Special to the Nor’Wester
Central Health has teamed with RCMP’s Cpl. John Butler of Western Newfoundland’s Drugs & Organized Crime Awareness unit to bring a unique drug awareness activity to the high schools of the Emerald Zone. This activity is called The Amazing Race/Maze and was developed to engage youths in a drug education activity and was specially designed as an interactive game so that students could have fun and at the same time educate themselves about drugs and learn how to make good choices in life.
Joanne Kelly, a youth outreach worker with Central Health, along with Corporal Butler, brought the program to Indian River High on Thursday morning for the grade 7 and 8 classes. Joanne recruited twenty volunteers from various local organizations in the area to assist with the activity. She said that the community involvement was great with volunteers from the local RCMP, Springdale Fire Department, Committee Against Violence, Public Health Nurses, teachers, guidance counsellor, Child Youth and Family Services, ICECAP, the Pentecostal Church and students, all stepping up and volunteering their time to assist with the activity at the school.
The twenty volunteers acted at facilitators, manning the 20 stations required for the game, with each station having a different educational drug activity on various drugs including marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy, tobacco and energy drinks. Students were divided into teams of 4 and were provided a template for the game. Teams moved from one station to the next given a short amount of time at each one to complete the activity assigned. The team with the most correct answers after moving through all 20 stations won the race. The stations were set up with enough room between each one so that the students could move between them comfortably and were unable to hear what was going on at the next station. After completion of the game, Corporal Butler gave a short lecture and presented gifts to the winning teams.
After finishing up at Indian River High, Central Health and Corporal Butler proceeded on to Velmont High School in Kings Point and at some point in time over the next couple of months, they will bring this engaging activity to every high school in the Emerald Zone. We are the 2nd region to bring this activity to the schools. The West coast completed the program back in November last year.
Calvin Whalen, Guidance Counsellor for both Indian River High and Velmont High thought it was a good hands on approach to learning how to make good choices in life and added, “It was a very educational activity, a lot of fun and students were engaged in it. It was paced really well so as not to lose the interest of the students.”
Joanne Kelly said “In my position as a youth outreach worker with Central Health, our focus is on drug prevention so early intervention is very important.” She also added that Central Health would like to see this activity offered to Grade 7’s every year.