Graduation means it's time to prepare to keep college communication lines open

Parents have been there for all of their child’s firsts: the pivotal first day of school, the first time they rode a bike, their first heartbreak, the much anticipated first school dance, and their first graduation. The time has flown by, and now students have their sites set on getting ready to move out of the house for the first time to go to college.
Helping teenagers navigate their way through life doesn’t have to stop just because they are going away to school. Carol Hopp, prevention specialist at Helping Services for Northeast Iowa, says, “We, at Helping Services, are here to empower you to continue helping your young adolescent grow into a motivated young adult. One way to do this is by having regular conversations with your student about your respective values and expectations - especially how you each view substance use and its impact on their future.”
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, children whose parents talk with them about alcoholism and drug abuse are 50 percent less likely to use these substances.
College is a time for young adults to find who they are, learn new skills, and prepare for adulthood. Parents can help the young adult in their life understand that the choices they make today can impact their future personal, academic and career success.
Helping Services has created a resource, “Off to College: Now What?” with week-by-week tips to keep communication open the first six weeks of college and beyond. The booklet also includes a quick tool that may help identify if a student is struggling with alcohol or another substance and is in need of additional help.
The "Off to College: Now What?" booklets have been made available to all area high schools, but all parents of pre-teen and teenage kids will benefit from this booklet. The earlier parents can start conversations, the earlier prevention takes root. To view an electronic copy of the booklet, visit  or contact Carol Hopp at or 563-387-1720 for more information.