Youth lead effort to create a drug-free community

Run/walk fundraiser will be held Saturday

What: 5K Run/Walk for Prevention

When: Saturday, at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Fair is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Skyridge Middle School, 5220 N.W. Parker St.

How much: $5 for youth, $15 for adults, and $30 for families

To register: Register by going to www.active.com, or e-mailing Sondra Storm at Sondra.storm@esd112.org. Day of event registration will also be available.

Contact: For more information about the race, visit www.preventclarkcounty.org.

What: 5K Run/Walk for Prevention

When: Saturday, at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Fair is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Skyridge Middle School, 5220 N.W. Parker St.

How much: $5 for youth, $15 for adults, and $30 for families

To register: Register by going to www.active.com, or e-mailing Sondra Storm at Sondra.storm@esd112.org. Day of event registration will also be available.

Contact: For more information about the race, visit www.preventclarkcounty.org.

One step at a time, local kids are working to help steer their peers clear of alcohol and drugs.

“It’s about trying to help kids who are abusing drugs or have family problems,” said Skyridge Middle School eighth-grader Micaela Healea. “As you get into high school, there will be temptations. We would rather save a kid than lose a kid.”

With that goal in mind, Healea is one of many Skyridge students who are helping to organize the second annual 5K Walk/Run for Prevention. The event will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. A community fair with resources and activities for youth as well as youth performances will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Pre-race activities will include yoga and Zumba.

The entry fee includes T-shirts for the first 500, as well as water, snacks and admission to the fair. Area business have donated a variety of prizes for a raffle including passes for Oaks Park and Bulwinkle’s amusement parks, and swimming lessons at Lacamas Swim and Sport.

Linda Hutchins is the Skyridge prevention/intervention specialist and coordinator of the Skyridge Prevention Team.

“The community fair is all about healthy youth activities that people can take part in,” Hutchins said. “Kids are always being told what they shouldn’t do, and what is bad for them. We thought, let’s focus on something that is good, something that is healthy.”

The purpose of the walk, which is being organized by the PREVENT! Coalition and Community Choices, is to celebrate community and healthy living in Clark County and bring awareness to the importance of substance abuse prevention.

PREVENT!, which stands for Prevent, Reduce, Educate, Voice, Empower, Nurture and Transform, is a local substance abuse prevention coalition working to make Clark County drug-free. The non profit group that formed in 2005 includes parents, youth, business owners, medical professionals, and representatives of government and faith-based organizations.

Planning for the event, which last year drew more than 500 people, began in January.

“I would never have been able to do this without the kids–they are awesome,” Hutchins said. “They’ve got so much energy and have great ideas.”

The eighth-grade advisory committee members agreed that working together was the most enjoyable aspect of being part of the Prevention Team that is assisting in the coordination of the walk and community fair. The most challenging? Motivating their fellow students to share their enthusiasm.

“Getting students to come, that’s the hard part,” said Kaitlyn Pellens.

Participation from students, teachers and the overall community will be a key factor to the overall success of the run/walk and fair, as proceeds go to help fund prevention activities, including scholarships, workshops and putting on the fall prevention summit.

“We want it to be open to the whole community,” Hutchins said. “It’s an awareness event.”

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