By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, a local organization is conducting an alcohol awareness fair next month.
Mission Possible Coalition, the organization that is dedicated to decreasing substance use among youth in the community, will conduct the fair from 3 to 7 p.m. April 23 at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building.
"We're going to have informational booths set up for treatment, and awareness as far as buzz driving and drunk driving, and the contributing factors," said Robin Dodd, assistant director of Mission Possible Coalition. "We're looking for parents to hook up to services to help our kids stay on track. We'll provide information to parents that they didn't have before."
The fair is targeting youth between fifth through 12th grades.
While this will be the first alcohol awareness fair, Dodd said the group feels it is needed.
"April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the coalition is working to reduce underage drinking as well as working to promote parental involvement and healthy lifestyles. That is what prompted the coalition to provide the information to the community," Dodd said.
Dodd said the Mission Possible Coalition's campaigns have made a positive effect on the community through the years.
"We are working to reduce underage drinking at 10th and 12th grade, but we are also addressing sixth and eighth, because we know that's the onset for experimentation," she said recently. "We are working on parents talking to kids about not using alcohol or other drugs, and we're working on our social norms campaign."
The coalition works with local high school SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) groups or prevention teams to target the school or area's specific issues, Dodd added. In addition to the coalition's campaigns, it also partners with local law enforcement to provide four sobriety checkpoints per year, as well as compliance checks at local establishments.
Dodd said she is looking for a good crowd at the alcohol awareness fair.
"We would like to see a good 50 to 100 parents. Since this is the first time we're doing it, it's hard to predict. This is a different type of event, and will provide several activities for the children," she said.
For more information on the fair you may contact Dodd or Mission Possible Coordinator Celeste Robinson.