A Day of Hope

7/22/2019 Sussex County Health Coalition.

The Sussex County Health Coalition was pleased to invite Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, an internationally known expert in prevention, to deliver the keynote address at “A Day of Hope” Summit, held on June 12 in Georgetown. Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long was honored with a Community Health Innovation Award for her unwavering dedication to address Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in the First State. The conference was attended by Senator Bryant Richardson, prevention specialists, mental health professionals, educational staff, and local high school students. The event addressed many issues related to addition and mental health from multiple angles in hopes of promoting prevention and recovery. This event served as a soft launch for the 2019 Anti-Stigma and Awareness Campaign spearheaded by PMG Consulting and the Sussex County Health Coalition.

Dr. Botvin’s keynote address described advances in prevention science over the past 35 years and the development of effective approaches,  including an evidence-based prevention program that he developed, called Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST). This program is currently being  implemented in several Sussex schools, with the goal to increase prevention services in every school. LST promotes healthy student development by teaching personal self-management skills to improve decision-making and problem-solving abilities, and cope with stress and anxiety; general social skills to overcome shyness, communicating clearly, and building healthy relationships; and skills to resist social influences to smoke, drink alcohol, and use marijuana and other illicit drugs.

We were proud to feature our Sussex Goes Purple “Purple Ambassadors” during the Day of Hope. This group is a peer-topeer implementation of the LST program in Seaford High and Middle schools. Under the project—supported by the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental  Health, Highmark, and all three hospitals in the community—11 Seaford High School students were trained in the LST program and are now known
as “Purple Ambassadors.”

Thank you to all the attendees, organizers, volunteers and presenters for making this such a great event. Please see the special note we received from Dr. Botvin below.

Dear Sussex County Health Coalition,

Thank YOU for your kind note. I was so pleased to be a part of your Day of Hope and honored to be the keynote speaker.

It was great meeting you, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Senator Bryant Richardson, Peggy Geisler, and all the “Purple Ambassadors.”  What a great group and a wonderful experience! Meeting people like the ones attending your conference, especially the purple ambassadors, and seeing our research come to fruition are what makes all of our years of hard work worthwhile.

I was very impressed with everyone I met and their commitment to prevention and the healthy development of Delaware’s youth. They are fortunate  to have such a knowledgeable group of dedicated champions. I’m confident that this is just the beginning of great things to come in Delaware.

Thanks again for the great work you are doing in Delaware...and for making me feel so welcome.

Gilbert J. Botvin, Ph.D.