April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), this event was created to reduce the stigma and encourage community awareness of this detrimental disease. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.  Since alcohol is one of the most socially accepted drugs, the dangers and possibility of addiction is often downplayed in today’s society. The goal of Alcohol Awareness Month is to change the view of drinking alcohol from a “rite of passage”. In order to do so, communities need to arm youth with the facts about this potentially harmful drug. Here are some easy steps to be an educator and support system to others.


  • Be aware of the local resources available for people struggling with an alcohol addiction.
    • Alcoholic Anonymous is a free 12 step program aimed at creating a social support system for addicts.
    • Al-Anon is a support group for loved one’s affects by another’s drinking.
  • Educate yourself about the signs of alcohol addiction.
  • Provide a supportive environment for younger ones in your family. Healthy support systems can deter alcohol use in adolescents.
  • Explain that one serving of beer, wine, and liquor all affect the body the same ways.
  • If you are an adult who chooses to drink, be responsible and provide a model for moderation and smart choices.
  • Speak up when you believe someone is considering driving while under the influence.

Everyone can make a small difference. For more information and helpful resources, visit https://www.ncadd.org/aam.


Fire Safety and Prevention

As we all know, summer is a time to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. Although I know everyone deserves a break from responsibility, it is important for the whole family to remember to keep up with easy actions to keep summertime fun safe. 4-H is here to remind you of a few key steps to make sure your home and family are prepared for the dangers of a possible house fire. The most frequent cause of house fires are cooking fires. Remember to be attentive to food, and remember to put a lid on grease fires, never water. Another common cause of house fires are dryer fires. Do not forget to clean the lint trap after every use, and frequently check the dryer vent area for buildup.

FireSafetyPic2It is best to have an up to date plan if the worst happens, and there is a fire in your home. Have all family members practice a fire drill twice a year. Everyone should be comfortable executing the plan at night and during the day. During the drill, make sure everyone has two different exit paths out of the home, and that all doors are shut behind them in order to stop the spread of fire. Lastly, remember to never go back into a burning building. We hope you use these tips to have a safe and fun-filled end to the summer.

Written by Health Rocks Program Coordinator, Mariah Gillespie


February is American Heart Month!

Keeping a healthy heart is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy. There are a lot of factors that go into keeping your heart in tip-top shape. woman-1801280_1280

Both the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) say that heart disease is the number one mortal illness. However, the number of people who die has been declining for most different types of heart disease. This is because doctors and other medical professionals have learned a lot about how you can stay healthy and have a strong heart. There are three key risk factors that can lead to heart disease, and almost half of Americans have at least one of the three. They are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.


We recently uploaded an article on being smoke free that you can find here. Not only does quitting smoking have a positive effect on your heart health, but smoking can lead to other problems that make other heart disease prevention strategies harder to do. For example, cardio exercise is a good way to improve your heart health, but smoking can lead to trouble breathing, which makes exercising much harder.

Eating Healthy

The type of diet that you have can have a big effect on your heart heath. Some types of foods, especially foods like bacon and steaks, have high amounts of cholesterol. Your body needs cholesterol, but your body can actually make enough of it on its own, so getting too much cholesterol from your food can cause problems with your blood flow by building up inside your arteries. Replacing fattier meats with fish and poultry, as well as having more of your food be fruits and vegetables, can reduce the amount of cholesterol that you eat.

Foods with a lot of sodium (which comes from salt) can increase your blood pressure. This can lead to a lot of different heart problems, so you should aim to keep your intake of sodium close to your recommended intake.

If you already have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe some medicine to help treat it. You should take medications the way that your doctor prescribes you to do. If you don’t take your medicine, it won’t be able to work properly. If you take more than the doctor tells you to, you can have all sorts of bad side effects. Only take medicine in the way that you are instructed.

Heart Healthy You!

Help prevent heart disease by talking about heart health with your friends and family. Heart disease is very common, but with healthy habits, you can keep your heart healthy and strong.

Be Smoke Free – Healthy New Year!

Smoking can have all sorts of negative health effects. Some of them are well known, but there are others that many people don’t know about.



Toxins in cigarette smoke can cause cell mutations, which allows cancer to form in the body. This is most known as lung cancer, but cigarettes can cause cancer in many parts of the body, including the mouth and throat. Smoking hurts your immune system, making other forms of cancer more likely to grow.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart disease and stroke are the first and fifth most common causes of death in the United States according to the CDC. Smoking is a common cause of these diseases, and is estimated to cause one in three deaths from cardiovascular diseases.


Smoking has also been linked to many other conditions, such as damaged eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts, asthma, and even type 2 diabetes. Even if you don’t smoke yourself, when other people around you smoke, you breathe in some of the same poisons that the smoker is breathing.

Quitting Smoking

If you smoke and want to quit, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), and visit the website smokefree.gov where you can create a personalized plan to quit smoking.