GREENVILLE — Members of Darke County We Are the Majority held their second annual Majority Awareness Walk in downtown Greenville Monday morning.
Greenville mayor Steve Willman, Darke County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Whittaker, Greenville police, and Darke County Commissioner Matthew Aultman were all on hand for the event, in which students from Greenville, Tri-Village, Ansonia, Arcanum, and Mississinewa Valley schools, along with those from neighboring counties, walked from the Annie Oakley statue at the south end of Broadway to the fire station garage at the Greenville city building in order to promote awareness of drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free activities among local youth.
We Are The Majority is an after-school leadership program organized by Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio. The program is open to students throughout Darke County, and focuses on teaching young people to encourage their peers to live drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free. Activities organized by the group include after-school study sessions, art classes, and a summer camp.
Any student who is drug and alcohol free is able to participate in the program, the driving focus of which is to promote the fact that, despite the significance of opioid use among children and teenagers, the majority of students are not abusers of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
Kelly Harrison, of Recovery and Wellness, took the opportunity to thank the assembled students and other community members for their support of the We Are the Majority program.
“You all are helping to make a better future for Darke County, and I’m very proud of that,” Harrison said.
Harrison also announced the group’s new Drug-Free Driver Discount Program, in which Darke County students between 16 and 18 years of age can volunteer to take a free drug screen. If they pass, they’ll be issued a card entitling them, among other perks, to a discounted rate on motor vehicle coverage at their local American Family Insurance office. The card lasts six months, and can be renewed periodically until its owner finishes high school.
“We really wanna get the momentum going about people being drug-free,” Harrison said.
Mayor Willman, who walked alongside the Majority students, signed a proclamation making the first week of April Majority Awareness Week.
“I appreciate the support of the family and friends who brought everyone out here today,” Willman said. “This is such a great cause.”
Greenville High senior Grace Coakley read the proclamation, saying it was important to get the word out that so many students are willing to do the right thing.
“One of the most common misconceptions of society is that young people are continually making bad decisions,” Coakley said. “Research consistently shows that a majority of students do not use drugs or alcohol.”
Finally, Deputy Whittaker spoke about the importance of spreading We Are the Majority’s message.
“If we want to stop this culture of drug abuse that has creeped into our community, that starts with you,” Whittaker told the assembled students. “I want you to think of things in terms of inclusion, rather than exclusion. If you see someone sitting by themselves, maybe someone who’s new to your school and hasn’t yet made any friends, invite them in.”
Resources for battling drug abuse can be found at Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio’s intake line at (937)423-3423.