Who We Are
WaylandCares is a community coalition dedicated to reducing youth substance use and abuse in Wayland, Mass. We believe it is the collective responsibility of the community to create a safe environment for our young people, and to support healthy youth decision-making. This intergenerational initiative promotes a comprehensive prevention approach through effective, evidence-based and age-appropriate strategies.
The origin of WaylandCares dates to 1981 when, in response to a series of alcohol-related teen deaths in the town, students founded SADD (originally Students Against Drunk Driving and now Students Against Destructive Decisions), and school staff and parents established the Wayland Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force to address underage drinking and drug use.
The task force evolved into the umbrella organization for many activities designed to prevent adolescent substance use and to facilitate access to treatment for youth identified with an alcohol or drug problem.
In response to more alcohol-related problems involving Wayland teens, Wayland Public Schools in 2005 received a three-year grant from the MetroWest Health Care Foundation to build a community coalition, strengthen curricula for secondary school health education and create new ways to intervene and support youth with substance abuse issues. A prevention specialist was hired to direct the project and lead the community in a best-practice, research-based prevention approach.
Through this funding initiative, the task force worked to expand the network of people and organizations collaborating to address teen substance use and abuse in Wayland. Membership was broadened to include clergy, business, health professions, parents and more youth to develop a strong community-based structure. The organization renamed itself the Wayland Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and began a public health approach – moving beyond the narrower focus of changing individual teen behavior to also changing community norms and policies that allow alcohol and drug use among teens to take root.
This broad collaboration of community members working together empowered the coalition to qualify for funding under a federal Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant. In October, 2008, with Wayland Public Schools as the fiscal agent, the Wayland Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition received a five-year, $625,000 federal grant.
In 2010, in recognition of the broad understanding of the many factors of healthy decision-making and prevention, the coalition changed its name to WaylandCares. The group continues to bring stakeholders and community resources together to address issues of substance abuse education, prevention and intervention. The goals of the coalition are to raise community awareness about youth substance abuse and prevention through education, social marketing and advocacy and to strengthen the community infrastructure to address youth substance abuse.
We all have questions and sometimes we all need help.
Parents have great influence on their children’s decisions before they begin to use illegal substances. Many students report that one of the main reasons they choose NOT to use is parental disapproval.