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HIP Spotlight: Tami Yliniemi

Hubbard in Prevention (HIP) Coalition has a goal: To reduce underage alcohol, tobacco and other drug use through prevention. The coalition believes Hubbard County can accomplish this goal and there are a growing number of dedicated community members and students that are part of the effort. Each month, HIP will be recognizing its members and supporters. This month please meet Hubbard County Social Services In-Home Counselor and HIP Coalition member, Tami Yliniemi.

Q: Why do you feel passionate about the youth in our community?

Tami: We live in the “MIS-information age” and with better information, factual data and scientific research we can share the accurate information with our youth so they can make more informed decisions around their life choices ... and specifically underage drinking.

Q: Why do you feel strongly that the youth in our community should be alcohol, tobacco and drug free?

Tami: Scientific data shows waiting until your brain is fully developed to use alcohol decreases your likelihood of becoming addicted. The human brain is actually not fully developed until well into our 20s. The implications this has on the long-term cost to their lives and our society as a whole is profound.

Q: What are you most looking forward to learning over the next several years through your involvement in the coalition?

Tami: I am looking forward to implementing fact-based, effective strategies in our community that can reduce youth access to alcohol, educate our children and support our parents and community members in tackling the difficult and destructive issue of underage drinking. I am also looking forward to taking this experience and information and using it to tackle other tough issues for our children with future grants.

Q: What has impressed you or intrigued you most about the coalition and its strategies so far?

Tami: While driving with a group of 5 young people in my car, we saw a “We Decide” t-shirt, (We Decide is the name of our Hubbard County youth groups). The kids did not know my involvement, so I asked them, “What’s that all about, is We Decide a good thing or what?” The reply was unanimous, “It’s a good thing!”

Q: What do you most want the following people to understand about the strategies of the coalition?

Tami: Students: No one can make you learn, but ultimately you are responsible for making your life the best it can be. Avail yourself to the factual information about these issues, so you can make informed decisions. You don’t have to follow what you might think is tradition, you can make different choices!

Parents: Get the facts. A recent survey shows most parents in our community do not allow their children to drink. So please do not give in to peer-pressure and allow your kids to drink. Take a stand, get support and raise the odds of having successful, healthy children.

Businesses that sell alcohol: It is in your best interest to reduce your liability and the liability of your staff to take the free beverage server training offered by HIP. This training raises the odds of reducing access to alcohol by underage people and ensures you and your staff will avoid violating current and upcoming ordinances focused on reducing access to alcohol by underage people.

The Hubbard in Prevention (HIP) Coalition is funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division in partnership with St. Joseph’s Area Health Services. To find out more about the coalition or become a member, contact Beth Heltunen by calling 255-3692, or visiting the website at www.hubbard