ELKINS - With bitter cold temperatures seemingly on their way out of the area for the time being, staff from Youth Health Service and the America's Promise Coalition are looking forward to entering reopened Randolph County schools and educating youth on how to make good choices.
Sarah Adkins, family service specialist and options coordinator for Youth Health Service, had scheduled this week to travel to various schools throughout the county for the first-ever Drug Facts Week in Randolph County, a program devoted to educating students how to be drug-free using a decision-based curriculum.
Unfortunately, due to winter conditions and school closings, the activities did not begin on Monday as previously planned. But Adkins is undaunted by the weather or the delay in the program.
"We're working with schools to reschedule the events and get in the schools as soon as possible," she said Wednesday. "We still have plenty of activities planned for students in schools throughout the county."
The program will be adapted depending on the grade level of the students. Elementary schools will participate in a poster contest with the theme of "Better Choices, Better Life." One poster will be assigned to each classroom and, when completed, entered into a contest.
"We aren't focusing on specific drug information in the elementary schools, but rather on broader decision-based activities," said Adkins. "We are trying to teach them that decisions have positive and negative consequences and how not to give in to peer pressure."
The middle school and high school program will feature an information booth about the dangers of drugs. Students will be given goodie bags centered around the goal of remaining "above the influence" and making good choices.
"We are going to have them write facts about drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and give them prizes," Adkins said. "We will take that information and see what they know.
"It will allow us to know if we should possibly do additional outreach and encourage positive choices."
Youth Health Service serves Randolph, Upshur, Pocahontas, Barbour and Tucker counties. Adkins says that if the program is successful in Randolph County, the goal is to implement it in the rest of the counties.
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George said Wednesday he is willing to work with the Family Resource Network and Youth Health Service to incorporate drug education. He said he plans to work to reschedule the Drug Facts Week curriculum as quickly as possible.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.