Student activist guide

Ways to help you help your friends and school learn the NineZero message: “Nine months, Zero alcohol.”

1. Create a NineZero Club – and here are activities you can do!
The club can be the organizers and ones responsible for teaching and training the FASTRAC curriculum.
Host rallies
Host informational booths
Host an experiential booth
Host Contests
Host an event for FASDay- September 9th
Host debates
Host a panel of professionals from you local area from several clinics and/or hospitals to discuss the different and damaging affects that alcohol does to a baby.

2. Team up with other clubs on campus to help create events that spread the word.
The more the merrier and the more that know the message.

3. Share it with your local Middle School campuses.
Be a “big” brother or sister and teach the younger ones what you know.

4. Share it with your school board.
This is a great opportunity to have even more public speaking skills and reach an audience older than yourselves.

5. Share it with your PTSA.
This is a great opportunity to have even more public speaking skills and reach an audience older than yourselves.

Warm Bevie

Riverside, CA –

The Arc of Riverside, a nonprofit agency that began the NineZero Project three years ago as a way to spread the word about the number one cause of intellectual and other developmental disabilities in the United States – prenatal exposure to alcohol causing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders — has launched a “coffee for a cause” enterprise that they hope will provide increased awareness and financial resources to sustain their prevention and educational efforts in Riverside County. This whole bean coffee is fittingly called NineZero Blend Coffee and is receiving excellent reviews for its quality.

The first community promotion of NineZero Blend Coffee took place this month at the Riverside Art Museum. Paul Thiel, editor and publisher of 951 Magazine featured the blend as part of the magazine’s annual reception held at that location again this year.

Now Riverside County residents can enjoy a premium blend of quality coffee and know they are contributing to a wonderful cause. NineZero whole bean coffee is made from a rich blend of quality beans from Africa and South America. It is shipped within days of roasting and packaged to ensure excellent quality and no bitter taste. The logo and the graphics on the bag are artfully constructed and the message is simple and affirming.

“We are very fortunate to be able to present to our community such a quality product to go with a cause that we feel so passionate about,” said Jim Stream, executive director of the Arc of Riverside. “If even one additional expectant mom finds this ‘message on a bag’ and doesn’t drink because of it, or one friend or family member is able to communicate this important message at a critical moment, we will feel the effort is worthwhile.”

All the net proceeds of the sale of this coffee go to help prevent a serious and costly health problem in our community. Recent studies indicate that one baby in 100 is born with significant damage due to their mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Often these babies are not diagnosed in the first year or two and fall through the cracks of the social service system and end up with lifelong problems.

“NineZero” is Arc Riverside’s simple one-word message that literally means “Nine Months. Zero Alcohol.” and communicates a fact that not everyone is aware of – there is no known safe limit for drinking alcohol during pregnancy. This “no safe limit” pronouncement was placed in a public health directive by the Surgeon General of the United States for the first time in 2005. By that time, it had become convincingly clear that even small amounts of alcohol at critical periods are harmful.

“I’m so supportive of this effort because I don’t want families to go through what I experienced when my son came from a foster home to live with me at age two,” said Eva Carner, FASD project director for the Arc of Riverside. A version of “Eva and Rick’s Incredible Journey” can be found online at www.arcriverside.org.

Other ways Arc Riverside is spreading the NineZero message is through a peer taught curriculum in high school health classes, video and printed public service announcements, distribution of other NineZero products and through the Internet at www.NineZero.org. The unique NineZero Project is catching on in other communities as well via word of mouth and the Internet.

By July 1, 2007, anyone liking our coffee and wanting to support our cause can have a fresh supply of NineZero Blend Coffee shipped directly to their home by joining the NineZero Coffee Club found on the www.NineZero.org Web site.

This “coffee for a cause” project is one more example of Arc Riverside’s use of the free enterprise system to help ameliorate a community social or health issue affecting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families in Riverside County.

The Arc of Riverside is a non-profit organization that provides services, supports and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout Western Riverside County, and is located at 8138 Mar Vista Court, Riverside, CA 92504.

Bring NineZero into your own Backyard – Part 2

A bit ago I shared about having a House Party to have people over and share about the message of NineZero.

Here are some other things you can do in your own backyard.

1. Get your local faith based groups aware and apart of the NineZero message.

2. Volunteer time at Arc Riverside, Inland Regional or other facilities that serve the intellectually disabled and/or physically disabled.

3. Share it with your local Middle School campuses.

4. Share it with your school board.

5. Share it with your PTSA.

6. Share it with other facilities that provide services to teens and youth.
a. Examples: YMCA, Youth Opportunity Centers, Community Centers, YWCA

7. Attend meetings with other local health officials and organizations.

8. Attend local health fairs and expos

9. Host informational booths
a. Provide brochures, rack cards and statistics

10. Host an experiential booth
a. Show videos created by NineZero, yourself, or others on You Tube that talk about FASD
b. Show the egg in alcohol effect
c. Teach about the volume of alcohol in relation to the size of the drink (slide #24 in the FASTRAC)
d. Get creative!

11. Post information, banners, and pictures on you’re My Space, Facebook, You Tube, etc. sites

Bring NineZero into your own Backyard

Sometimes I am asked, “where do I begin?” “How do I become apart of the NineZero Project?”

My first thought is your own backyard. That may mean literal – your neighbors or it may mean your family or friends or school.

My first suggestions is to throw a house party educating and promoting to your neighborhood, friends, and family about NineZero.

  • Present NineZero’s FASTRAC (see our FASTRAC, how easy it is to present necessary information to those you know).
  • Bring in live bands
  • Brew NineZero Coffee with a Cause
  • Watch our videos
  • Watch movies clips of various movies that promote good example or poor ones to learn from.
  • As a group create videos for the NineZero YouTube site
  • Make T-shirts and Signs

Hosting is easy — all you need is a space to gather folks, a computer with speakers to play NineZero Videos, and a way to print materials.

It’s an exciting time of action, to rally people together to educate your friends and community and help make FASD a thing of the past.

Classroom Resources

Classroom Resources
At trainings, workshops and presentations (and as a former teacher myself) I love seeing not only the eyes of students open with new knowledge of the damage they could cause if they drink alcohol during pregnancy, but also the wide eyes of teachers connecting the information with students they encounter on a daily basis.

This is to all you teachers who sense you could help some of your students more but just do not know how.

We want to connect you with this site as a resource:

http://education.alberta.ca/admin/special/resources/fasd.aspx

Denial and FASD

I meet many young women who do not realize they are pregnant until the second or third trimester.

For some it is because of years of inconsistent menstrual cycles; however for most, it is the reality of denial. Not wanting to admit that they are pregnant. Denial can lead to devastating affects for the growing baby.

After presenting in a high school teen mom class, a few students, soon to be mommies, began to cry. They admitted to drinking alcohol and did not realize the devastating affects that it has on their baby.

It makes sense then to discuss the “signs” of pregnancy. For me, it is tough to get across the message of FASD if students do not have enough background information about sex and pregnancy. Most pregnancies are unplanned and its importance is great for the many young people I see day to day. Knowing the sign and admitting to them is the first step. This is by no means a “cure” or “prevention” to FASD. Any form of alcohol consumed prior to knowing you are pregnant has done damage that is irreversible.

1. You may have vagina spotting or in more technical terms, “Implantation Bleeding.”
2. You will likely need to urinate frequently.
3. You may experience tenderness or soreness in your breasts.
4. You may feel warm and actually have a temperature.
5. Missing a period is a sign you should see a doctor and/or take a pregnancy test.
6. You may feel fatigued and weak.

Our advice is if you are even thinking of getting pregnant, don’t drink. If you are sexually active, take every precaution to ensure that you won’t get pregnant.

Read more from “How Your Body Tells That You Are Pregnant”

NineZero Games Reflection

From a student attending the NineZero Games FASD Conference.

“Nine months, Zero alcohol was introduced to me as an option for 20 points extra credit. To my surprise the conference was very eye opening. I always felt that drinking alcohol during pregnancy should never be don, but after today I am armed with proof. At points during the conference I felt uncomfortable questioning myself ‘why am I sitting here among these woman?

How could they drink during pregnancy?

And then sit and cry about the effects it had on their children.

Well did I feel dumb only about an hour and a half later when it was brought to our attention that 95% of the women in there were parents of foster children.

Eye opening…

I thought to myself this is why I am here. I can do this. I was sent here not for 20 points, but to be an educator. I feel deep inside that I can help. So after the conference I approached a couple of speakers and received some info on how I can volunteer in my area…

Its only so many times in your life that your given the opportunities that can be life changing, and this was one.”

If we can continue to “open the eyes” of individuals to the see issue of FASD differently, to see the devastating ramifications of drinking alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy, and to see people with FASD with dignity and respect – then that is a good day.

Holiday Indulgence

This is a letter the NineZero Team received from a mother:

“Well, let’s see. Where can I begin? Perhaps the best place to start is when I decided to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my family and friends: exchanging gifts, over eating, singing carols, and partaking in holiday cheer. The eggnog with brandy was the bow that topped off the perfect present. I was in full swing with everyone- but not everyone was pregnant. I made the decision to do everything that everyone else was doing despite my condition. ‘Tis the season’, I kept reminding myself.

What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

But, the very one it was hurting knew exactly what I was doing because he was doing it with me. What makes this story not so cheery is not just that my son is currently exhibiting aggressive behavior, taking medication for mood disorder, attention deficit disorder, and depression, and fighting to get through each day, but I knew what could happen if I drank during pregnancy.

And I chose it anyway.

What leaves this story less jolly is that I did it again during my second pregnancy and now the same behaviors are mirrored in my youngest son. And he has upped the ante with oppositional defiant disorder. I only drank during the holidays with both my beautiful summer babies, but it only takes a little to do a lot of damage.

I mean, I have seen the commercials and ads – did I really think I was exempt from harming my children?

Well, of course.

Isn’t that why you’re still drinking while your carrying that precious little bundle?If I have gone through this only to reach out to others, to keep mothers from doing the same thing, then I accept my decisions and my destiny.

And so I encourage all mothers to practice nine months, zero alcohol. It’s only a short time and you’ll have so much more to celebrate after wards; because everyday is a holiday being a mother of a mentally and physically healthy child.”

The mother’s honesty is heartbreaking and the lives of her boys will never be the same.

That is why we seek to engage youth and remind them that there is no safe time and no safe amount. It is sad to learn from the lives of others, but we are grateful for this mother’s honesty.