April 2017 Meeting Minutes

Livonia Save Our Youth Coalition
General Meeting Minutes
April 5, 2017

In attendance: Mary Olex, Jerry Kwas, Kelly Younce, Golfo Tzlos, John Grzebik, Suzanne Baker, Bethany Sanford, Tom Venn, Meg Venn, Karla Truxall, Steve Boyar, Dr. and Mr. Balaraman

LSOY Staff:  Karen Bonanno, Shari Davidek

 Meg Venn made the motion to approve the minutes from the March 2017 General Meeting. John Grzebik seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved.

Coalition Update

  • Our annual site visit by DWMHA was April 4, 2017. Our grant manager, Karra Thomas was here for about two hours. Karen did a wonderful job collecting and organizing everything we needed! It went well and we will hear our score soon.
  • The IRS has reinstated our 501(c)3 status, retroactive back to the revocation date three years ago.
  • The next Board of Directors meeting is Monday, May 1st, 6 – 8 pm.
  • We have created a Quality Assurance Committee comprised of Karen, Shari and Juliana Baird, a student at Schoolcraft who is volunteering for us. This is a grant requirement, so we are glad to have this started! Our first meeting was held in March and we will continue with monthly meetings.


Updates – Old Business

  • Mocktail Party at Schoolcraft College was held March 9th. It was geared toward the students to let them know they could do other fun things on St. Patrick’s Day rather than drinking. They had karaoke, mocktails, root beer pong, snacks and other activities.
  • The faith community has reached out to us to have discussions with their congregations. Emmannuel Lutheran in Livonia invited us to speak during their Sunday church services March 12th. Karen spoke at two services as well as a youth event that evening. We were very well received. They were not ready to talk about addiction, but Karen spoke about prevention and substance abuse. Leah Bittinger is a person in recovery who spoke to the crowd.
  • We were scheduled to speak at St. Mary’s in Westland on March 13th, but it was rescheduled due to bad weather.
  • March 16th was the Quality Assurance meeting. Anyone is welcome to join us.
  • Aiden’s in Livonia, 7th and 8th grade religious ed classes and parents welcomed us on March 20th. Karen spoke about addiction here and only one parent objected. Many kids said they had heard this information in health class.
  • Our Lady of Victory in Northville was next on the list on March 22nd. The pastor is getting tired of burying kids because of drug overdoses, so he wanted us to speak to their community. It wasn’t as well attended as they would have liked, but they want to hold it again at a later date and encourage more to come.
  • Michigan Prevention Association meeting up in Lansing, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM.) Recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in November 2018, so we have a marijuana committee and the meetings will be geared toward our campaign to encourage people to vote no. Karen attended this meeting.

Ongoing Planning

  • Community Forum – Addiction Abuse: What you need to know and what you can do –our flyer is working! Our attendance has increased and the participants are engaged. Brian Spitsbergen, who works for Growth Works and is also a person in recovery (for more than 25 years) has a terrific presentation and every time you come you learn something new! We will not hold the forum in June, July and August because attendance was zero in those months last year.
  • Marijuana Community Awareness/Education – will be scheduling a planning meeting soon.
  • Run 2 Save Our Youth – We have our sponsor/donation letters out to community businesses. Runners are signing up and we are securing our volunteers and raffle donations. Karen and Shari are working hard to get everything in place! Steve Boyar had to leave the meeting early, but wanted us to know he is planning to volunteer again!
  • Spree 2017 – We may be in the brochure and they will include us in the Spree in some capacity. We would like to give a “Safe and Sober” message. John Grzebik, a Spree Committee Member, is our go-between and trying to transition LSOY into the Spree.

New Business

  • Northwestern Wayne County FAN Chapter Launch will be April 10th. Families Against Narcotics. They are a resource for families who find themselves in the midst of addiction.  Should be well attended by the media. This is one of the pieces needed for Wayne County to begin an Angel Program.
  • Hegira Programs will present “What is Counseling” April 18th as the last part of their awareness series.
  • The CDS Foundation was started by the DelSignore family who own Laurel Manor. They raise money for different charities. Several years ago their son Tino passed away due to his addiction. They have given the coalition $1,000 every year for the past five years and this year they gave LSOY $5,000! Karen attended the appreciation dinner to accept the check.
  • DWMHA is sponsoring an autism conference. We are coming the registration fee for two people who have children with autism and they will report back to the coalition. We will send Kelly Younce also!
  • Suzanne Baker was here to talk about a couple of fundraisers for Blessings in a Backpack! Trivia Night will be held April 28th. They also have a Cereal Drive to collect cereal for at-risk kids so they are not hungry and can concentrate better in school. It is also collected for the summer months when school lunches are not available and kids can go hungry.
  • The National DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 29th. The Livonia Police station is participating!
  • The Michigan Prevention Association Advocacy Day is May 2nd at the state capitol.
  • DWMHA is hosting their 2nd annual Opioid Abuse and Heroin Overdose Solutions Summit at Burton Manor on May 11th. We’ll be using photos that Franklin High School students took as part of a creative contest after being asked the question; What does addiction look like to me?
  • The Livonia Chamber of Commerce is hosting a business expo on May 11th. We are hoping that maybe someone would be interested in representing our table, since Karen and Shari will be at Burton Manor that day. Meg Venn may be able to help!
  • The 2nd Annual Unite to Face Addiction Rally will be held on the Capitol Steps May 18th from 9 am – 5 pm.
  • The St. Mary Spring Symposium is on May 30th from 8 am – 4 pm. Tall Cop will be there and there are sessions on human trafficking and Direct on Scene Education (DOSE.)
  • Karen compiled a list on house bills in the state of Michigan that are prevention related, as a reference for all of us.

Resources and Enclosures in Meeting Packet

  • Agenda
  • Meeting minutes from March 2017 General Meeting
  • Quality Assurance Committee Meeting Minutes
  • New FAN chapter launch flyer
  • Hegira Programs community event calendar
  • DWMHA Autism Conference flyer
  • Blessings in a Backpack trivia night flyer
  • Blessings in a Backpack Cereal Drive flyer
  • Michigan Prevention Association Advocacy Day flyer
  • Prescription Drug Take Back Day flyer
  • 2nd Annual Opioid Abuse and Heroin Overdose Solutions Summit flyer
  • Livonia Chamber of Commerce Business Expo flyer
  • 2nd Annual Unite to Face Addiction Rally on the Capitol Steps flyer
  • Mary Mercy Spring Symposium flyer
  • List of prevention related Michigan Bills
  • Brochure: Marijuana…Nine Things Everyone Needs to Know


  • Community Reporting
  • Karla spoke about her organization, SPN Survivors. She did March for Hope in early March and was a little disappointed with the attendance. Karen reassured her that some events are better attended than others. Many factors can be involved.
  • Bethany Danford from SUDDS Coalition came to talk about her organization. (Stop Underage Drinking and Drugs.)
  • Belarama, a medical oncologist at Beaumont hospital, came to speak about organ donation. Her children wanted to start raising awareness for minorities being organ donors and she and her husband are helping them. In the past three years, the amount of organ donors has increased from 23% to 53%, which is great, but most of these donors are Caucasian. They have held events to sign people up and have been very successful. They would like to partner with us so we can help them spread the word. We have invited them to set up a table at the Run 2 Save Our Youth!