Bloom-Vernon Elementary School is taking action to make sure its students know the risks of underage drinking.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and fifth- and sixth-graders at Bloom-Vernon will spend the week participating in a program called Reach Out Now. The program, which will be presented in schools all over the country, is aimed at teaching children the effects of alcohol on the body and identifying positive alternatives to drinking. The local program is sponsored by The Potter's House Ministries.
Principal Scott Holstein said Bloom-Vernon decided to take on Reach Out Now because the D.A.R.E. program was cut from the curriculum because of the cost.
“It's an opportunity to provide some type of awareness about alcohol use,” he said. “I think it's a good thing.”
Fifth-grade teacher Cindy Delabar and sixth-grade teacher Gregg Smith will teach the lesson plans, provided by Scholastic Inc. and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Delabar said other resources will supplement the materials, and the alcohol awareness message has been incorporated into the school curriculum.
“I'm really glad we started it,” she said of the program.
Parents also will receive the Reach Out Now materials in order to continue to educate children about the dangers of alcohol.
According to Casper, Ohio ranks second in the nation for underage drinking.
“You never know when kids will be approached by someone trying to give them alcohol,” said Delabar. “The sooner they know the facts, the better decisions they'll be able to make.”
EMILY SALMON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.