The Right Path for Washington County continues to remain busy with many upcoming activities throughout the school year.
The success of our school year activities can only be measured through our many youth and adult volunteers and community partners.
Every year, several Marietta College students, under the leadership of Arielle Jennings, believe that prevention of drug and alcohol use/abuse has helped them achieve their goals and they are willing to promote their messages to other students in our community. "Make a Difference Day" projects abound on the third Saturday of October, but for Red Ribbon Week planners, their projects span weeks before and for a full week after this day of service. They worked with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Marietta Middle School and St. Mary Parochial promoting the message that you don't need drugs and alcohol to have fun and you can't let drug/alcohol use/abuse get in the way of achieving your dreams for your future. These Marietta College students shared with middle school students why this project was so important to them and why it's important to be a good role model. Thanks to these college student role models for their commitment to Red Ribbon Week: Johnie Ferrell; Alex Jurgens; Katie Buchanan; Adaleine Jackson; Keenan Hamilton; Jenna Skoglund; Rebekah Wood; Maggie Watt; Cheyenne Ruiz. Thanks to Marietta Middle School Principal Will Hampton, SADD Advisor Lori Amrine, Student Council Advisor Lisa Polk and St. Mary Principal Rita Angel for their willingness to work with us as we continue to promote healthy youth development.
As a wrap up to Red Ribbon Week we partnered with the Washington County Sheriff, Memorial Health Systems, RSVP at the O'Neill and the Area Agency on Aging for the National Medication Take Back Day. Over 700 pounds of drugs were collected at five sites throughout the county and picked up at the end of the day by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). This is a means to dispose of unused, outdated medications and keep them out of the hands of those that would abuse or resell them and proper disposal ensures the safety of our environment and drinking water. You can drop off expired, unused medications anytime at the Washington County Sheriff's Fourth Street location.
Kudos to our school service clubs: SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) at Marietta High School; Belpre Elementary sixth grade Right Choice Club; Fort Frye High School Cadet's For A Cause and student council, National Honor Society, Leo Club, Spanish Club and Key Club at Waterford High School and their advisors for countless service projects they take on for the good of their communities. Marietta High School SADD students dipped ice cream for root beer floats for United Way and are planning a Dodge Ball Tournament to benefit the Gospel Mission Food Pantry. Belpre's Right Choice Club has an ongoing food drive for Belpre Area Ministries and made posters for the Great American Smoke Out, partnering with Wendy's and Selby's Tobacco Prevention Project. Thanks to Washington County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Board and the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services we held a Youth Leadership Summit at the K of C Hall that brought sixth- through 12th-grade leaders from every school district in our county with additional projects being planned with service clubs in every school. These include, but are not limited to, additional food drives, coat drives, trainings for more youth leaders and standing up for more tolerance of fellow students in their home schools. The message that we can all be leaders was embraced by all attending the summit.
Our second annual Matt Fourman "Snowflake Ball" will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. Sunday Jan. 1, 2012. New this year is our location, as we partner with Stacy's Dance Studio, 205 Pike St. Held in memory of Fourman, we continue to promote prevention, advocate for treatment and support recovery, as he did, with thanks to Rosie Fourman for supporting the effort of The Right Path. Open to all area high school students, $5 per person. Semi-formal dress is optional, but fun! Mobile Jams Entertainment, Bob and Don, will play your favorite music and snacks and drinks will be available. The event is hosted by Marietta High School SADD students.
Band Fest 2012, Friday, Feb. 3, Washington State Community College Graham Auditorium promises to be our best, yet! Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8/adults in advance, $10 at door; $3/students in advance, $5 at the door. This event is titled, "The Story Behind the Music," and features local talents.
High Schools that Rock under the direction of Mark Doebrich is a free music program open to students in grades one through 12 throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. HSTR strives to develop the students' appreciation of music while building personal confidence through public performance. HSTR has been the opening act for the yearly blues festival held at the Lafayette each March, sponsored by Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society of Marietta. Parkersburg High School students, under the direction of Tim Spindler, will showcase their talents as well.
Mike Morningstar and Rick Roberts: Morningstar began playing guitar at age 12. At age 16, he kicked off his professional career when he joined a rhythm and blues soul band. His recording was a 45 rpm titled, "Buffalo Creek," released in 1972. Mike has opened for artists such as Doc Watson, Marshal Tucker, Vince Gill, Pure Prairie League, Dan Seals and Mike Cross. Morningstar is known for his own handmade instrument he calls the "electric hickory stick." This instrument was developed as a result of a bad case of cabin fever. It consists of a bowed piece of hickory limb with one string and an acoustic microphone. Rick Roberts plays mandolin, violin, bass and electric guitar while adding harmony to Mike's voice. He has performed with numerous blue grass groups including Gold Grass and the Roberts Brothers Band with his brother Randy. Roberts performed in Nashville for 14 years and played on numerous album projects as well as several television shows including the Ralph Embry Show. "Like" The Right Path on facebook and find out more about our events and how you can get involved.
Righditarod 2012 will take place on Saturday, March 3, 2012, the kick-off for the Alaskan Iditarod. Think about forming a team now and be part of the greater good, helping our area food pantries while having more fun than you can imagine! This is The Right Path's annual "race against hunger" and involves shopping carts and costumes instead of dog sleds. If you missed this last year, you won't want to miss it again.
Cathy Harper is coordinator for The Right Path for Washington County, a United Way Agency.