Fair focuses on drug-free, anti-bullying lifestyle
BROOKDALE – Grade 5 students across Cumberland County were given learned to growl at bullying and drug use, thanks to local emergency responders, community groups, businesses and the Amherst Lions and Lioness clubs.
© Christopher Gooding photo
Like the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” the groups and organizations out there for Cumberland County’s children came together under one roof to host a Healthy Choices fair at the Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale. On hand for the day included (from left) Amherst Lion Tom Fisher, Lioness Mary Black, Amherst Police’s Tom Wood, Amherst King Lion Phil Baxter and Cumberland RCMP’s Travis Dow.
The drug awareness and anti-bullying day was held Monday, Nov. 4, at the Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale, where more than 10 organizations and businesses offered demonstrations and provided information to students about making healthy choices in life, among them saying no to drugs, exercise regularly and speak out against bullying.
Amherst’s King Lion Phil Baxter said it was by design Grade 5 students were chosen for the information day.
“It’s an age where they get the most value. Peer pressure is starting now at Grade 5, Grade 6,” Baxter said. “They’re the most vulnerable of moving into a lifestyle that’s not healthy.”
The Healthy Choices fair has been presented at a number of schools in the region on an annual basis, with one school playing host and the other schools in the county being bussed the event. Firefighters demonstrate lifesaving equipment, police give guided tours of police cruisers and present students with information on what drugs are out their and give them tips on how to say no and make healthy decisions. Local organizations like Maggie’s Place brings students up o date with what programs are available at the family resources centre and a demonstration by Jim Ripley of JC’s Taekwondo addresses how martial arts is much about being active as it is as a self-defense.
And the art of defending yourself and others from bullying was another life-skill law enforcement were imparting on the students,
“Stand up, speak out,” Cumberland RCMP Const. Travis Dow said. “Walk away, seek help while your speaking out.”
Throughout the school year, RCMP and police work with area schools to spread the message against substance abuse and bullying and Dow says events like Healthy Choices are working.
“There’s been a lot of progress to give students awareness and the tools to help them make good decisions,” Dow said.