. That’s why this year we have a specific list of needed volunteer elves. Sign up for tasks ranging from registration help, to photographing, to caroling. For the extensive list of elf positions, visit the website.

Holiday Lights 6

Prevention - Fall 2011


Come cheer on your grandkids, race against your coach, or help direct traffic. No matter your reason, we hope to see you at Pulpit Rock Campground on November 25.

Pre-Register by Nov. 18, Save $

Fall 2011, Prevention  

A quarterly publication from Helping Services for Northeast Iowa

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