EYFP Sparks Passion for Prevention Education
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“Drugs do not discriminate. They don’t care who you are, where you live, or how much money you make. I wanted to learn more so that I could give my child as many skills and resources as possible”, says Tracey Hall who started working with N.C. Cooperative Extension in 2018. As the EYFP (Empowering Youth and Families Program) Program Assistant in Burke County, Tracey leads a family leadership course of 10 weekly sessions for middle school youth and their caregivers. These courses focus on family communication, relationship building, and opioid prevention. Friends and local community members encouraged her to take the position that she now describes as her passion and a “hill she is willing to die on”.
Tracey became interested in EYFP for personal reasons with an immediate family member in recovery. Although she was interested in leading the course for other families, her initial goal was to learn more about prevention education to ensure that her daughter was not a victim of the opioid epidemic.
Tracey found her spark through EYFP and has dedicated most of her professional and personal life to prevention education. She says “I love seeing and hearing the families when they learn. Within a small piece of the world, I can make a difference.” Her greatest accomplishment is within her own family. “I have one part of my family that spews prevention and another part that spews recovery.” Tracey’s goal is to be a champion for prevention education through EYFP, and an advocate for families to gain the education and knowledge necessary to empower them and their youth to make a difference.
As she completed EYFP training, she fell in love with teaching brain science, reflexive listening, and emotion coaching as a means to prevent opioid misuse and abuse. She realized that this was a true need in her community as she watched opioid overdose numbers increase in Burke County. “I needed to be an advocate. I wanted to serve others.” She started to become extremely involved in prevention efforts in Burke County and surrounding counties and devoted herself to community education.
“Drugs do not discriminate. They don’t care who you are, where you live, or how much money you make.”
Others in the community quickly noticed Tracey’s passion and suggested that she expanded on her “spark” through additional formal education and training. Tracey joined groups like the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina and the Burke Substance Abuse Network coalition (BSAN). She is currently studying to acquire an Associate’s Degree in Human Science with a concentration in Substance Misuse and is working towards becoming an NC Community Health Worker, a Certified NC Prevention Specialist, and a trained Adult/Youth Mental First Health Aid professional.
Tracey has impacted Burke County through her passion and has shared her knowledge throughout the community. One of Burke County’s EYFP graduated families thanks Tracey in a letter and perfectly describes her efforts, “I wanted you to know what a blessing you and the EYFP class has been. [Our son] has realized that in order to make positive decisions, he needs to be around others to encourage that. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. Our Christmas is a little brighter because of our experience with EYFP.
As Tracey explained, opioids are an issue across our nation. Providing your youth with the tools they need to help them make healthier choices is the best way to combat the opioid epidemic and protect your child. Visit our website to learn more about our program as well as the resources available for you and your child.