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Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Vision Kids Present Anti-Drug Message to Riverview

It was a RED LETTER day on the streets of Riverview on Saturday, October 24, 2009, as the DEFY Kids and the New Vision Youth Kids celebrated RED RIBBON DAY.

To see more pictures from the event, please click on Red Ribbon Day for DEFY-New Vision Youth Kids.

"Red Ribbon Day began as a way to remember the life lost, when a federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Agent) was tortured and murdered in the line of duty, on the Mexican border," Weed and Seed Coordinator Mary Alexander told the group of kids. "The commemoration spread across the nation, and today, we remember that in a week of awareness for children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse."

Kingsport's commemoration began with a march around the Riverview Neighborhood, with the kids chanting "No to Drugs," "Hugs, not Drugs," and "Keeping our Life Drug-Free." The march and parade drew curious looks from a group of Kingsporters playing touch football on the Douglass ballfield, but looks of encouragement from Riverview residents, whose homes were passed by the marchers.

"This means a lot to the kids," says New Vision Director Johnnie Mae Swaggerty. "Some of them have had family members involved with drug and alcohol abuse, and they themselves have been through the drug awareness classes that show them how dangerous the abuse can be. Today's program reinforces that belief that they have to take a stand to be drug and alcohol-free."

After the march around the neighborhood, the program began in the Fresh Start office conference room with skits done by the kids, all of them with an anti-drug, anti-alcohol abuse message. The kids enjoyed reciting what they had learned, in real- life, real-time situations that they might come across every day. "Somewhere in all of that," says Johnnie Mae, "they may pick up something they can carry with them the rest of their lives."

Earlier, the kids had written essays proclaiming their commitment to living drug and alcohol-free lives, and winners were selected from the entries. "The essays were wonderful," Mrs. Alexander told the group. "Jeannie Hodges, Paul Montgomery and I read them and judged them for originality and expression, and we were pleased with them.

Below are the essays, as read to the group by the winners (these have been edited for spelling):

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (1st Place) from Xena Huff, 12 years old. (Xena was absent today, her entry was read by her friend, Briesha Camp):

"When I grow up, I want to go into the Armed Forces. I am going to an NCIS. In order to fullfill my academic dreams, I must be DRUG FREE. If I am drug-free, I can keep my head on. I can use my brain and do what must be done. And what must be done is my future. And my future is drug-free. I know if I'm not drug-free, I will get in trouble and there goes my life and my future. I wish everyone could be drug free. I am drug-free and will always be drug-free. I pray to God that you and everyone else will become and life drug-free. DRUG FREE IS THE KEY!"

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (2nd Place), by Brandon Pruitt, 5th Grade:

"I DO NOT want to do drugs because it will hurt my lungs, KILL me. I can also cause lung cancer and brain damage. Here is a list of drugs:
1. Cigarette--it can cause young fingers.
2. Alcohol--can kill you and cause pupiness and make you crazy.
3. Tobacco--can make you have black lungs.
4. Marijuana--can cauxse lung cancer, liver cancer, brain damage, lupiness and craziness.
Now that is wny I don't want to drugs because it can kill you and it can affect the pepole and our children and our future, so people, quit doing drugs and you may change our future. And this is coming from Brandon K. Pruitt, a drug free kid and I am a member of DEFY, Drug Education For Youth, and New Vision Youth."

DRUG FREE MY FUTURE (1st Place, Middle School) from Ayleanna Camp, 6th Grade:

"In my future, I want to do all kinds of things, but if I do drugs, my future is ruined. Can you keep your balance when you're high? I know that I can't. That will mess with ballet. Plus it will mess with my education, too. There are many more things that drugs can mess up. Including how long you live. All drugs can kill you. The first time you take them, because your body isn't used to the drug. So you r body doesn't know how to fight off the drugs. That is how you can dit the first time. I don't want to shorten my life. I want to live as long as possible. There are people who have trouble saying no to drugs. Well I can say no in a heart beat. So I can do any thing I want to do. I will probably need to find new friends. Good ones at that. So now, do you see why I can't do drugs and how it will mess up my future. I hope you will take my advice and not do ddrugs. You don't want to mess up your future, do you?"

DRUG FREE, MY FUTURE (2nd Place, Middle School), by Diamond W., John Sevier:

"In my future, I want to be a lawyer. Never, ever do drugs, it is an awful, awful thing to do to our bodies. Smoking can make you do things you will regret later on in life. Smoking also damages your lungs and makes it harder for you to breath. They also make your teeth yellow and your breath smell bad. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy. In cigarettes, there is this tuff nicotine that makes smokes addicted. If you smoke, it hurts people and also can kill you. It isn't the last cigarette that kills you, it is the first one. I promise to you and my family."

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (3rd Place, Elementary School) by Kimne

"My future is to be drug free because your teeth are yellow and your nails turn down. That's why and you can die. My grandma did it. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I love you."

Also receiving a special award, was Cassie Russell, 2nd grade, Elementary essay.

The kids were also given pledge cards for home and school, displaying that they are drug free. "You may be young," Mrs. Alexander told the group, "but when it comes to those kinds of detrimental things, you have to make your own decisions because it's your life that it will destroy."