GREENVILLE — Kelly Harrison, prevention specialist with the Recovery & Wellness Centers Midwest Ohio, brought along several Greenville High School students to the annual banquet of the Darke County Shelter From Violence Inc. Monday evening.
Letting the audience know about Darke County We Are The Majority program were senior Kayli Duncan, junior Molly Hunt and sophomore Bethany Potter, mentored by Harrison. Also helping to pass out brochures was Chloe Cox, another member of the group and daughter of Aaron and Michelle Cox, owners of Montage, where the banquet was held.
This group of young people represents the majority of teens who choose to live positively by making drug and alcohol-free, socially conscious choices, it was reported.
The majority of youth in Ohio, aged 12-17, are not participating in substance use and physical violence, but are leading the way in promoting mental health wellness. Those benefiting from their assistance are students in grades 3-6.
“We deal with divorce, pregnancy, addiction and we do a lot of life skills teaching,” said Harrison. “We work out of the treatment program at 600 Walnut St., in Greenville. Drugs are everywhere; we wish they were not. These are kids doing good, positive things.”
According to her, Darke County Recovery Services acquired Darke County Mental Health a few years ago.
“I have been in We Are the Majority for three years,” said Hunt. “I joined We Are the Majority because I don’t use drugs and alcohol and want to be a positive role model. We review some not-s0-good life choices and do a lot of community service. We work with children. The program is all over the county. We do many training leadership activities. We Are The Majority is a state initiative and we started with six kids from Greenville. Now we have 50 members.”
Duncan has been with We Are the Majority since its inception with Harrison.
“My experiences are different because around junior high age I had to decide who I’d hang around with,” Duncan said. “I saw a negative impact on some of the older peers. I got connected with Kelly through a friend and we do a lot of fun activities. We had a camp, peer-led, and taught them alternatives, how to share and get along with others while doing these fun things. I hope it catches on to others in the community. We do like to show the good they’re doing by what’s happening in the community.”
Duncan said she and Harrison have written a lot of grants, and have been awarded some of those grants to keep the program going.
“Joining We Are the Majority has given me so many opportunities,” Duncan added.
Potter pointed out that she has helped with the 4:15 to 5 p.m. study sessions, which teach life skill with a fun game to go along with it.
“We work with the Tri-County Mental Health Board and kids in Shelby, Miami and Darke counties actually go to the board meetings,” Harrison said.
When asked what they thought the major issues with young people nowadays is, Hunt responded. “The kids we have deal with have home and friendship problems.”
“Our groups are very diverse,” Duncan added.
In order for youth to get involved with We Are The Majority, parents’ signatures are needed.
“Anybody can be a member as long as they are not using or abusing,” Harrison emphasized.
“We reach a lot of different kids,” Hunt said.
Harrison said programs are done in the summertime as well.
“We do exercise, go to the pool and Molly ran an art program,” she said, adding, “I’m paid but it’s pretty much all volunteer.”
The group is now planning its second annual camp for second- through sixth-graders. Camp Majority will be held June 13-16 from 9:30-3:30 daily. Call or message Harrison to secure a child’s spot.
“Slots are already filling up fast,” she said. “We are taking $5 donations per child this year if you are able to support the program. This will help us buy more drinks, etc. to hydrate the kids during the week. Camp details will be available for pick-up mid-May. I will keep you posted as the leaders complete the event planning. Last year, we ran our camp on $200; 26 kids for four days.”