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The Take a Step Campaign


Communities in all 50 states have mobilized to raise awareness about addiction and recovery as part of a national outreach campaign for MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME. Premiered March 29-31, 1998 on PBS, this series takes an unprecedented look at the science, treatment, prevention, politics, and personal experience of addiction and recovery in America. The Take a Step campaign, coordinated by Thirteen/WNET in New York, was designed to challenge outdated perceptions of addiction, help the public get involved in community activities, and inform people about the resources available to let them seek help for themselves, family members, friends, and co-workers.

In the days preceding and following the national broadcast of MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME, PBS stations, local chapters of national organizations and community groups worked together to create unique local initiatives that raised awareness, offered information and referrals, pointed out local prevention and intervention resources, and encouraged dialogue on addiction and recovery issues. It is hoped that these activities will be the start of ongoing partnerships and continuing cooperative efforts to address the problem of addiction in America.

At the state level, screenings of MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME for legislators and other key policy makers were held in 48 state capitols to promote informed decision-making.

To expand the impact of the series, Thirteen/WNET in New York has produced six companion guides, one for each of the following groups: 1) general public; 2) corporations; 3) health professionals; 4) families; 5) elementary schools; and 6) high schools. The family guide has been published in both English and Spanish. PBS stations in all 50 states are organizing mailings of resource guides and other educational materials to schools, community groups and health organizations in their states.

As part of this unprecedented community outreach effort, KET, The Kentucky Network, and Thirteen/WNET have also produced a one hour video program -- POWER OF THE SPIRIT. Hosted by Bill Moyers, the program takes a look at successful community drug prevention and rehabilitation programs and introduces adults and youths who are turning away from addiction. Segments from POWER OF THE SPIRIT are also available as individual eleven-minute features for broadcast or community outreach use. The segments look at: programs for youth, such as Fighting Back in Santa Barbara, California, and Smart Moves of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Martin County, Florida; family programs such as Strengthening Families in Utah and Texas; health care approaches like that of the Hazelden Physicians in Residence program in New York City; and the world of business -- GPU in New Jersey and Chevron in San Francisco -- where employees share their personal struggles with addiction. The Public Television Outreach Alliance has made both the full one-hour special and the modules available to communities through their local public television stations.

The Public Television Outreach Alliance has also made a package of media literacy materials available to all public television stations for distribution to their schools.

Following are a few highlights from the dozens of activities that took place throughout the country in the days surrounding the broadcast premiere of MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME. This is only a partial list of states and events. Communities from across America mounted a wide range of activities, including town hall meetings, live call-in programs with experts, official declarations at the state and local level, and more. Many regions and municipalities -- including those listed below -- will be involved in extended, ongoing initiatives with a variety of components throughout the spring and the rest of the year. To find out what may be happening in your area, contact one of the local partners listed under each entry.

Selected Highlights of the TAKE A STEP National Outreach Campaign

On May 2, 1998, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Bethel, and Juneau co-hosted a statewide Reach for the Sky, Take the First Step kite flying day and resource fair. People were encouraged to fly kites decorated with messages about addiction and prevention, and representatives from partner organizations were on hand to distribute information. Local partners: State Department of Education; State of Alaska Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Alaska Affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, Alaska Mental Health Land Trust Authority, State of Alaska Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Alaska Council on Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Arizona: Beginning the second week of March, the Governor displayed huge posters around the statehouse grounds to highlight some key facts from policy panel reports. On Tuesday, March 24, 1998, a group of people in recovery came to the statehouse and handed out treatment panel reports. At the same time, they invited legislators to join them for lunch at the statehouse, where the Governor donated space. Local partners: the Governor's office, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and some statewide prevention groups.

California: On Wednesday, April 1, 1998, PBS station KCET/Los Angeles and its statewide partners, including KPBS/San Diego and KQED/San Francisco, kicked off Keeping it Real -- a statewide competition for one-act plays dealing with the subject of addiction. Winning entries were performed live by celebrities and established theater companies. Taped performances were shown on-air and packaged and distributed to every public high school in California. Local partners: Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, California Writing Project, Center for Medical Education, Center for Substance Abuse Research, Images Theater for Young Hearts and Minds, Los Angeles County Alcohol and Drug Program, MediaScope, Teen Challenge, and Teen Line at the Los Angeles Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Florida: WEDU in Tampa, Florida joined with PAR, a provider of addiction and mental health education, prevention and treatment, to co-sponsor an essay contest called "How Addiction Has Affected Or Could Affect My Life" for middle and high school students in Florida. Students participating in prevention and early intervention programs were especially encouraged to enter. Two winners were announced on April 30, 1998; each received a $200 savings bond. Local Partner: PAR.

Georgia: The Ridgeview Institute is offering continuing education credits to primary care and mental health professionals throughout Georgia who view MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME and complete a post-test and evaluation. Local Partners: WGTV/Atlanta, Georgia Addictive Counselors Association, Georgia Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, Employee Assistance Professional Association, Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia, Drug Free Schools Program, Georgia Alcohol Prevention Partners, Georgia Bar Association, Georgia Supreme Court on Substance Abuse, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Georgia PTA, March of Dimes, and others.

Indiana: WTIU in Bloomington, Indiana has produced a two-part series entitled LISTEN UP: MONROE COUNTY TEENS TALK ABOUT DRUG USE AND ADDICTION, which it has made available to all Indiana high schools. The program, which is formatted for classroom use, includes three drug-treatment professionals and the perspectives of middle and high school students from Monroe County. Local partners: Monroe County Community School Corporation, the Associate Medical Director for Bloomington Behavioral Health Center, and the Indiana University Department of Telecommunications.

Maryland: Maryland PTV in Owings Mills held a contest for elementary, middle and high school students to create a message-oriented public service announcement, a piece of visual art, a Web page, or a piece of prose, poetry, non-fiction or drama. Contest winners were announced on Wednesday, April 1, 1998, and winning entries shared via broadcast and the Web. Local Partners: Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Substance Abuse and Office of Smoking and Health, Maryland's Public Schools, Maryland Safe and Drug Free Schools Program, National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependency -- Maryland Chapter.

Michigan: 20 Take a Step activities were organized throughout southeast Michigan for April 1, 1998. On Wednesday, April 1, 1998, in Richmond, Michigan, Trooper Deborah Humphrey of the Michigan State Police D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Unit led a parade of D.A.R.E. students from the Detroit area on her wild mustang stallion. Local Partners: WTVS/Detroit, D.A.R.E.

Minnesota: A Town Meeting was held at the studios of KTCA (1782 East 4th Street in St. Paul) on Wednesday, April 1, 1998 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. It began with a brief overview of the MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME series, followed by a panel discussion and audience participation session. William Cope Moyers served as moderator. A tape of the Community Forum is available. For more information, contact Mark Levine at 213-4230.

New York: On April 4, 1998, Thirteen/WNET broadcast a live call-in special entitled WITHIN REACH, hosted by Emmy-Award-winning news anchor and correspondent Mary Alice Williams. The program, following a five-and-a-half-hour rebroadcast of the entire MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME series, featured interviews with Bill Moyers and noted experts on addiction, treatment and prevention. Local Partners: New York City Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, New York State Association of Alcoholism Substance Abuse Providers.

North Carolina: On Thursday, April 30, 1998, 11 public television stations in North Carolina broadcast HIGH SCHOOL ASSEMBLY SPOTLIGHT ON ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE -- a live program in which 50 high school students interacted with a noted panel and a recovering young addict. Students in the studio and across the state filled out pledge cards. Local partners: S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere), S.A.D.D. and the North Carolina High School Athletics Association, The Governor's Commission on Underage Drinking and the Governor's Commission on Substance Abuse, North Carolina Health Educators, and others.

Texas: KLRN in San Antonio, Texas held a competition for videos on addiction made by high school students. Three winners were awarded college scholarships. All contest participants were invited to an awards banquet on April 1, 1998. Judges included a host of the television series "San Antonio Living," a representative from Paragon Cable, a representative from a youth literary organization, and KLRN's Director of Production. Local Partners: The Center for Health Care Services; Children's Mental Health, Adult Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services.

Virginia: On Tuesday, March 31, 1998, Darryl Green of the Washington Redskins emceed Take a Step Night, a showcase of healthy kids doing healthy things. The event was held in Handley High School Auditorium in Winchester, Virginia. Local partners: Kids Are Our Concern, Youth Development Center, CLEAN FOCUS Coalition, and local school systems.

Washington: On Sunday, March 23, 1998, KYVE/Yakima produced Take a Step, Yakima Valley, a 60-minute program hosted by Mac Bledsoe, father of New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. The program aired on Wednesday, April 1, 1998. Local partners: Yakima Police Department, State Congresswoman Mary Skinner, Yakima Rotaries, Department of Child and Health Services, and others.

National partners of the Take a Step national outreach campaign include: American Association for the Advancement of Science -- The Health Connections Project; American Bar Association Standing Committee on Substance Abuse; American Public Health Association; BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; Drug Policy Foundation; Employee Assistance Professionals Association; Join Together; Legal Action Center; National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors; National Coalition of State Alcohol and Drug Treatment and Prevention Associations; National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.; the United States Conference of Mayors; and YMCA.

State Capitol screenings were organized by Join Together, The Public Television Outreach Alliance, and Thirteen/WNET along with community leaders and PBS stations in each state. National Partners lending help at state level to organize capitol screenings include: PBS member stations; National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors; National Conference on State Legislatures; Legal Action Center; National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws; National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; National Substance Abuse Coalition; American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Outreach for MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME was produced by Thirteen/WNET's Educational Resources Center and the Public Television Outreach Alliance.

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