Knights reaching out to educate youth on substance abuse

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, March 4, 2010

Edwardsburg Argus

Teaching kids about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse is the purpose behind a poster contest being held this Saturday by the Knights of Columbus at Our Lady of the Lake Parish.

“The whole purpose is just to get the kids aware of alcohol and drug abuse and what it can do to families, communities and people,” said Philip Esarey, youth director for the group.
Children ages five to 14 are invited to come to the church at noon on Saturday to take part in an “informational meeting” and sign up to take part in the contest.

“We’re going to provide them pizza and while they’re eating pizza, we’re going to have a speaker from the Cass County Sheriff’s office talk about alcohol and drug abuse in the community,” Esarey said.

An individual who has experienced “personal struggles” with drugs or alcohol was also expected to speak, Esarey said. Though he had not finalized the individual at press time, he said he hoped to give the kids an idea of the experiences that person had been through whether having been someone who struggled with alcohol or drug abuse themselves or as a friend or relative of someone who had.

“The whole point was to find someone with a personal struggle be it a family member or himself with (his own) family and what happens to a family when someone has a problem and how they work through it and get out of it,” he said.

Following the presentations, kids will receive materials needed to create their own poster that deals with the theme of alcohol and drug abuse.

“(We’ll) pass out all the materials, crayons and poster board,” Esarey said. “And they’ll have two weeks to develop a theme and a drawing for it.”

Kids then can return to the church on March 20 and submit their drawings. Judging will be held on the same day. Esarey said there will be snacks available for the kids while their posters are judged.

Relatively newly organized, Esarey said it was a priority of the Knights of Columbus to become more involved in the community.

The poster contest, he added, is a way to get involved with the area’s youth.

“We need to involve the youth in our community to participate and see all the good things people can do for the community and make the community tighter,” Esarey said.  “Even though it’s a Catholic organization, we want it to be community wide.”