Archive for the ‘News’ Category

‘Save a Life Day’ teaches valuable lessons to Yorktown’s youth

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Your Yorktown

Alliance for Safe Kids (ASK), a Yorktown Heights-based non-profit organization, returned Sunday, Feb. 8, with the annual “Save a Life” program. The program is intended to inform and empower high school students and adults alike to be “community allies” and first responders themselves to support individuals in crisis.

At Save a Life, students were able to register online for the event and attend a screening of the local documentary “Whispering Spirits” about Justin Veatch, a musician who tragically died of a drug overdose at 17 years old. Commentary was provided after the documentary by his father, Jeffrey Veatch. After the screening, the students were able to be involved in a variety of different interactive workshops.

One workshop focused on youth mental health with professionals who were able to provide bits of information on different misunderstood mental illnesses that are surprisingly common amongst the age group. At the end of the workshop, the students are able to sign up for a monthly discussion group at the Alliance for Safe Kids office, providing them with a resource for coping, information, and friendship. The next workshop involved the Yorktown Police Department entitled “House Parties.” Here, the YPD was able to provide the teenagers with useful information on what to do if they were to find themselves in a questionable situation. The police department was there to openly and honestly discuss with the teens what exactly happens when the police officers are called, and to prevent reckless behavior by partygoers that could potentially cause harm to themselves or others in fear of being caught. Hope’s Door was in attendance to lead “The Dating Game.” The interactive game had three contestants reading from scripts, all of which represented a different type of relationship. One was depicted to be an extremely abusive relationship, another represented a bachelor that seemed alright, but had some key warning signs (like constantly wanting to check his partner’s text messages or tell them who to hang out with) and the third contestant was “the good guy,” who was a prime example of a healthy relationship.

Alliance for Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator Liz Talbert noted that a lot of the teenagers “think that ‘that guy’ in the middle is totally fine and normal, and he’s clearly not. There are some hidden things going on.” With that, it’s clear that events like Save a Life are definitely great resources to educate these children. Lastly, there are a lot of hands-on displays including a state trooper who brought a drug display unit to help those who may be simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, there was a brief workshop on the basics of alcohol poisoning, and what to do if you think someone has it. This is not just beneficial but important, as it’s not taught in basic First Aid training. These students, participating in the event are what Talbert calls the “go-to” kids. These are the kids that will be the ones to notice that there’s someone whose been drinking a little too much, or that one of their friends is hanging out with the wrong crowd; They’ll be the ones to say something. By working with these “go-to” kids, the hope is they’ll be able to recognize the sign of alcohol poisoning, and know what to do. They’re the “first responders” until the police can get there.

Alliance for Safe Kid’s Save a Life is geared towards not just educating kids as to why drugs and alcohol should be avoided, but what to do in case an unforeseen situation arises. It seems like so much to just provide in a few short hours, but as Talbert describes it, “it’s just the beginning of a conversation.” There are programs going on throughout the year that support each and every workshop offered at Save a Life where the participating students can continue educating themselves, and working towards a safer and healthy community. There is also a program for adults on youth mental health that provides anyone and everyone with basic information so that they will be able to recognize that something’s just not right, and seek help for themselves or their family before it’s too late.

ASK was founded in 2002 by members of the Yorktown community in order to “provide a safety net for the youth and families” of Yorktown. ASK is an association that works with teenagers, parents, educators and law enforcement to provide the impressionable youth with the information and skills needed to make healthy decisions while also working with their parents to offer information about how to protect their children from these dangerous and unforeseen circumstances.

To do this, ASK uses a variety of different strategies. First, and most obviously they work to raise awareness of substance abuse and other destructive behaviors. Additionally, ASK reaches out to parents to promote communication between parents and children. In doing this, the hope is there will be reduced access to alcohol to teenagers as parents and older siblings learn to refrain from providing it. Likewise, ASK also strives to provide alternate activities to youth by organizing safe, substance-free opportunities for socialization.

Save A Life – From the Community

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Save A Life went down on Sunday February 8th and attendees had some wonderful things to say!

Just returned from today’s Save A Life program and I must say it was amazing. From the volunteer effort to the heart felt presentations both speakers and videos. Valuable information and resources provided. Thank you !! — Donna

The whole day was very insightful. The film on Justin Veatch made me cry, thank you for the tissues. When I saw the pillow that all our kids made when they were in middle school, it took my breath away. Such a talented young boy, whose parents are working hard so that another family does not have to go through what they have lived through, losing a child. Thank you ASK for this and all you do! — Dina

Teach our kids they do not have to be a follower but yet be a good leader as well as being a good friend to those in need. I am happy to have been a part of this with my daughter. Great job Alliance for Safe Kids. — Lucy

Information is power and we live in an amazing community filled with caring, giving people ! — Theresa

There is a lot of people out there that care about all these kids!!!! Kids please use all these resources if you or a friend is in need!!!! — Jennifer



Yorktown’s Alliance For Safe Kids Presents Its Annual Save A Life Forum

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Daily Voice

The Alliance for Safe Kids, Inc. (ASK) is hosting its annual Save A Life Forum on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Yorktown Stage and the Yorktown Community Cultural Center.

The forum is designed to inform and empower high school students and adults to be community allies and first responders to support teens and families in crisis,

The Yorktown Stage and the Yorktown Community Cultural Center is at 1974 Commerce St.

The four-hour event, free to more than 200 registered students and adults at Yorktown, Lakeland and Walter Panas high Schools, features exhibitors of support services, interactive workshops for students and adults. The event will include a screening of local documentary “Whispering Spirits” which tells the story of Justin Veatch, a talented musician from Yorktown who died of a drug overdose at the age of 17.

The film follows Jeffrey, Justin’s father, as his family grapples with their devastating loss while reconnecting with him through the music he left behind. The film will be followed by discussion with Jeffrey Veatch.

The day concludes with the Taste of Yorktown experience: a room filled with signature dishes from 12 local restaurants and the opportunity to vote for your favorite.

Schedule highlights include the following:

Adult and teen programs:

1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.: Documentary and discussion: Whispering Spirits

4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Exhibit Hall

4:30 p.m. to  5 p.m.: Taste of Yorktown

Adult programs:

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Youth Mental Health First Aid

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Documentary: Choices

Teen programs:

2:30 – 3:45  The Dating Game – Hope’s Door House Parties; Alcohol Drugs and the Law – Yorktown Police Department, Youth Mental Health, The Community Network Team; Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Abuse – Phelps Hospital

Save A Life 2015 Promoted at YHS

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

TIMG_3827oday, representatives and volunteers from ASK spent the day in the Yorktown High School cafeteria promoting Save A Life. Students were able to stop by the ASK table and view photos from previous events, speak with volunteers, and get detailed information regarding what to expect at Save A Life. Several photos taken of students were posted on the ASK Instagram account using the hashtag #SaveALife2015, which students began posting from their personal accounts. Even YHS Principal Joseph DeGennaro took a photo with us to show his support for Save A Life. Yorktown students are getting excited for February 8th.









Save the Date: Save a Life Forum at Yorktown Stage Feb. 8

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Yorktown Patch

The Alliance for Safe Kids, Inc. is hosting the fifth annual Save A Life Forum on Sunday, February, 8 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Yorktown Stage and the Yorktown Community Cultural Center located at 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown, NY 10598.

Save A Life is a program designed to inform and empower high school students and adults to be community allies and first responders to support teens and families in crisis.

This year Save A Life Forum features:

  • Screening of local documentary Whispering Spirits which tells the story of Justin Veatch, a talented musician who tragically died of a drug overdose at the age of seventeen. The film follows Jeffrey, Justin’s father, as his family grapples with their devastating loss while reconnecting with him through the music he left behind. The film will be followed by comments from Yorktown resident, Jeffrey Veatch.
  • Interactive Workshops for high school students: Safe Dating Role Play, House Party Raids, Refusal Skills, Youth Mental Health, Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Abuse
  • Interactive Workshops for adults: Youth Mental Health and Choices, a local documentary on substance abuse
  • Interactive Informational Exhibits showcasing dozens of local organizations and resources including the Westchester County Driving Simulator and Crashed Car
  • All Save A Life participants will be rewarded with the annual Taste of Yorktown experience: a room filled with signature dishes from 12 local restaurants and the opportunity to vote for their favorite.

Due to the generous support of the Yorktown Community this event will be FREE for all participants.

Limited Seating! High school students and adults may register online now Participants will receive program certificates for their resumes/portfolios and community service hours.

By devoting just one Sunday afternoon – a single afternoon of your life – you can take the first steps toward saving a friend.

Whispering Spirits Documentary to be Shown at Save A Life 2015

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Whispering Spirits, a film recently released at Jacob Burns Film Center, tells the story of Justin Veatch- a Yorktown teen who died of a drug overdose at the age of seventeen just as he was beginning his senior year at Yorktown High School. Justin was an incredibly gifted musician whose spirit lives on through his original music, which continues to touch lives in our community and beyond. The film takes viewers on the journey of Jeffrey, Justin’s father, and the Veatch family as they remain connected to Justin through the brilliance and inspiration of his music.

Catch a preview of the moving documentary that can be viewed in full at ASK’s Save A Life event on February 8th.

The Justin Veatch Fund is a non-profit organization that “recognizes the teaching of music and art as a critical component of a child’s education. The mission of The Fund is to support emerging, college-bound artists with opportunities to discover new skills and to refine existing talent.” The fund is dedicated to providing educated young artists with scholarships that will ultimately help finance promising careers where there passion lies: in music.

Learn more about The Justin Veatch Fund  by coming out to Save A Life 2015!

Hope’s Door at Save A Life 2015

Friday, January 16th, 2015

ASK’s annual Save A Life event is designed to inform and empower high school students and adults to be community allies and first responders to support teens and families in crisis. In order to achieve this, several workshops will be directed by professionals from several organizations that specialize in prominent safety issues faced by teens each day. Hope’s Door is one of the many inspiring groups that will be presenting at Save A Life.

This incredible alliance “seeks to end domestic violence and to empower victims to achieve safety, independence, and healing from the trauma of abuse.” Hope’s Door formed in 1979 after discovering the need for protection of domestic abuse victims. Over the course of the next ten years, 16 bed-residencies were purchased by the organization and proceeded to shelter survivors and their children.

Hope’s Door eventually began to focus on the pervasive issue of Teen Dating Abuse. At our Save A Life event, Hope’s Door will be sharing their professional knowledge and extensive resources regarding this issue, leaving our youth empowered to recognize signs of unhealthy relationships so proper safety measures can be taken. Facilitators will lead “The Dating Game” where participants will role play and become educated on distinguishing healthy versus unhealthy love.