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Do you have a student entering the fifth through eighth grade who is looking for a fun, learning activity this summer? Toole County Alliance for Youth is excited to offer a free event–Graffiti in the Park! It will be held on Wednesday, July 15, from 1-3 p.m., at Aronow Park. Space is limited to 20 participants and anyone wishing to participate needs to register by Monday, July 13. 

Alliance for Youth is offering this program in partnership with Miss Buxel’s summer program. To register, contact Alliance for Youth Prevention Specialist Mary Miller at (406) 564-0294, or Miss Buxel at (406) 450-8542.

Graffiti in the Park’s main focus is educating youth in fifth through eighth grade on the affects of marijuana and alcohol by providing information through art activities. 

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States by teens, as well as adults and after remaining stable for many years, daily use of marijuana in 2019 increased amongst students in eighth and tenth grades compared to 2018 rates. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance by teens and research shows that youth who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives. 

Those participating will make graffiti on canvasses of what alcohol and marijuana does to their brains once they have learned the devastating effects both substances have. There will also be a second project involving marbles. 

“The kids will be doing graffiti on poster boards that they can then take home with them or leave to be displayed throughout the community,” said Miller. 

“We will be focusing on the affects that both substances have on the developing brain, strength and potency of both substances, short and long-term consequences, identification and production and the effects it has on the overall health of your body. We will educate the youth on the risks, including potential for reduced school performance, reduced life satisfaction, decision making skills and impaired driving while under the influence,” she added.

Pepsi, the Toole County Health Foundation and TLC Catering are generously sponsoring the event. Robyn Kimmet, TLC owner and nurse consultant, will give a presentation on how addiction affects eating habits and how nutritional, healthy foods effect brain development.

“All the supplies for this event will be furnished, including paint smocks,” said Miller. “We purchased the supplies locally from the Smile Shop and owner, Lena Tronson, is generously donating masks for all those participating. We are limited to only being able to have 20 participate, so it is essential that anyone wanting to come, signs up on time.”

While high school aged students are too old to participate at this event, volunteers are needed and students interested in mentoring and in need of community service hours can volunteer to help out and receive community service credit. 

Another session of Graffiti in the Park will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 5, with interested youth needing to sign up by Monday, Aug. 3. Watch for more details.

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