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BENNINGTON — Conversations with children about substance use can be challenging for parents to initiate. It’s often difficult to know what to say, and how to best encourage young people to make healthy choices. Bennington County Regional Prevention Partnership, in conjunction with The Collaborative, is introducing a new public service campaign aimed at parents and guardians in the greater Bennington County area.

The campaign, called “Listen. Talk. Connect,” seeks to help connect local adults with each other to share ideas for having productive, constructive conversations with their children about alcohol, cannabis, vaping and other substances.

According to Samantha Pearce, community epidemiologist at The Collaborative, effective conversation about substance use begins with listening.

“This means really listening to your kids’ concerns and thoughts, to understand the pressures they may be facing or the curiosity they may have,” she said in a statement. “It also means listening to fellow parents and guardians who have been through similar experiences, hearing how they navigated what can be a challenging situation.”

The next step is talking.

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“Ongoing dialogue is very important,” Pearce said. “This isn’t a conversation you will have once, but one that continues throughout your child’s development. It’s important to withhold judgment when talking. This will go a long way toward achieving mutual respect.”

Real listening and real talk lead to the third stage of the conversation, a real connection.

“A key to our campaign is connecting adults across our region so that they can swap insights,” Victoria Silsby, prevention specialist at The Collaborative, said. “Our website is designed to do just that, featuring valuable thoughts from local people, and space for visitors to add their own experiences.”

The campaign is supported by a social media presence to get the word out and direct people online. To connect with the campaign, get ideas and share experiences, go to

Bennington County Regional Prevention Partnership is a community health organization that pursues a public health planning process, fostering community action and collaboration to reduce and prevent underage and binge drinking, prescription drug misuse and marijuana misuse at the regional level. For more information about partnership, contact The Collaborative at or 802-824-4200.


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