Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I
For the past 35 years, annual National Nights Out across the country have been held in order to strengthen partnerships between police and the community, raise neighborhood morale and comradery, and create safer, more active communities.
In Middlesex County, New Jersey, the vision is no different.
National Nights Out events were held several communities throughout the county including Dunellen, Middlesex, Spotswood, Metuchen, South Brunswick, Milltown, South River, Piscataway, as well as Asbury Park in Monmouth County, among many others.
Community members were given the opportunity to explore resources their own town has to offer, meet and interact with others, and engage in games, activities, and plenty of food.
Wellspring staff was on hand at several of the Night Out events, armed with information about substance use prevention, as well as anti-stigma campaigns for substance abuse, information specifically for youth athletes and opioid use, and free giveaways and prizes.
While 2018 was met with a few challenges, including some short but torrential downpours, the message behind National Night Out and the dedication communities had was clear and admirable.
National Night Out is an opportunity for all members who live and work in a community to connect and interact and also learn about drug and crime prevention and general health and safety. In a world where technology and social media are fast becoming the main method of communication, it is important to remember how critical events like National Night Out are as ways to bond and learn more about the communities and people we surround ourselves with.