Welcome to SAFE in Northern Michigan newsletter!

SAFE in Northern Michigan exists to prevent youth substance use, increase community awareness and create change through collaboration, education, prevention initiatives and environmental strategies of tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use in Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties. Each quarter, we'll bring you updates on the latest efforts by SAFE to prevent youth substance use in our communities!

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Keeping up with SAFE Youth

COVID has changed so many of the traditions that our SAFE Youth enjoy, and our annual Fall Kickoff Meeting was one of them. Though our momentum is usually sparked by a full day spent together at Camp Daggett getting to know each other and setting goals for the year, this year we improvised. Joining together virtually through Zoom, we were still able to meet our new SAFE Youth members, share fun summer stories, and plan our school year. One thing is for sure, our SAFE Youth are the definition of resilient in times of change and uncertainty! 

The momentum continued into fall as our Homecoming Project took place. One of the most popular youth projects began being handed out to each student in our 3-county area - bracelets with the message “Be SAFE, Be Smart, Don't Start!" Piggybacking off our #BESAFE campaign that began last spring, banners were hung in our area schools, and we even started a new project in order to highlight our SAFE Youth in their high school hallways. Soon our youth’s photos will begin hanging in large frames in their school hallways, with them holding a ‘reason’ they choose to be safe. Some examples are items related to college, sports, band, family, and so on! Way to go youth!

Note: Photos were taken pre-pandemic. 

Hidden in Plain Sight: A Virtual Tour of SAFE's Traveling Teen Bedroom

The SAFE collaborative has created a traveling teen bedroom to help parents learn about how their teens might be using substances, in plain sight. The "Hidden in Plain Sight" trailer is typically open for parent tours at events such as sporting activities and parent-teacher conferences. Due to COVID-19, the trailer is not on display publicly this year. However, SAFE collaborative member Trooper Corey Hebner, Michigan State Police, recently narrated a tour of the trailer and this video was created to share with parents. Please take some time to watch the video and let SAFE know if you would like more information, at

SAFE Youth champion

Meet Paige Simard, a senior at Petoskey High School. Paige has been a member of SAFE for 2.5 years and has participated in a number of different activities, including SAFE After Hours, Sticker Shock, and distributing SAFE materials at basketball games. The Sticker Shock initiative involves SAFE Youth visiting area convenience stores and put stickers on the alcohol packages, reminding buyers that it is illegal to purchase alcohol for people under 21. According to Paige, the biggest issues facing students are alcohol and vaping. As a member of SAFE, Paige has enjoyed meeting new people and advocating for herself and others. "I know that I've gained a ton of knowledge about drugs and alcohol and I think spreading that information to the schools has been super beneficial," she said.

Thank you, Paige, for your commitment to SAFE and to living a substance free life! 

Meet the adult coalition members

Liz Nachazel is a career preparation specialist for Char-Em Intermediate School District (ISD). Through her job, she has the opportunity to work with students in Charlevoix and Antrim county schools, preparing them for the skills they need to become successfully employed. Liz helps students develop career awareness, job exploration, soft skills, post-secondary training and improved workplace behaviors. A big part of the discussion she has with students is the importance of staying clean and sober in the workplace to be able to secure and maintain employment. 

While Liz's professional position has her working with students, her role on the SAFE coalition is as a parent. "As both a parent of teen sons and an employee of Char-Em ISD, it has been a valuable experience for me," said Liz. Her sons have been SAFE Youth for four years. "Being a part of the SAFE coalition is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other members in our community who care about the physical, mental and emotional health and safety of the youth in our communities," she said. "I love the creative ideas that members of the coalition have for promoting and supporting safe environments and habits for our kids, along with educating students, parents, and other community members." 

When Liz isn't making a positive impact on youth, she enjoys bicycling, hiking, kayaking, reading, baking cookies, gardening and hanging out with her family. Thank you, Liz! 

The 2019-20 SAFE annual report is now available online! The report details activities of the coalition in the prior year, including media campaigns, advertisements, PSAs, messaging and overall impact of the SAFE organization in Northwest Michigan. Check it out by clicking here
Did you know that SAFE is a nonprofit organization that is partially funded by sponsorships? Each year, local businesses and organizations help provide donations that help fund SAFE programs and activities. The SAFE in Northern Michigan Fund is held at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. We would appreciate your sponsorship! 
Learn more about becoming a sponsor
Keep up on the latest SAFE news and activities on our website!
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