Monday, October 5, 2015

A Good Surprise

People close to me know that I do NOT like surprises. This probably makes me a boring, predictable person, but it is good for business. An exception was made over the weekend when my wife and I were surprised by a visit home from our oldest son. We then attended our youngest son's college cross country meet for the first time AND we surprised HIM by bringing his dog. Surprises are not all bad I guess!

Student is Generous: West Genesee Middle School eighth grader, Erin Byrne, surprised the community with her generosity. She took $200 she raised collecting cans and bottles this summer and bought 60 tickets for the annual Joseph's House car raffle. As Erin wasn't technically old enough to win the prize, she wrote her last name down on the tickets and her family agreed that Erin would decide what to do with any winnings.

She has been volunteering at Joseph's House with her mother every Thursday, and if she won they had decided to donate the car to Joseph's House. We congratulate Erin's parents for raising such a selfless child, and Erin herself for representing herself, her family, and our community in such a positive way.

Weekend Events: The weather held out for the Tournament of Bands and the Sports Boosters golf tournament. Both are significant fund raisers for the fine arts and athletic departments respectfully, but more importantly both events bring the community together for our students. Thank you to all of the volunteers and organizers!

Students Learn about Government Participation: This week I will be visiting with all Participation in Government classes. Participation in Government is a course taken by seniors (my own senior class in 1989 was the first class to have to take "P.I.G") that helps to give students a last and hopefully lasting framework about the status of current issues in government.

I have spoken to Participation in Government classes since 2000, and each year I have spoken about school government, issues facing students, and have then taken questions from students about any topic. I would not pass up these experiences for anything and you might imagine that I have heard a variety of things over the years!

Community Coalition Addressing Drugs: You might remember from last year that we started a community coalition to help educate community members about the dangers of drug use, addiction, and the resources that are available. Our coalition has members from school, local, state, and federal government, business, law enforcement, nearly every clinical organization, parents, and students.

Right now the focus of the coalition is on heroin abuse and addiction. While other topics are dominating the headlines, our community (and every other) is being impacted by heroin. Like many drugs, heroin has no typical user and overdoses are becoming more commonplace. Our emergency officials have saved many people from overdoses with a drug called Narcan, but that is not the long term solution.

My fear as a coalition member is that heroin will make its way into our schools (recent statistics show heroin use to be most prevalent in people ages 18-26). Heroin is cheaper and easier to get than alcohol or marijuana and addiction comes quickly.

We are preparing a larger community forum to be held in January 2016 with some of our members who are experts in the field. There will also be smaller "Town Hall" type meetings leading up to the larger forum.

Thanks for reading and for your support. Have a great week!