By Brandon Matthews

Alabaster is a City Unlimited. We are a city of endless possibilities for families to live, work, play, and grow. Of all of the amazing amenities, facilities, schools, businesses, churches, and more, the most important asset in Alabaster is the people. People are what make things great. This is why For Tomorrow is passionate about investing in the people of our community to help take the limits off through our prevention efforts.

Prevention simply means to stop something before it happens. We realize there are substances that place limits on our physical health, mental health, relationships, finances, and more. We want to be aware and intentional about identifying specific substances that have the potential to place these limits on our community. To determine where we place our focus, we do the Pride Survey bi-annually.

The Pride Survey (Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education) is an anonymous national survey used to collect data regarding incidence of substance abuse, perceived risk of drugs, risk and protective factors, mental health, and more. As of 2019, Pride Surveys has conducted more than 78,000 school-level student surveys nationwide. At For Tomorrow, we utilize this survey to collect data from seventh-, ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students in Alabaster City Schools and Day Program students. The honest feedback from students in our community communicates where our time and resources are best used in the city of Alabaster.

The 2021 Pride Survey indicated vaping, drinking, and marijuana as the biggest concerns among teenagers. The pandemic in 2020 only escalated and complicated some of these trends. Receiving these survey results directed our focus and community partnerships to help address these trends. We routinely provide prevention messaging and education through social media campaigns, ad tracking, geo-fencing, and in-person community events like the Arrive Alive Tour (2022).

Alabaster City Schools has implemented technology and policies to greater serve the health and well being of our students. Compact (police partnership) launched monthly vaping education and cessation classes free of charge to the community. These partnerships working together for the common good of our community help to remove the limits that these substances can bring.

The latest Pride Survey was administered in May 2023, and the coming results will direct our efforts in the fall. We encourage everyone in our community to partner with us to make a difference. You can join us on the third Tuesday of each month at Alabaster City Hall to plan and review all that we are doing in our community. For questions or to learn more you can email us at [email protected].

Brandon Matthews is the For Tomorrow Program Director.