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FVTC goes 'Hollywood' for app to help kids endangered by drugs


FVTC goes 'Hollywood' for app to help kids endangered by drugs, Mar. 4, 2021 (WLUK/Chris Schattl)
FVTC goes 'Hollywood' for app to help kids endangered by drugs, Mar. 4, 2021 (WLUK/Chris Schattl)
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APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- A grandmother who’s forced to take on the role of a mother to her grandkids because of her daughter’s drug addiction.

A child lying her head down to sleep without her mother, because of drugs.

Both real-life scenarios were played out by actors at Fox Valley Technical College’s Public Training Facility Thursday to be included in a new mobile app intended to help children endangered by drugs.

The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children is working with Fox Valley Tech’s Learning Innovations team to create it.

“We’re providing a variety of connection points, so people can see themselves in the stories and know that there are services, there is hope and a different path ahead, and that that generational cycle of substance misuse can be broken,” executive director for the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, Scott Henderson, said.

And filming inside various mock homes at FVTC’s site wasn’t done on accident. Organizers say they want people to see that these scenarios can play out anywhere.

“Realizing how widespread the problem is; it goes beyond stereotypes, and these issues, and people and families in crisis really are in all walks of life,” said Jay Stulo, director of Learning Innovations at FVTC.

Videos such as the ones shot Thursday will be found within the mobile app, which is still being developed.

It will use geotagging to help connect children, endangered by drug use, with resources located in their own zip code.

“We’re localizing all the resources; information that will be in the app,” Julo said. “Based on the location that you’re in with your phone, you’ll get resources that are relevant to you.”

But it will also allow users to remain anonymous -- a big incentive, Henderson says, for those impacted by that lifestyle.

“Folks have a tendency not to reach out for the services in their area,” he said. “There is a pretty dynamic need to connect them to the services, and the anonymity is a piece of that.”

The project has four different phases. Phase one focuses directly on getting help for victims. That phase is expected to launch in September 2021.

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Further phases of the project will involve in-depth training for professionals.

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