New year, new name

Published 7:03 am Sunday, January 1, 2017

By Bill Spitzer

P & I Coordinator Parenting Resource Center

I would suspect that many of you have pledged to make some sort of changes in your life?

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Maybe you even went as far as making an official resolution, signed and sealed! We tend to look at the new year as a clean slate to a start fresh and maybe even an opportunity to “right” all those “wrongs.”

Our coalition will start the new year with an official name. We will be known as APAC, Austin Positive Action Coalition. The name comes complete with a new logo that we hope will develop into a highly recognizable symbol when people think about reducing substance abuse through positive actions.

The name fits our mission perfectly. Our first five-year campaign will include efforts to reduce the underage alcohol consumption rate through positive community norms (PCN). If you remember, PCN messages focus on the positive statistics revealed in surveys instead of admiring the negative part of the problem.

Maybe we can all weave positive in our goals for the new year? In the coming months and years, you will see several of these positive community norm messages around our schools and community. Using the positive to reduce alcohol abuse has been proven to be effective in a number of the towns across our state that have been the recipient of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division grants. In fact, PCN messages have been a part of the P & I grant since they began over 10 years ago. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished by presenting the message in a positive way. These PCN messages will use words like “most” and “overwhelming” in describing these positive actions that may currently being unnoticed. Together we will look to the positive efforts that some of our young people are already choosing to do.

If we heard that MOST people follow through with their new year’s resolution, maybe more of us would try harder to be a part of that successful norm? Maybe?

Bill Spitzer is the Planning and Implementation (P & I) Coordinator for the Austin community. He will be working with our schools and community as part of a 5-year grant focusing on Positive Community Norms. Feel free to contact him at the Austin High School 507-460-1800 ext. 0361 or via e-mail This grant is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, ADAD and hosted locally by the PRC. To learn more about the Parenting Resource, visit their website at