As part of “Red Ribbon Week” that focuses on drug awareness, the Rotary Club of Monteagle/Sewanee hosted “Don’t Meth With Us” programs for fifth graders at Cowan, Monteagle, and Sewanee elementary schools. Instead of just saying, “Don’t do drugs,” this program focuses on the dangers of methamphetamine or “meth,” which has been an ongoing problem in the tri-county area.
The programs were led by Rotarian Heather Olson accompanied by a new Power Point presentation. In addition, Tabatha Curtis, of the Franklin County Drug Coalition, Del Thomasson of the Tennessee Meth and Pharmaceutical Task Force, and local police personnel addressed the students. Del Thomasson, along with the Cowan and Sewanee Assistant Police Chiefs, seconded Heather Olson’s admonition to avoid picking up bottles and back packs that they may find on the ground with demonstrations of the contents of back pack Meth labs. The presentations not only focused on prevention but alerted the students to community resources that can intervene to help both meth users and their families.
At each session, students were given a yellow T-shirt emblazoned with “Don’t Meth With Us” with a broken heart in the center, designed by an MES student during the first year of this initiative. In addition, each student received a key ring and fob. On the front is the Rotary symbol while the reverse side is imprinted with the Rotary “Four Way Test” of the things that we say or do. They include, “Is it the truth,” “Is it fair to all concerned,” “Will it build goodwill and better friendships,” and “Will it be beneficial to all concerned.” As a bonus, Del Thomasson passed out empty backpacks to the students. The programs were well received by the students, teachers, and administrators. Needless to say the students were quite receptive to receiving the T-shirts, key chains, and backpacks.
Rotary Club members Bill Davis, Heather Olson, Barry Rollins, and Bob Askew led this initiative with support of Sewanee professors Jessica Siegel and Karen Yu.
This is the third year of this program and we are most indebted to our community sponsors who have underwritten this activity. They include Citizens Tri-County Bank, Citizens State Bank, Mountain Valley Bank, First Community Financial, Gooch/Beasley, Mollica Construction, Mountain Outfitters, Monteagle Piggly Wiggly, University Dental Associates in Sewanee, Sewanee Family Practice, Sewanee Pediatrics, Duck River Electric, and S.V.E.C.