Teens have fun, learn dangers of drinking

First Posted: 11/15/2009

Im not gonna throw my life away.
That was the message from Peace of Mind, a local band comprised of students, the youngest of whom is 9, as it debuted its latest single and first music video at Saturday nights Project Night.
The band took to the stage for two sets during which members debuted some new songs and played well-known covers including Lynard Skynards Sweet Home Alabama and AC/DCs Back in Black.
The performances were just one aspect of an evening filled with fun and entertainment and designed to stress the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the three-hour event held in the Reeves Community Center gymnasium, public service announcements created with the help of community center users and students from Mount Airy Middle School were aired on a large screen. The announcements dealt mainly with the dangers of drinking, asking people if they knew their number based on how many drinks a person can consume within a 24-hour period, as well as the importance of being healthy and active.
Project Night was the second event held by Project: Connect the Dots, which is supported by funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. The project stresses the message of drinking responsibly by connecting the dots to determine the number of drinks a person can safely consume in a 24-hour period.
The evening also featured a climbing wall, an inflatable bounce house, corn toss and drunk driving simulators for both children and adults.
Its fun, said Jarred Jenkins, a Mount Airy Middle School student. It helps to get the point across to kids dont drink and drive because its a bad choice.
Id probably bring some other friends, said Isaiah King when asked if he would come to another event.
The children participating in the simulator were overseen by Kelly Hiatt with the Mount Airy Police Department. The adults were sent outside to the parking lot connected to the center by a tunnel to take part in the Governors Highway Safety Program Expo display. The 53-foot custom-built trailer includes seven interactive driving simulators similar to the racing games found in arcades. However, once behind the wheel, the driver is handicapped with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08, the legal limit.
After choosing a city or a country road setting, the participants are then unleashed to follow the course. After having to avoid collisions with deer, tractors, pedestrians and other vehicles, the simulator scores the driver on performance, detailing how many times they were exceeding the speed limit, were following too closely, used their turn signals incorrectly and may other faults.
The climbing wall was a popular stop for children and adults alike as the three courses remained full throughout the night.
Were having a blast, said Jalene Drummond as she watched her daughter scale the wall. I think its a lot of fun and its got a good message. Its good for kids to be taught these things.
Students from J.J. Jones Intermediate School led a Zumba demonstration during the event. The demonstration, which the students learned just a few days beforehand, showed how easy Zumba is to pick up and how it promotes an active lifestyle.
Both area Food Lions got in on the act for this even, providing cheese and fruit trays, cookies and bottles of water for those in attendance.
Its a great community event for us to help with. We like to be involved in any community activity. Its a great event, said Rondale Ratcliff, district merchandising manager. This is all stuff we have available for the holidays.
For more information about Project: Connect the Dots, visit the programs Web site at www.projectconnectthedots.info.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

comments powered by Disqus