When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction? Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan, host of the podcast "Avoiding the Addiction Affliction," explores substance use disorders with expert guests. The podcast series is sponsored by the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition.
Original cover art created by
Kelly P. of Kenosha, Wisconsin
Teacher, Hall of Fame Coach, and Mentor in Seneca, Wisconsin
Diane Yager, a teacher, hall of fame coach, and mentor in Seneca, Wisconsin, coordinates one of the longest-running school wellness programs in the country. By focusing on mental health and alcohol and other drug prevention, the goal is to empower the students in her small rural school district to make good decisions. By utilizing generations of students in leadership roles, Diane created an infrastructure that serves as a model for what schools can do to address serious mental health and substance use issues in a caring, supportive environment. As a teacher, coach, and mentor, Diane inspired her students to live their best lives and to help others along the way. If you or a loved one needs help, it is available. To contact the Hope Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, call 262-658-8166, or explore their website at https://www.hopecouncil.org. You can also find AA meetings here: https://mtg.area75.org/meetings.html?dist=7 and NA meetings here: https://sefa-na.org/meetings
[00:00:00] [Jaunty Guitar Music]
[00:00:12] Mike: Welcome everyone to Avoiding the Addiction Affliction, a series brought to you by the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition. As always I'm Mike McGowan. You know, as we approach the beginning of a new, and gosh, I hope it's a more predictable school year. We wanted to have a discussion about the many obstacles and challenges young people have to navigate. My guest today is a dear dear friend that I've known for a long time. And Diane, we're not gonna tell him how long.
[00:00:39] Diane: [laugh]
[00:00:41] Mike: Diane Yager. Diane is a recently retired educator with the Seneca Wisconsin school district. We'll talk more about Seneca and her career in a minute, but she also coordinated one of the longest annual wellness days for students and staff in Wisconsin.
[00:00:58] Welcome Diane. Thanks for being here.
[00:01:00] Diane: Thanks Mike, glad to be here.
[00:01:02] Mike: Well, let's get that outta the way. I wanted to say one of the longest, I bet it's the longest. Do you know?
[00:01:07] Diane: It is the longest. Yeah, it is. The inspiration for me to do this was when I first was hired at Seneca. [inaudible], who was our school psychologist, was bringing in these afternoon speakers on the topics of wellness prevention.
[00:01:18] And I thought, well, why, gosh, why can't we do this you know, on a more regular basis? And so he ended up moving on to the Farland school district, I think, or Marshall, one of the Madison area schools. And so I said, can I run this program? We start out with half days. And then it evolved into a full day involving to as many as 17 speakers on a day that we bring in for the students.
[00:01:38] And I think the thing I'm most proud about the program is the fact that it's basically a student run. In other words. My students and I do it. And we get funding from our district in support of our administration, but it's basically the students and I that run the entire program. So that's, that's pretty cool that I don't think people trust kids enough to know that they can do these things and they can do them well.
[00:01:58] Mike: Yeah. How many years was it? How many years consecutive was it?
[00:02:02] Diane: 32 were hoping 33 and beyond. So I don't know. I'm working with somebody at school to continue the program.
[00:02:09] Mike: You talked about all the speakers you brought in. I, of course I've been one of 'em and lucky enough to do it, but, you know, for those of you that don't know Seneca is in rural Wisconsin, near the Mississippi river.
[00:02:19] And the, and the easiest way to get to Seneca is to not even go there, to begin with. So, [laugh] you know, so how do you get all those speakers to come to Seneca?
[00:02:30] Diane: You know, I've, I've told my students, I deal with no, well, So if you get past the concept of dealing with no, you keep asking until someone says yes. And so I connected with you, Mike, CESA three, helped out, XAM Sports out of Madison, cuz through that we were able to get Brady Ewing that played for the Badgers.
[00:02:49] We were able to get Tom Farley, Chris Farley, the entertainer's brother. Susie Favor Hamilton. So it's just a matter of asking and if they say no, just ask somebody else and eventually someone's gonna say yes, that's my theory.
[00:03:02] Mike: You've had people from the governor's office, Miss Wisconsin. You had Jim Leonard, the defensive coordinator for the Badger's as well.
[00:03:10] Diane: Yeah, it was interesting that year because Frank McCormick who worked at the WIA happens to be from Seneca also retired in this area. So when he came, Jim Leonard did. He had can't think of his name, Dave, that was the head of the WIA and Jim Leonard. And so we had three VIPs in the WIA at our school, Jim Leonard, the same day, I'm thinking, boy, I be no other school in the state can claim this.
[00:03:31] Mike: Oh.
[00:03:31] Diane: So it was interesting to have that many people there. So, like I said, it's just a matter of Mike. You gotta keep asking people, there's people out there that wanna tell stories and wanna help youth. You just gotta find the ones that wanna share their story and you'll find them. If you just get used to having people say no, just say no and move on. It's okay.
[00:03:48] Mike: Well, let's talk let's just jump into the helping youth part, you know you must have had goals for the program, right? The wellness program.
[00:03:56] Diane: Yeah.
[00:03:56] Mike: And they were?
[00:03:58] Diane: I wanted our youth to understand they could make a difference in their peers life and other than just in the regular classroom setting.
[00:04:04] To create moments that they'll remember. I think Mike, you know, this from over the years that our students, when they hear Mike's coming, they get all excited. In fact, I, I think of the cheer when they, we work on that one from the movie what is that? Finding Nemo.
[00:04:15] Mike: Yes, yes.
[00:04:16] Diane: And the crowd sit up and, and that was funny because I didn't know if they go for it once the word spread among the kids, they all thought that was gonna be the coolest thing they ever did.
[00:04:24] So you gotta give students the opportunities. There's gonna be roadblocks. Like when you run this program, there's staff, that's not gonna believe it. Sometimes administration. I've been blessed with the exception of a couple administrators all these years that were really supportive and help find ways to fund the program.
[00:04:39] So don't let the few roadblocks get in your way and, and once the ball gets rolling, like now, I hope this continues, cuz there's a lot of people that enjoy this program. They support the program and they see the benefits to the students. So I think that's the biggest thing. And then I have to also point out that the DPI always says, these are one day events.
[00:04:57] They don't make a difference. And I begged to differ because they do make a difference. You and I have talked about that. That one are two students that get that one message. But the difference it makes is to my students that put in all the time to plan the event. Because they understand what it's like takes to get this event.
[00:05:12] They learn empathy for their peers by bringing these people in. So I, I have to dismiss that one, one time event because truly on a wellness day, as you all know, students will see six to eight speakers in one day and they may not get that anywhere else. We don't have enough guidance counseling in school to take all the issues these days.
[00:05:31] So this is one way we can get to them and then they can encourage conversations between each other about. Hey, what's this or our student might come up and say, Miss Yager you know, this was said at the thing, I wanna talk to you about this. It's a, it's an avenue for kids to, to find some help when they need it.
[00:05:45] Mike: Well, and even though you're isolated, isn't the right word, but you're not exactly on the mainstream of, of places to go. Right.
[00:05:54] Diane: No.
[00:05:54] Mike: You're no's not as though small rural districts and that's part of the reason wanted to have this talk. It's not like you're without problems, you have the same issues in rural Wisconsin, rural anywhere that they do everywhere else.
[00:06:09] Diane: It's interesting to bring that up. I had an interview for a job at Winona state to do the same type of things I've been doing at Seneca. And it was a long full day interview process. And in the end. They didn't hire me because they said you don't know what it's like to do things at the college level. I said, oh my gosh, what problems you got going on at the college level?
[00:06:25] If you have uh, feeling people, not feeling connected to their families and homes, they're not having a place to go to hang out and things like that. I said, the problems are there. You just have to address 'em in the situation they're at, whether it be the collegiate level, the rural level, or the big school level there's issues used to have to take the initiative to find something that's gonna help students find the support they need, regardless of what the issue may be. Alcohol. I had a senior girl that I asked her one year Hey, how was your summer? And she goes, Miss Yager it was terrible. I said, why is that? She said, well, I couldn't get a job. I said, well, there's all kinds of jobs now. Obviously this is before COVID and she said well, I couldn't find a job.
[00:07:00] I said, well, why couldn't she go? So I didn't have a car to get there. I said, well, no other vehicles. She used, she goes, no, she goes, you know what, Miss Yager I'm just glad to be back at school. Cause I know I get two meals a day.
[00:07:09] Mike: Mmm hmm.
[00:07:10] Diane: And that, that was always my thing is I think about students like that, that I just haven't asked her a question and she said more than she probably really wanted to, but she goes, I just want to come to a place where I get two meals, a day.
[00:07:21] So, yeah, the issues are out there and we just have to find a way to address them the best we can.
[00:07:27] Mike: Well, and where we live in the state that we live, all of the data that we collect says that we're in the upper echelons of substance abuse, you know, all 72 counties reported excessive drinking is a coping mechanism for COVID.
[00:07:43] I, I just saw a thing where, of the top 50 counties in the United States...
[00:07:48] Diane: I saw that.
[00:07:49] Mike: Right! Of, of substance abuse drinking. What did, what do we have? Diane, 45 of them, you know?
[00:07:55] Diane: Yeah.
[00:07:56] And they were all [inaudible] midwest. Pretty much.
[00:07:58] Mike: Yeah.
[00:07:59] Diane: Wonderful.
[00:07:59] One was in North Dakota. And that was it.
[00:08:01] Mike: Yeah.
[00:08:02] So, you know, people who live here think, well, what we're different?
[00:08:06] Yes. The usage is really high. So school has to be a safe place for those kids.
[00:08:12] Diane: It really came to my attention when I was visiting friends out in Columbus, Ohio, and. Going going out to places and just people just having a meal and not having alcohol, you know? And I think Mike, you, and I know we live in Wisconsin.
[00:08:24] That seems like you go, you have a party, a wedding. It seems like people have to have excessive amounts of this. It is just, it's just the culture that we're raised in and it's not the culture else. I think the other stat statistic always bring up to the students is the fact that. Of all the brandies sold the United States, 50% is consumed in Wisconsin in the entire United States.
[00:08:43] 50% of the Brandy in our country's consumed here. I'm like, wow, I don't, I don't even like this stuff. I've never tried it actually, probably once. So it's, it's a different culture in the Midwest.
[00:08:55] Mike: Yeah.
[00:08:55] Diane: Especially our state.
[00:08:56] Mike: I remember that was one of my first tastes of alcohol when I was a little kid. My aunt was drinking a Brandy old fashion and she had a cherry in it.
[00:09:06] I didn't know what it was. I took the cherry out on the little sticks and put it in my mouth and, oh my, I can still recall that taste.
[00:09:14] Diane: Yeah.
[00:09:15] Mike: Um, And why anyone would voluntarily consume that is beyond me, right?
[00:09:19] Diane: [laugh]
[00:09:21] Mike: Well, and you know, it's not just substance use or abuse, but it's also mental health issues and...
[00:09:28] Diane: Correct.
[00:09:28] Mike: During COVID we saw some really, we saw a huge uptick in students with depression, anxiety that hasn't gone away yet.
[00:09:39] Even though we're trying to normalize schools, you, you also noticed that in I'm, I'm assuming in your school.
[00:09:46] Diane: Yeah. We noticed it you know, you have to think about it this way. These kids, some of them live in unfortunately dysfunctional homes. And so three months outta the year, they're there. And then schools are safe haven.
[00:09:58] Well, COVID took that safe Haven away and their connections with outside people. I mean, you think about it. They didn't have their peers, they didn't have their teachers. They didn't have the bus driver. They didn't have their coaches. So that's was a very unhealthy environment for those students. And so in addressing that, you know, we try to find them other resources or people to talk to or activities to get involved with or things to do just to, to deal with that, to know that they're not the only ones dealing with that situation.
[00:10:25] And also to know that maybe they're in a dysfunctional situation. But you can work your way past that and help, you know, help yourself. I've had numerous kids over the year that I wonder, how are they ever gonna make in this world? And they do just cuz they're so resilient. And I'd like to think it's because of the things they were involved with that we taught them some coping skills whether it be, you know, planning an event.
[00:10:46] One of the girls that helps with our gift basket project. I know food, food accessibility is an issue at their home. And so when we got done, I I'm like here, take this extra stuff home, just take it home. And if you're afraid your parents are gonna take it from me, hide it or come to my classroom and every morning, and I'll give you some of it until it's gone, you know?
[00:11:04] And that's what I had to do with some students. It's like my, my room becomes a resource for them. A young man was with he's in a blended family situation. He was at home visiting his father, a stepfather don't remember exactly the story. He came in. He goes, Miss Yager I haven't had anything to eat all weekend.
[00:11:18] You got food? I said, sure, you come anytime you want. So. You know, you run into that situation more than you think of. And I think that's part that the kids need to, we get 'em back into now that they're back into schools is this is a safe place. Although we get bashed by a lot of people, we're a safe place, and we're gonna find a way to help you cope with all the things in your life.
[00:11:38] If you let us and trust us to do this, and we're not saying that your parents are your, what a situation's bad, but if you have concerns, help us, let us help you address them to keep you safe and to keep you, you know, mentally. Coping a day of school or coping life, you know?
[00:11:55] Mike: Yeah. It's not an us against them.
[00:11:57] It's a let join you and, and lift you up.
[00:12:02] Diane: Yep, exactly.
[00:12:03] Mike: And that's a lot of kids, you know, think about that kid. I, I didn't have anything to eat over the weekend. What if he has a test on Monday? How's he gonna do?
[00:12:12] Diane: Yeah.
[00:12:12] Mike: You know.
[00:12:12] Diane: My study groups in my classroom, I, I conduct a study group after school, whenever I do a test for my students.
[00:12:17] And I always, first thing to do is give 'em a snack. Cause I figure they're active brains. Then we do fun activities. So they remember that studying for tests can be fun. That's the biggest thing. I do that with my middle school students. Well then when I in the mornings we do a brain building activity with them.
[00:12:31] We do a relaxation thing before they take their test. And I, I think it's really helped them along the line. I tell 'em that, you know, even as sixth and seventh graders move these skills forward, your teachers aren't gonna do it. You guys know how to do it as a group. And it's ironic Mike and a class of 21 students I'd get 18 kids that would show up for study group after school.
[00:12:48] So it's, they just, they just want a place to be a community that they feel safe.
[00:12:52] Mike: Yeah.
[00:12:53] Diane: And if that's, if studying for a test makes 'em feel safe in that community, win-win for us, you know.
[00:12:58] Mike: Well, and, and I do want you to talk about the leadership that your kids exhibit, cuz I, I think in your introductory remarks, you're right.
[00:13:06] I go to you know, I'm in a lot of schools, right. And some schools, so underutilized their students, they don't allow them to do anything at all. And then I go to other schools like yours, where they're the backbone of what happens in this.
[00:13:22] Diane: Exactly.
[00:13:23] Mike: So how do you, how did you get to that point?
[00:13:27] Diane: I got to that point by my first job in a district, I will not name that I tried to get something like this and our administrator said, you can't do that. You have to maintain your levels of professionalism. I'm like, wow. That was just, I wasn't expecting to hear that. So, and then someone, when I first got to Seneca said, well, we've never done that before. That'll never work, which you should never say to me, cuz I don't believe in never and ever.
[00:13:50] And so Rick Peterson from the Crawford County Coalition started taking the students to youth leadership conferences in Rushal and building a partnership in the county schools in the area like three county area. And our students got to see other students talking about their successes and failures in their schools and got to see how they wanted to make a difference.
[00:14:09] And so we started building on that geez, 30 some years ago, and now our students have the idea that it's kind of nice that I feel bad. I retired this year cause I have a great group of seniors, but I said, you guys know how to run this program.
[00:14:20] Mike: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:21] Diane: Mentor the younger kids. So what's unique about ours and our small schools.
[00:14:23] We have as young as sixth graders through seniors running our program. And so the younger kids just kind of step back and help and watch. And then as they transition along, they take more of a leadership role where once they get to be juniors and seniors, I don't have to say much, they know what needs to be done.
[00:14:38] Like, okay, Ms. Yager will take care of this, this, this, and this and this. I'm like, okay, go at it. I don't really have to do much other than coordinate the events. They take the responsibility and the initiative to and they take pride in it. And if any school is interested in why this works. I've found over the years and Mike, you know, this as well as I do two things: feed, 'em a good homemade meal and give 'em a t-shirt they're happy in heck, you know.
[00:15:00] Mike: [laugh]
[00:15:00] Diane: It's little things like that. It, it truly is. I think that I have students that'll show up, like when we have sports events, some of our students are athletes and they can't always come. So I'm like, after your practice, just show up for supper and by gosh, they'll show up for supper and I have no problem with that, you know?
[00:15:14] Mike: Yeah. Well, I I'll, I'll tell you the food is great and I have a lot of the t-shirts, so, you know,
[00:15:19] Diane: [laugh]
[00:15:19] Mike: I, I keep the blue ones and my daughter grabs the ones that look better on her.
[00:15:24] Diane: Oh yeah. That's that's typical. The girls [inaudible]. And the nice part about that too, to, to let the students have ownership. Outside of me vetoing any of the bad ideas. They choose the color, the design of the shirt and the saying. So the students always have the say in what the shirts will be. So that's, that's part of their, their reward for doing things.
[00:15:42] And of course our seniors, they get theirs for the free and the other students work enough earn that. We don't give things out. They work so many hours or volunteer so many hours and they've earned it. So I think that's every reward thing.
[00:15:53] Mike: And think of how that transfers to the workplace.
[00:15:56] Diane: Exactly.
[00:15:57] Mike: They're they're, it's not just school based. These are, these are job employment skills that your children are doing, right?
[00:16:04] Diane: Yeah. And, and I think that really benefits and look at some of our shining stars that have moved on from here and the things they're doing. And it's, it's just fun to hear their stories when they come back and they talk about what they're doing in the world.
[00:16:14] So yes, even from little old Seneca students can make a great difference, you know, so I guess, given the opportunity to do that.
[00:16:22] Mike: You had I was lucky enough to come to your retirement luncheon. And you had people showing up from all sorts of different generations. You had two of the gentlemen show up who were your first students made me feel good.
[00:16:35] They were about my age.
[00:16:36] Diane: [laugh] Yeah. Yeah. Thanks Mike. Yeah, they actually was funny. You know, back in the day they had the advanced placement classes, they called them and even, and that was one of the middle, upper middle school level at the school was at. And so those two gentlemen were part of my six star class, and yet they had these AP civics classes.
[00:16:54] And ironically, when those boys graduated, 6 of the top 10 in that class were my sixth hour study hall or my six hour civics class together. So I had a pretty unique group. So it was actually a very entertaining group. And I'm like, it's interesting that you guys weren't identified as, you know, advanced placement students as the word was then, but then at the end, 6 of the 10 of them in that class ended up being top in their class of a class of 455 students.
[00:17:17] Mike: Wow.
[00:17:18] Diane: I was very fortunate to run into that crew.
[00:17:20] Mike: Wow. Do, do you find that when you do things like your wellness day or your gift basket stuff at Thanksgiving, does it have a a residual effect on the morale of the building and the staff cause your staff...
[00:17:33] Diane: Yeah I think...
[00:17:34] Mike: Seems to be very, not only cooperative, but in a really good mood.
[00:17:40] Diane: Yeah. I think it just, I know I'll use David Bolinar as example, you know, when we do our gift, basket's one of the way he's helped us, helps us out. We make over 200 a year and we send them out Meals on Wheels, takes whatever they can to the clients they have. And then we deliver door to door and David's way to support us is to give us the use of the vans to take them out.
[00:17:58] So we'll load up so many students, load up so many and we have the routes all by fire code numbers and we go out in a route. And deliver. Some people don't want you come to their house, which is fine. And some people, it gets to be a 20 minute conversation with these senior citizens cuz no one comes to visit them.
[00:18:13] Mike: Mm.
[00:18:13] Diane: And they just love people come to see them. We'll come back and feed a meal and we'll take a night route and be done by 8, 8 30 at night. Yeah, the staff in particular, some of them that are really step up to say, Hey, I'll drive, I'll drop a few off for you. I'll make meals a night for the kids, if you want us to do that. So it's a way of them, you know, I think they all help out in their own ways that they can, you know, cuz maybe they can't commit the time, but they can commit by doing other things, to help the kids back, making, making a pan of bars for 'em.
[00:18:40] Oh, if you got these baskets made up I'll I'll go this route and I'll take two or three this direction. One of the ladies on staff, her and her four children home will, and they're younger kids. They'll take 'em and they go visit senior citizens out their way and take the baskets. So it's, it's good for the kids seeing adults appreciative of the efforts they put in, no matter what age they are.
[00:18:59] Mike: It makes a community, tremendous community. Doesn't it?
[00:19:01] Diane: Yeah. It's tremendous community [inaudible]. We on that basket project, we probably have 60, 70 donators from all over Crawford County and around the. And we make it a point we send 'em a thank you. I take pictures of all the students doing their activity.
[00:19:14] We send a thank you back the students, sign it. And let 'em know. We appreciate what they do to support it because it wouldn't happen. You know, the old thing, it takes a village, in this case, it's the village helping us run this program. It really is.
[00:19:26] Mike: Yeah. And like a lot of the schools I visit I don't think anybody has just one job, you know?
[00:19:31] So you've been, you're, you know, you're a hall of fame coach. You were, you, you ran the, or coordinated this program and you taught, is there a difference? What, what is the common thread between the three of those, coaching, teaching and coordinating the program?
[00:19:45] Diane: Creating a seed of hope.
[00:19:47] Mike: Mm.
[00:19:47] Students. You gotta create a seed of hope.
[00:19:49] It might be, you know, maybe that student that sits in the back of your class that never wants to speak really will excel in the wall field, or that student that sits in the back that's quiet, really likes to organize and bake and do things like that. Or like, you know, scheduling things. So it's just creating a a venue for them to find their different talents and their different niches that they can proceed to use later in life.
[00:20:11] So the common thread is. There's something out here for you to grasp. Let's see what you wanna grasp and then run with it. And you gotta create those opportunities. And it's not always in the classroom. It's not always in the field. And maybe in FFA, it could be in forensics. It could be whatever. But I guess I was trying to figure out different avenues for students to peak their interests and, and pursue their passions, you know?
[00:20:33] Well, and doesn't that then also affect their mental health in a positive way.
[00:20:38] Diane: Absolutely.
[00:20:39] Mike: Provide them an outlet. So that substance abuse is not as bad.
[00:20:43] Diane: Exactly. You know, The people say, you know, I guess one of the other common threads Mike is when I was in Minneapolis working as a college student, people would say, I'm bored.
[00:20:50] I'm like, oh my God, you're in Minneapolis. There's so many things you could do here.
[00:20:53] Mike: Right?
[00:20:53] Diane: Hop, hop on the bus and go see a Twins game for six bucks, you know, or whatever. Something that I grew up in a rural part of Wisconsin never been able to do. Well, people in this community say they're bored at the other school I was at, they say, they're bored.
[00:21:05] And I say, boring's a choice. You know, you can choose your activities. People drink cuz they're bored will find something to do with yourself. So some people I have people that say I drink, cuz my job's stressing me out. You don't have to drink cuz your job find something you like to do. And pursue that instead of pursuing the alcohol or the drugs and things like that, no job is so stressful that it should cause you to be drink to oblivion or get high to pass out or stuff like that, because then it takes away.
[00:21:32] It's gonna start windowing away at your other opp other things you have established, cuz eventually something's gotta give. It may not be a big give right away, but eventually something's gonna break that you're gonna lose a lot because you pursued the alcohol, the drugs and stuff, as opposed to pursuing something that builds your mental health and might contribute to other people.
[00:21:50] Mike: And I think it's really important for kids to be exposed to people making good decisions. So they know what those look like.
[00:21:58] Diane: Absolutely. You know there, I've had students say that mom and dad pick 'em up after the game and they were intoxicated and that, and I said, well, you know, if that's over the case, I'll give you a ride home.
[00:22:06] Many times some of our students in my youth group didn't have a ride home. I'm like, you're on my way, even though they really weren't. I said, I'll take you home afterwards. So, you know, Mike, you just do those things because if the student then perceives that this is an interest they have, then eventually the parents might get on board because the child likes it so much.
[00:22:23] They might say, Hey, they're good at this. That makes them happy. Let's let's, let's support this a little bit more. So sometimes you gotta go around those avenues too.
[00:22:32] Mike: I wish you would've been with me last week. I'm I'm gonna talk to some people on this podcast. I was up in Ironwood, Michigan, Diane, and of course that's right across the border.
[00:22:43] And. It's, it's not an economically prosperous area, but the two buildings that are shining examples of just wonderful. I mean, it's just, wow. They're the best buildings in the entire city are the legal marijuana dispensaries. And at 5:30 in the morning, there's a, there's a Disney line snaking through the parking lot.
[00:23:08] For people waiting for it to open. And the place that I stayed, the hotel said, you cannot get a hotel room near there from people from Wisconsin coming across to buy legal weed, and you can buy two and half, Diane. You can buy two and a half ounces per day. So in a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, you walk out of there with you know, seven, eight ounces, nine ounces of marijuana.
[00:23:31] Well, That's more than legal you know, personal consumption. And they're bringing it back. So, you know, that's coming to a community near us, I think. Right. You know, Iowa does it pretty soon.
[00:23:44] Diane: One thing we see in our county is because we're on the river. And because of our proximity here, we become a drop off point and a pickup point for a lot of methamphetamine.
[00:23:52] Okay. Numerous bust in this county at times. And I think a lot of it comes from the Minneapolis down or Chicago over and in talking to officer Mcculloch and that they have pictures where they have the dog and they'll find so many thousands of dollars and so many ounces of meth that they catch along the way.
[00:24:10] And it's never, ever local names. It's always someone, but you know, there's someone local, but they're not for those people. They wanna get the steps above them. So at least they're getting the steps above the locals. Hopefully cutting down that supply that comes in.
[00:24:22] Mike: Wow. Yeah. I talked to an officer on one of these podcasts and that's what he was saying too.
[00:24:26] And especially with the meth, it's just in it's it seems to be everywhere. Well, Diane, I I've, I wanted this, I do these podcasts a lot and I never know how I'm gonna end it. I just, it feels the same way all the time when I end it, you know, I can feel it. Yeah. This is the, this is the one podcast that I've ever done where I knew ahead of time before I even started how I wanted to end it.
[00:24:50] So I'll let, I'll let you do it. You wear a necklace. Tell us about it.
[00:24:54] Diane: Yeah, it's the number seven. And a lot of people that don't know me say, oh, you must like gambling.
[00:25:01] Mike: [laugh]
[00:25:03] Diane: And Mike, I'm not gonna lie. Occasionally I do, but I don't like it that much, but it came from when I was softball coaching. And we had, we had very successful programs here and we just seemed to get over the hump.
[00:25:13] So I just say, you know, you gotta play seven quality innings to get the gold medal. Well, then. After I retired from coaching and it seemed like a natural transition that takes, you know, you have seven days a week to make a difference, and that's why seven still sticks with me. So every day you wake up, you can make a difference.
[00:25:30] You know? I always think of those as doorknob bombs. I tell my kids about that. That just because you had a problem in this room, doesn't mean it has to come to the next room, leave that at the doorknob. So, you know, if you can get kids to adjust to those kind of things and understand just those kind of things, that's some coping skills they have, you know, that I don't have to carry this problem from one venue to the next.
[00:25:48] I always told my softball girls, if, if your teacher and your assignments aren't done go out of practice. I had some girls that weren't didn't have assignments done. I'd go back, go. You're not coming to practice. Ready to practice. Go back to your classroom. Clear up that mess first. If you don't give yourself a chance to start new every morning, it's just gonna be a continual cycle.
[00:26:07] And that's what leads people into a lot of abuse. I think whether it be alcohol abuse or physical abuse or drug abuse, whatever you wanna call it, they don't learn to leave things behind and move forward each and every day, that's where they get in that cycle. And it just seems like a. I dunno if you wanna call it a pity party, woahs me, life is tough and it doesn't have to be that way.
[00:26:25] You can start a fresh every day. So that's kinda what the seven is.
[00:26:29] Mike: Well, and you do seven days to make a difference every week is just such a great motto. I just absolutely love it. And I've adopted it by the way, you know that.
[00:26:38] Diane: You can, you can do that at that. My permission, you can do it cuz you have great things you do out there, Mike too.
[00:26:43] Glad, they're glad that somebody caught onto.
[00:26:45] Mike: Yeah. Well, for those of you listening, you, you probably have already caught the drift that while somebody may retire, it doesn't mean they're done [laugh]. Yeah.
[00:26:55] Diane: No.
[00:26:55] Mike: So we'll just, we'll see you down the, the road, whatever we do next. But thanks for doing this with us today.
[00:27:01] I, I wanted, after school year was something hopeful, optimistic, and things that I know work well. So thanks.
[00:27:09] Diane: Thanks. And you continue to do your good things.
[00:27:11] Mike: Yeah. Well, we'll get we're we're still swinging the bat. For, for those of you listening, you know, what happens. Next week we're gonna talk about more issues around substance use.
[00:27:20] I think we have our annual college panel back next week of young women. Who are at this point they're juniors, believe it or not. We'll talk to them as incoming freshmen. So they should all be close to 21, should be an interesting conversation.
[00:27:35] Diane: I bet it will be.
[00:27:36] Mike: Please listen in next week and until then stay safe. And if I can borrow this, make a difference.
[00:27:43] [END AUDIO]
The Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition’s mission is to support networking, encourage education, explore gaps, and realize solutions to improve treatment and reduce alcohol and other drug abuse in our community with a primary focus on families.