In 1989, Dr. SuzAnne Palmer was an instrumental participant in the formation of the Baldwin County Council on Substance Abuse. The BCCSA was a true grassroots endeavor spearheaded by concerned community members to stave off the burgeoning spread of cocaine use, as well as marijuana and designer drugs. Dr. Palmer gave tirelessly of her time and willingly shared her expertise as this fledgling group of activist paved the way for what eventually would become the Oconee Prevention Resource council serving not just the children, young people and families in Baldwin County, but those in 5 other rural counties in middle Georgia.
Dr. SuzAnne Palmer has been a dynamic and dedicated leader of the Oconee Prevention Resource Council (OPRC). Not only does Dr. Palmer deliver hundreds of babies, she cares passionately about their well-being as they continue to grow towards adulthood. As President of the Oconee Prevention Resource Council Dr. Palmer has been an involved and extremely effective leader in providing guidance in the implementation of programs that benefit the under-resourced and under-served children and young people in our community. Dr. Palmer organized the first of the “Super Stars” programs, in the Graham Housing Authority, 15 years ago. Designed to provide positive alternatives to the negative behaviors that lead to substance abuse, teen pregnancy and academic failure, “Super Stars” was a vital program for these at-risk elementary-age children. Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Palmer, “Super Stars” continues to this day and has expanded to 5 other counties.
For the past 14 years Dr. Palmer has recruited physicians from our community to provide free physicals for more than 4,200 young people who attended the National youth Sports Program (NYSP) for 5 weeks each summer. For the majority of these young people, this physical was often their only contact with a doctor from one year to the next. Not only did this physical enable a child to participate in an excellent program, but often health issues of concern were discovered and ultimately treated.
For the past 15 years, Dr. Palmer’s leadership has enabled the OPRC to help fund Red Ribbon Week activities in Baldwin County. Red Ribbon Week is recognized, nationally, as a way of honoring a Drug Enforcement Agent who was killed, in 1985, in a drug-related event. Prior to each Red Ribbon Week celebration, Dr. Palmer contacts each of the physicians within Baldwin County and is able to raise over $2,000 to be used within our school systems to promote the prevention activities that are a part of Red Ribbon Week.
In addition to providing resources for Red Ribbons Week, a small portion of the funds raised are utilized in the “Pull Tab” project, a collaborative effort of the ADPi Sorority at Georgia College & State University, the OPRC, the Baldwin Public and Private school systems and the local McDonald’s restaurants. The children collect the pull tabs from cans all through the year. The tabs collected are recycled with the money going to the Ronald McDonald House in Macon, GA. Three times during the school year, “Happy Meals” are delivered to the class, at each of the 5 elementary schools, who has collected the most tabs during a 9-week period.