School District renews MECCA contract

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Mid-Eastern Council for Chemical Abuse has renewed its contract with the Iowa City School Board to provide on-site counselors and outreach services at City High and West High.

MECCA has provided substance-abuse prevention and early intervention services at the schools for more than 15 years. Last year, the group introduced a new screening tool that enables it to track the level of support different students need, thus increasing its efficiency, said Shannon Wagner, the vice president of community affairs at MECCA.

Around half of the students MECCA sees at the schools are low-risk and require some encouragement, and the other half are higher-risk and need some sort of intervention, she said.

"We know that substance abuse affects individuals, families, and communities, and if we can intervene early, we have the best chance of helping the young person in being successful in the long term," said Kelly Bender, formerly outreach counselor at City High School and manager for substance abuse prevention at MECCA.

Wagner said she cherishes this partnership with the School District and appreciates the stability of support from the school district.

MECCA receives $27,277 from the Safe School, Healthy Students Grant initiated by the district.

— by Rishabh R. Jain

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