MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (9/16/13) – In week nine of an ongoing series of informative meth-related articles supplied by Muhlenberg County Sheriff Curtis McGehee, the topic for discussion this week is starting drug prevention by beginning with our children.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to be positive when writing or speaking about methamphetamine. As mentioned in other articles, meth is dangerous and often ends up being the final drug that a user abuses. It is no secret that meth has scourged many rural communities. Deceptive, toxic, dangerous, evil, and a host of other words could be used to describe methamphetamine. The community seems to be somewhat aware of the evils associated with meth, and many citizens have a desire to engage the problem.
It has been reported that involvement in community based organizations are essential. I cannot overstate the significance of community wide projects. It is often these efforts that bring people and innovative ideas together that are used successfully at solving area wide problems. For example, Nelson Creek and Mill Port have recently begun Neighborhood Watch programs that are aggressively working to prevent crime, violence, and illegal drug activity in their communities; there are other communities that already had Neighborhood Watch in place. Others are involved in Celebrate Recovery meetings or Champions. While these organizations and others are crucial in the fight against meth; concerned individuals from the community must be innovative and involved in their own personal approach to drug prevention. For example, some concerned persons may not be comfortable in a large community setting, but might find that participation on a personal basis is somewhat easier. Some prevention experts believe that personal involvement is also more effective.
Perhaps you have considered being active in prevention efforts but you just can't seem to find a place where you fit in. Fighting the drug epidemic, and having a part in building lives, might not be as difficult as one might think. One specific way that we can all be involved is through positive influence. This is not difficult, nor is it costly, however it does take time. It might surprise many of us to find out how much positive influence we have on others by spending time with them. Certainly we can reach out to our own family, but we must not stop there, we should strive to impact others that may not be fortunate enough to have concerned family members.
Vicky Yonts and Gail Johnson serve as Mentoring Coordinators for the Muhlenberg County School system. These ladies know the power of influence and often encourage responsible and caring adults to get involved in the lives of youth in the area. In speaking with Yonts, she explained that mentoring has been proven to make a difference in the lives of children. She also remarked that “often children need a male or female figure in their life, and one hour a week on school premises can make a big difference.” Yonts pointed out that mentoring is not tutoring; it may involve activities such as basketball or other enjoyable events.
Johnson says that, “We can always use more mentors-we are now in the process of recruiting mentors for this year.” She hopes that anyone that feels passionate about this issue will contact her or Yonts for additional information. Both Johnson and Yonts agree, that in addition to being helpful to the children, those who mentor find the experience very rewarding.
Of course there are other avenues of mentoring, but working with the school system seems like an almost perfect situation. Often those who work with our children on a daily basis are able to determine which children are in need of special consideration.
Perhaps your work schedule or other activities may prevent you from working with children during school hours. Consider other options; there are opportunities to get involved in various youth organizations. If you cannot be directly involved, then encourage children and youth to be involved in productive activities and organizations that encourage good decision making. There are many organizations that encourage youth to make good, positive decisions; and many of the people which lead those organizations do so because they want to be a positive mentor. So encourage youth to connect to church, school, and, or community youth groups.
While we may never keep every person from making bad decisions, we can make a difference. It is important for all concerned citizens to be involved in positive influence.
For additional information about mentoring, please contact Vicky Yonts at 270-543-0255 or Gail Johnson at 270-338-2871 Ext. 39.
To report illegal drug activity in Muhlenberg County, please contact Central Dispatch at 270-338-2000 or online at www.muhlenbergcountysheriff.com.
Information provided Sheriff Curtis McGehee (Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Office)
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