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'The Top Secret Project' gives parents resources, knowledge

The Top Secret Project will be held at Somerset High School on March 28.

"The Top Secret Project" is designed to help adults to know what to look for to recognize potential warning signs in teenagers.

The Top Secret Project will be held at Somerset High School on Wednesday, March 28, from 5-8 p.m. This event, open to adults only from any school district, will include a free dinner and free childcare. It teaches adults about potential hidden hazards in a teenager's domain. The program was designed by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

There is no charge for admittance. Pre-registration is sought. To register, contact Somerset High School principal Shannon Donnelly at 715-247-4400, ext. 210 or sdonnelly

The idea was brought to Patty Schachtner after seeing a "Top Secret Project" event in St. Croix Falls draw more than 500 adults from that area. Donnelly said the event is intended to give parents, families and friends all the knowledge they can to look for in dealing with the hazards that teens are facing every day. Donnelly said things like hidden apps on cell phones, early warning signs of drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, bullying and general teen mental health are subjects that will be addressed during the evening.

The program specializes in helping adults recognize unfamiliar hazards that are often in plain sight. The project features an extensive display of an average teen's room, to help adults to recognize some of the hazards that might be in plain sight. Hazelden has created a website, with resources related to prevention, early intervention, drug trends, mental health resources and much more.

"Our motivation for launching this project was to encourage parents to take a closer look at their teenagers' rooms. Oftentimes, signs of danger are in plain sight, but if we don't know what to look for, we can't help our kids safely navigate the teen years," said Cendee Palmer, Outreach Manager for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

A number of local organizations are working together to offer this special event. They include St. Croix County Health and Human Services, St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, Somerset School District, Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the New Richmond and Somerset police departments, St. Croix County Victim Witness, the St. Croix County Medical Examiner's office, and the St. Croix County Collaborative Justice Council.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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