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Stay sharp for life

By Staff | Feb 25, 2011

FBLA students from Muncy High School presented a check for $200 to the Teen Challenge program. Standing L to R: Adrian and Sean (last names cannot be disclosed) from Teen Challenge, FBLA students Mackenzie Ruby, Joseph Myers, Evan Artley, Teen Challenge interim leader, Robert Diaz, Jr. and Heather Zimmerman, FBLA student advisor.

MUNCY – Muncy FBLA students awarded their fundraising efforts with a $200 check to Teen Challenge USA, a world-wide program originally founded in 1958 and offers a faith-based solution to drug and alcohol abuse.

The students first heard the hard-hitting, high energy prevention message at a convention they attended in State College in the fall according to student advisor, Heather Zimmerman. They raised the money by selling carnations two weeks before Valentine’s Day.

“Although the money could be used for their FBLA conference in the spring, the students wanted to give their money to a charitable organization, and so they chose Teen Challenge to bring it to their school,” said principal, Tim Welliver.

‘Stay Sharp: Think About It’ is made to engage, educate, equip and empower kids explained Robert Diaz, Jr. interim leader for the state program from Teen Challenge. “It is important that our peers experience this,” said Joseph Myers, student president for the FBLA.

With vivid testimonials on the causes and effects of using drugs in their lives, students watched a short video, while two volunteers and former drug users, from Teen Challenge shared their stories of grief and degradation. “Stay clean and sober because you can make a choice,” said Diaz.

Diaz, a former user himself admitted he did not think about the consequences. “We were just having fun,” he said as he related his story of jail time, losing his daughter, and near death occurrences.

Some startling facts were revealed to the students. 51% of students have tried an illicit drug before finishing high school, 300,000 people 12 and older use meth every year. 49% of prisoners commit their crimes because of drugs or alcohol. It costs anywhere from $150 to $200 a day to maintain a heroin addiction.

Prescription drugs are often the worst to be abused. “I would do anything to get them,” said Sean, one of the guest speakers from Chicago. He said he abused steroids at the age of 13 so he could be a better athlete in high school. “But it was only reflective. I later went on to pot, then ecstasy, and by the time I was 18, I was homeless, and traveling across the country looking for that high.”

“You will end up in jail if you keep doing drugs,” he told the high school students. After a suicide attempt, he said he ended up with Teen Challenge which brought on a cheer of applause from the student audience for his road to recovery. “If I save a life today from doing drugs, then my purpose for coming here has been fulfilled.”

Adrian, 33 from Georgia, started using drugs at 15. He lost all scholarships to play football in college and wrestling. “When you do drugs, it takes so much out of you,” he said whose drug of choice was cocaine. He ended up in jail for serving drugs to an undercover cop. Fortunately, he courts directed him to Teen Challenge in exchange for curt time. He said the judges wanted to give him 120 years but gave him 50 instead if he would participate in the program. After 10 months in jail, he was released and became a spokesperson for Teen Challenge.

“The drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and the abuse can stop now while you are in school,” as he encouraged the high schoolers not to drop out of school because drug addiction can lead to crime. “With drugs your problems will only become more magnified leading to more failures,” he told them. “Don’t ever drop out. Finish school. Go to college. Stay sharp,” concluded Diaz with an upbeat rap song.