Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition gets creative with outreach amid pandemic

Positively Tennessee

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A Roane County nonprofit caught our attention last year by pulling out all the stops: Networking, using social media strategies special programs like a therapeutic horseback riding course to make a difference. The group helps all age groups but focuses on kids. And it’s had to get even more creative during COVID.

At our first meeting in July, 2019, we took one look at Nathan Wray and Ashley Freeburg and knew they saw their jobs as a calling; not just a career.

The prevention coordinators with Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition are behind programs like “Life Reins” which helps young people in the juvenile justice system through lessons in horsemanship. That was then.

This is now.

“Everything looks different,” said Nathan, “but we found ways to be creative, so we can continue to get our message out there.”

During COVID, Nathan and his team have stepped up their social media presence. They share information on the dangers of alcohol abuse, tips for talking to your kids about underage drinking and other eye-catching, encouraging and inspirational posts, targeting people at risk for overdose, especially now with an increase in numbers.

“It’s just trying to remind people that they’re not alone,’ Nathan explained.

The coalition isn’t forgetting our older neighbors in isolation right now.

Jeanna Mack is in charge of retired and senior programs. She spends a large part of her day delivering Meals on Wheels along with others on her team. It’s more than food delivery.

“I have a route of seniors I drive every week just to check on them and get some face time,” she said.

Coalition members look forward to the day it’s safe to bring back more in-person programs like therapy with the beautiful horses. It’s a day they know will come.

“This is going to be temporary, ” Nathan said. “Be resilient, don’t respond emotionally. Respond with hope and that’s going to make all the difference in your life. That’s going to make all the difference in your day, so don’t give up.”

If you or a family member need help:

Send a message to Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition on the following platforms —
Instagram: @rcadc1on
Facebook: @RoaneCountyAnti-DrugCoalition
Website: https://www.roaneantidrug.org
Phone: (865) 224-0205

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