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      'Tomorrow's Future: Today's Youth'
'Awareness' Picnic Focuses On Kids

 


Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders presents the first-place prize for the first COMBAT Drug Awareness Poetry Contest to Alyssa Ann Marie Rogers of the Independence Academy. She wrote "Good Day Mom."


   

SEPTEMBER 15, 2009 -- The focus was on children during the 15th COMBAT "Annual Drug Awareness Picnic" September 12 at Hill Park in Independence. The picnic featured a "Tomorrow's Future: Today's Youth" theme.

Approximately 500 people attended the event hosted by COMBAT. It was held in conjunction with the 20th Annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, which the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsors each September.

The picnic centered around youth battling their own addictions or whose lives were impacted by the drug use of their parents or other loved ones. Those in recovery received treatment through agencies funded through the Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax (COMBAT).

Read the first-place entry in the COMBAT Poetry Contest



COMBAT Picnic

Good Day Mom
By Alyssa Ann Marie Rogers

Why were you never there as I lay and cry?
Mom you said you wanted to but I think that's a lie...
We used to wait for hours hoping you would come...
But all those hours wasted feeling really dumb...
Mom we were just kids...
We don't understand...
We didn't understand why you left us...
I'm so glad we had them...
They made it all worthwhile...
With every hug and kiss and every little smile...
I act like it didn't hurt but mom that is a lie...
And everyone would know it...
Everyone but I...
And mom now don't you see...
I'm done with all this play...
I gave you your last chance...
I'm sorry now to say...
I love you...
And good day...

Jackson County voters first approved the COMBAT tax in 1989 -- before many of the participants in Saturday's picnic were born. County Executive Mike Sanders pointed out that COMBAT funding has allowed the County to be a national leader in preventing and treating drug use, while also prosecuting the manufacturing and trafficing of illegal drugs.

Drug crime is on the rise nationally, but in Jackson County the prosecution of drug crime has dropped 6 percent.

"We are bucking the trend," Sanders said, "and this is one national trend you want to buck."

Sanders presented the first-place prize to the winner of the first COMBAT Drug Awareness Poetry Contest to Alyssa Ann Marie Rogers of Independence. The 17-year-old wrote about the impact her relatives' addiction to methamphetamine had on her life.

The volunteer committee that organized the picnic included officials from several local law enforcement agencies. D.A.R.E. Officers from the Independence, Blue Springs and Lee's Summit Police Departments participated in the program. A dog with the Independence K-9 unit also performed a demonstration.

Prevention and treatment agencies that receive support from COMBAT and took part in the picnic included: Old Northeast, Guadalupe Center, Children's Mercy Hospital Teen Moms program, Whatsoever Community Center, Benilde Home, ArtsTech and NCADD.

It was a perfect day for a picnic. Everyone enjoyed free hot dogs, cotton candy and ice cream. On top of the food, the Fort Osage High School Band kicked off the event, and children were able to play in the inflatable playground. Overall, it was a great day for the community and allowed COMBAT to educate and draw awareness to the trends revolving around crime and drugs in the County.

 
           
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