Two Villages hosts Town Hall Meeting on socially accepted addictions

Jan 30, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Two Villages Founder Jayne Klett, left, and Ottawa County Health Department Health Educator, Michelle Veliz, invite the public to a Two Villages Town Hall Meeting on March 3. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

In 2009, the communities of Woodville and Elmore were shaken by the deaths of five area teens. The experience forever changed local resident Jayne Klett.

“We lost five youths who lived within five miles of my home to high-risk behaviors,” Klett said. “My son was in fifth or sixth grade, and he knew four of the big kids who passed. I thought, ‘How do I explain that to my little guy? What is happening in my neighborhood that we’re missing?’”

Those questions were replayed in homes across the Woodmore community as local residents struggled to process the loss. Klett decided to address the trauma by pulling the communities together to gain support and find answers. In 2010, she founded Two Villages, which hosts informational community events to address behavioral and cultural issues that put youth’s wellness at risk.

The next community event will be a Two Villages Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. at Woodmore Middle School, located at 800 West Main St. in Woodville. Attendees can browse resource tables, and a panel discussion will begin at 1:30 p.m. The panelists will be Dawn Bova from Talbot Health Services, Michelle Veliz from the Ottawa County Health Department, and Kelly Garza and Jeanine Lindquist from the Zepf Center.

The theme of the Town Hall Meeting will be “When do normal behaviors become addictions?” The panelists will delve into the impact of socially accepted addictions like food, gambling and technology.

“That’s where people are struggling,” Veliz said. “Addiction is addiction is addiction because of how it changes the brain chemistry. We need to treat any addiction the same way.”

The panelists will discuss the science behind addiction.

“This is a way for us to educate the public to help them be better equipped to handle those things,” Veliz said.

The meeting is open to the public.

“You can’t talk to parents early enough. Treatment is more difficult than prevention,” Klett said.

The Two Villages Town Hall Meetings not only educate local residents, but they also help them connect in the fight to protect the community’s youth.

“What we’ve found about addiction is, the antidote is community,” Veliz said. “There’s no better way to tackle these issues than with the community supports that are already in place. It’s going to take a community to solve these addiction issues.”

At its core, addiction is a community issue.

“There is no family that has not been touched by addiction or mental health,” Veliz said.

For more information on the Two Villages Town Hall Meeting, email OurTwoVillages@gmail.com.

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