By AMANDA ARNOLD
Like most areas, Southern Indiana is not immune to youth abusing alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Grassroots Prevention Coalition of Clark County will hold its annual Tragedy 2 Triumph Walk at Perrin Park in Jeffersonville for the purpose of celebrating Clark County youth who are drug free. The walk serves as a kick-off to the Red Ribbon Week, a week-long celebration of drug-free youth. The walk in particular is for the purpose of raising funds for scholarships for students at eight schools in Clark County.
“The Grassroots Prevention Coalition is a coalition that fights substance abuse with youth in Clark County,” said Mary Watkins, Grassroots Prevention Coordinator. Watkins explained that the coalition was founded eight years ago, but was out of commission for two years due to funding issues. The group now has a Drug Free Community Grant, and will soon be sustainable from a community basis.
Watkins hopes that $10,000 will be raised between the day of the Tragedy 2 Triumph Walk and April 1.
“It’s to support our youth that are making the decision to be substance-free,” said Watkins.
In order to be considered for a scholarship, a student must be a senior who has made good choices to stay substance free, is planning to enter the social sciences and is active in the community.
Last year, the walk attracted almost 100 people, and this year there are hopes for 150 to 200. The walk will include vendors, barbecue, Zumba and door prizes. The ROTC Color Guard will be participating.
In addition, Carole Vissing of Perkfection Cafe will speak of her experience with losing her son Kyle to an intoxicated driver six years ago. Last year, Kathy Gatz spoke about the tragedy of her son, which occurred within six months of Kyle.
“The walk is a great idea. There are a lot of tragedies in the area, and [it helps] to see how families continue,” Vissing said. “I just wish it would make more of an impact with the young people. It does at first, but then they go back to their usual ways. I wish there were tougher punishments, instead of things getting pushed under the rug.”
It isn’t too late for groups and individuals to sign up for the walk this Saturday. The minimum sign up fee is $20, and the 5K Tragedy 2 Triumph begins in Perrin Park at 9 a.m.
Throughout the year, the Grassroots Prevention Coalition works with other events in the area including the Neighborhood Initiative that supports neighborhood associations in National Night Out, and it works with a health initiative with Clark Memorial Hospital in the form of an assessment tool for at risk youth. In March, the coalition will hold its annual thank you breakfast.
SO YOU KNOW
• WHAT: Grassroots Prevention Coalition of Clark County is sponsoring Tragedy to Triumph: Overcoming Addiction walk
• WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 20, at Perrin Park, Perrin Lane, Jeffersonville.
• HELPS: Proceeds from the 3.1 mile walk/run will create scholarships for Clark County youth.
• INFORMATION: Call 812-288-6451, ext. 2271.