Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition hosted three afternoons of fun and safe activities for 420 7th grade students last week from all six Rockwood middle schools. Students from Crestview, LaSalle Springs, Rockwood South, Rockwood Valley, Selvidge and Wildwood middle schools enjoyed food, fun and games at Sports Fusion in Chesterfield and at RiverChase in Fenton. Students from Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette and Rockwood Summit High Schools were partnered with the 7th graders. Activities included laser tag, dodge ball, kick ball, basketball, rock climbing, volleyball, swimming, miniature golf, an inflatable obstacle course, indoor slides and board games.
“Early release days can be high risk periods for middle school youth if parents are at work or children head to parks, malls, fast food restaurants or friends’ homes without adult supervision,” says Renee Heney, coalition director, in a news release. “Our goal was to provide a fun and safe alternative for students. High school students served as mentors and helped us convey the importance of making healthy choices and not bowing to peer pressure to do things that seem dangerous or unhealthy.”
The events not only provided a fun and safe activity for 7th graders, but also provided leadership opportunities for high school students involved in the coalition’s RHORS youth group and other organizations such as National Honor Society, Key Club, JROTC and Equity Club. A Rockwood Summit mentor was embarrassed to admit, “We got schooled in kick ball. We are definitely going to have to practice before the next match-up.”
Federal Drug Free Communities grant funds were used to cover costs for this and many other programs provided by the coalition. “Middle school principal support was instrumental,” said Heney, “as was adult chaperone time.” Similar events are planned for next semester.