Marion, OH Lodge News

District No. 6840


Tuesday, April 22, 2003
It's tough enough for parents to lecture their children about the evils of drugs. For the past decade, Marion Elks Lodge 32 has helped adults educate youths by providing drug and alcohol literature.
The Elks club recently donated thousands of pieces of literature to benefit local schools, the recreation center and the juvenile detention center.
Shasta Scharf, in her third year as chairwoman of the Elks drug awareness committee, is continuing a 12-year drug awareness program tradition for the Elks.
"We do this every year for the teenagers and youths," Scharf said.
For teens, the Elks features brochures with information about club drugs, smoking, alcohol and all other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Younger kids have access to coloring books, and teen-parenting literature also is available.
This is the first year Marion County has operated without a Drug Abuse Resistance and Enforcement program, so Scharf says she has to wait and see which direction the Elks will take.
The Elks provided 14 boxes of various types of literature, ranging between 2,000 and 5,000 pieces of information per box. This alcohol, smoking and drug literature is distributed throughout Marion County and Marion City schools.
"This information is not as detailed as our literature we sent to the juvenile detention center," she said.
Russell Craig, program administrator for the Marion County Juvenile Court, oversees the Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Prevention program in Marion. He said the program is a joint effort between the juvenile court, the police department and the Marion City Recreation Center.
He said the AOSAP program started in January 2000, and there are two separate programs for juveniles. One is for drug and alcohol offenders. The second is geared to habitual drug and alcohol offenders.
"We've done really well because of the successful completion of the program," he said. "The numbers were good. I'm really happy with the program."
Jeannie Brewer, director of the Marion City Recreation Department, said the department has been involved with the AOSAF program since its inception.
"The first thing to do, especially, is to address the needs of the youths," Brewer said. "I think it's building a lot of trust issues with trusting adults in gaining insight in themselves. I think it's a worthwhile program."
Brewer said the participants are assigned by the juvenile court with separate programs for the boys and the girls. Along with Heather Cochran, Brewer is one of the facilitators at the rec center.
The AOSAP started as a 22-hour program, meeting every month. Now it offers weekend and once-a-week programs.
The numbers vary, depending upon the traffic going through the juvenile court system. The program rotates, and once a juvenile completes the 12-week program, it doesn't mean the staff starts over with a new 12-week session. The juveniles' completion of the program is staggered.
"The kids I see in the program just need someone to listen to them and not be judged," said Brewer. "And they don't judge each other."

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