Students from Portage got creative with drug prevention. They took to the parking lot to fill spaces with drug free messages.
The students are part of the art club in the district and volunteered their time after school to participate. 8th Grader Ashlyn Alexander said, “Well, I love art and I’ve known people who have died from drugs and stuff so i’d kind of like to prevent that from happening to anyone else.”
The school partnered with SKILLS of Central Pennsylvania and Remembering ADAM Inc. for the project. The goal is to have a creative way to educate kids on healthy choices as well as drug prevention.
Remembering ADAM President Debbie Fowler explained, “We let them set their own message about not using drugs and what it’s not good to use drugs. Therefore, prevention was created by them, and to me there is nothing better.”
Fowler believes leaving the messages and designs up to the students helps engrain the lessons of drug prevention. She said, “The whole time they are doing this they are thinking ‘Don’t use drugs. What’s my message? If i’m going to talk to my siblings, my friends, what messages am I going to send?’ They created this. To me, that’s prevention and that’s going to stick with these kids.”
The two groups say they were encouraged by the way school districts in the area are showing enthusiasm in the cause. They say projects like this show that there is hope in the fight against the opioid crisis.
Kelly Coldren, director of SKILLS of Central Pennsylvania, explained, “The only way to create change is to have all of the community come together. We all have to stand up and say we’re willing to fight this battle and give a positive message to people and a vision of hope.”
While these pieces of art may be temporary, Remembering ADAM Inc partnered with Mainline Pharmacy in Downtown Portage to offer up 18 parking spaces for students to paint with similar drug free messages. That project is scheduled to take place in the spring.