Watchung Hills Regional Municipal Alliance Presents “The 15 Minute Child Break”


(above, l-r) Judy Carbone, Cheyenne Carbone, Partnership for DrugFree NJ Representative Hector Quinones, Tristan Chang and Clarice Chang

WHRMA Presents “The 15 Minute Child Break”

Submitted By Iris D Alston

Watchung Hills Regional Municipal Alliance (WHRMA), which serves Warren, Green Brook, Watchung and Long Hill Townships, sponsored “The 15 Minute Child Break” this fall at Central Middle School in Stirling. The “15 Minute Child Break” was the 3rd in the series of events for 2019. Project Graduation was the first and National Night Out the second in the series.

Hector Quinones, representative for Partnership for a Drug Free NJ and the Morris County Alliance gave a talk to parents on topics including underage drinking, the highly toxic mechanised marijuana being produced today, harmful vaping trends in youth, misuse and abuse of prescription medicine and over the counter medicine as well as strengthening parental communication with youth.

WHRHS student volunteers also assisted the youth attending the event in an activity creating “stress balls” from balloons. The volunteers filled balloons with flour and had the youth paint personal empowering words on them for for stress relief. WHRMA Vice Chairperson Iris Alston engaged the youth on topics of “Medication Safety”, Bullying Prevention and positive stress relief activities. Stencils with empowering words like “relax” and “calm” were provided for the stress balls. One 5 year old student attending the event, Clarice Chang asked the Vice Chairperson to go over each word on the stencil with her. Clarice asked her to repeat some of them several times. “What does this one say again,” Clarice asked, as she thought carefully about each one. And then she pointed at one word and said “I want this one” and looked up at the Vice Chairperson for emphasis and said “peace. I want peace”. This very astute 5 year old student chose peace as her empowering word to paint on her balloon.

Prevention programs sponsored by WHRMA serve to reinforce this and keep parents informed as well as assist the community in continuing to support positive behaviors and identify at risk behaviors in youth. WHRMA is a grassroots organization comprised of community volunteers who dedicate their time to develop and implement programs that are an integral part in preventing drug and alcohol use among their residents. These programs reach out to people of all ages in the areas of recreation, education, and community awareness. Our members are representatives from several sectors of the community, including (but not limited to) law enforcement, local government, school counselors and staff, parents, youth, local business, faith based organizations, and private citizens.

The event was attended by 6 parents and 4 youth. The low turnout at the event means WHRMA has more work to do connecting with the parents.