POMEROY, Ohio — The bleachers at the Hillside Stage during the Meigs County Fair were filled with people during the daytime portion of the inaugural “Drug Prevention Day.”
The purpose of the event was to educate the community about the drug addiction problem within the area and empower Meigs County’s youth with resources, helping them make positive choices.
Several local volunteers, community members, and organizations worked together throughout the year to provide this event. Organizations involved included the Drug Prevention Coalition, Meigs County Family and Children First Council, Meigs County Fair Board, Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, Meigs County Health Department, OSU Extension, Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney and the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.
The theme of the day was “be present,” and speakers included Javier Sanchez, former OSU wide receiver Jamal Luke, West Virginia Batman, and Wonder Woman. The event was emceed by Rockin’ Reggie, with Athens County DARE Officer Jimmy Childs (DJ Enforcer) being the D.J. The children who stayed “present” during the event had numerous opportunities to win door prizes and all of the youth were provided with free giveaways. Also, during intermission between speakers, the youth enjoyed competing in dance battles for prizes.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” said Sanchez as he placed his finger on his cheek while at same time telling the audience to put their fingers on their chins.
“It doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what you do.”
Sanchez explained to parents in the audience how much influence their words and their actions have on their children. The way an adult acts in situations, can directly correlate to their children’s daily actions.
Sanchez discussed the struggle of individuals’ “fear of failure and pressure to perform.” He explained in school and even on social media, youth today feel a constant pressure and stress to perform. At times, this pressure can be simply about how many “likes” one is getting on their social media “selfies.” The individuals facing a failure to perform can lead them into making unhealthy choices said Sanchez.
The “Be Present” campaign was made “for young people, by young people” commented Sanchez. It is a way for youth to learn how to live above the circumstances in which they are put. Sanchez encouraged the youth to like the Facebook page, “Be Present Ohio” so their time lines would be filled with positive feed. The “Be Present Ohio” campaign was designed to support youth across Ohio who are dealing with several sorts of issues with the mission in mind to educate and empower all individuals to step up and “be present” for others facing challenges.
Following Sanchez, Luke discussed with the youth their innate abilities and how they have the potential to be great.
“Always realize you are created to be great,” said Luke, “I challenge each and every person…you are created to be more than average.”
Rounding out the event, West Virginia Batman and Wonder Woman took the stage, discussing the four steps to take in order to achieve greatness.
“Never give up,” said West Virginia Batman, “life is not going to be easy, it is not going to be fair, no matter how many times you’ve been let down, you can’t be a quitter.”
He encouraged the youth as well as everyone else in the audience to “give it everything you got” in life and if dark times befall them, “change that mess into a message.” While overcoming struggles, always remember to do the right thing.
West Virginia Batman addressed the adults in the audience, explaining how many adults will blame a negative portion in their lives for their inability to flourish in it and when doing this, impacting the youth around them. He challenged the adults to step up and take responsibility. He had the parents in the audience take an oath, highlighting the fact they are the very first hero in their children’s lives.
He explained how important it is for everyone to “have guts” in order to have the courage to stand up for what is right and while doing this, help the people around them.
“The more great things you do for others, the more great things that will happen in your life,” he stressed.
He encouraged everyone to wake up each day, asking themselves what they can do to help someone.
He then addressed the parents, advising them to teach their children the importance of making a legacy for their lives. He encouraged the youth to leave a mark showcasing all of the help they provided to people around them.
“Doorways will open for your own life when you help other people,” he added.
While everyone is overcoming struggles in their lives, doing the right thing, and helping other people – they must also remember to never be a bully.
West Virginia Batman explained the importance of keeping an eye out for those around them, on both the bullies and the bullied, commenting, “everyone deserves respect.”
He encouraged everyone to be a leader in their lives and how important consistently caring for others truly is, he challenged the youth to be the change in their generation and not fall into the traps of addictions and achieve the greatness in their lives they deserve.
For those interested in becoming more involved with drug prevention strategies in their community, the Meigs County Drug Prevention Coalition holds meetings the fourth Wednesday of each month, 12:30 p.m. at the Meigs County EMS station.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333.