ARCANUM — For Hailey Sager, a sophomore at Arcanum-Butler High School, it feels good to help others.
“When the kids come out, they are so happy,” said Sager, who plays a significant part in the school’s We Are The Majority leadership program for students in 7th-12th grade with a focus on peer-led drug and alcohol-free prevention for their younger counterparts in 2nd to 6th-grades.
Sager joined We Are The Majority in seventh grade, recalling how the group taught sixth-grade students life lessons. Over a year later, the group hosted their first Y-Night with fun activities that included swimming and basketball at the YMCA of Darke County in Greenville.
However, it was in eighth grade that Sager came up with her first program idea, a color war (picture dodgeball but with powdered paint in water balloons) with Franklin Monroe students. It was an opportunity for not only a little fun competition between schools but to encourage fellow peers to form their own We Are The Majority chapter.
Sager also participated in an assembly to invite students to join the program and gave a speech to peers during an event held at the roller rink.
“The nice thing about Arcanum is they get the big picture,” said Kelly Harrison, a Student Success Liaison for Tri-Village and Arcanum-Butler schools. “We don’t want drug prevention silos. We want to work together.”
The Arcanum school We Are The Majority chapter leaders are under the direction of Harrison, who shared how the students create evidence and education-based programs and community events to keep kids busy and active. The education components include topics such as conflict resolution and how to say no in dangerous situations.
“They look at what is going on in schools, current concerns,” said Harrison. “They choose topics on what they see and work towards trying to educate younger students so they can have a better life.”
Harrison explained how the program began approximately six years ago, with only a community group of five students. Then the schools jumped on board.
“Because students often listen to other students more than they do adults, once they are a certain age,” continued Harrison, which results in something akin to positive peer pressure and building relationships with fellow students.
Harrison noted how Sager understands and appreciates how the struggles become more prevalent in high school and often comes to the liaison with ideas.
“I’m proud of her efforts for doing activities and events for students,” said Harrison, who was preparing that afternoon to work with a junior high student who came up with an idea for a kindness club.
“I feel like the students are on fire with all these ideas to make a change,” continued Harrison. She went on to share how Sager, active in cheerleading, developed a We Are The Majority Cheer Day. The event offered various stations with not only drug and alcohol-free education components but also cheer and dance-related activities.
Sager has even more ideas under development.
“I want to target younger groups, like kindergarten,” said Sager. “I feel if they learn about it in kindergarten, they’ll have the idea that it is bad [earlier].”
When asked what she may say to encourage others to participate in We Are The Majority, Sager responded, “It just really feels good when you get out there and help others. It makes you feel like a better person like you helped the generation coming.”
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email email@example.com. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.