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    Texas Counterdrug Guardsmen support Blanco Middle School CoAPT coalition event

    Texas Counterdrug Guardsmen support Blanco Middle School CoAPT coalition event

    Photo By Capt. Nadine Wiley De Moura | Sgt. David Dillon facilitates a pedal-cart race with Blanco Middle School students....... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Nadine Wiley De Moura 

    Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force

    BLANCO, Texas--- Five members of the Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force joined the Blanco Coalition of Awareness, Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse’s community effort, ‘May Madness’, to educate and provide substance abuse prevention resources to roughly 250 students, May 24, 2019, at Blanco Middle School.

    The event featured fun-filled activities, educational vendors, snow cones and popcorn to raise substance abuse awareness and provide a comfortable forum for students to interact with the Blanco Coalition of Awareness, Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, also known as the Blanco CoAPT, coalition and community members.

    “Our whole goal here is to provide resources and information about drugs and alcohol and some fun things so that they can have a fun free day where they are around members and volunteers of the coalition,” said Amber Newby, project coordinator for the Blanco CoAPT. “We want the students to get to know us and have conversations with us.”

    The task force members provided Texas National Guard pedal-carts and facilitated a race for the middle schoolers while sharing tips on healthy ways to spend their time.

    “We spoke with the kids about staying away from drugs and abusing substances,” said Tech Sgt. Jesus Hernandez, a civil operator assigned to the Blanco CoAPT. “Our goal is to help coalitions and support the community in leading kids in the right direction.”

    The Blanco CoAPT, is one of nine coalitions--with an outreach of 2.7 million people--which the Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force supports as part of their Civil Operations program.

    The Civil Operations program consists of Soldiers and Airmen from the task force who coach, train, facilitate, coordinate, lead and support coalitions and community-based organizations to make community change that will directly impact high-intensity drug trafficking areas.

    “It’s awesome to have the Texas Guardsmen here because they see them as role models,” Newby said. “A lot of them want to go into the military as a career option and this gives them an opportunity to interact and bond with them, and ask them the questions that they have.”

    In addition to task force members, the Blanco CoAPT, also coordinated with the Young Women’s Christian Association, a meditation and mindfulness professional, the local sheriff’s office and the Child Advocacy Center to provide a variety of vendors that could provide resources for the middle schoolers.

    “Our vision is to keep Blanco youth safe and a drug and alcohol-free,” Newby said. “That is what we stand by. We want them healthy in all aspects so we asked different vendors to come so that there are different aspects of keeping them healthy.”

    The Blanco CoAPT is made up of 12 sectors from the community: youth, parents, law enforcement, religious organizations, businesses, civic and volunteer groups, media, schools, healthcare professionals, elected officials, state and local government, substance abuse organizations, and youth-serving agencies.

    The coalition focuses on underage drinking, marijuana use, methamphetamines, and misuse of prescription drugs.

    “The way our coalition runs we have business, healthcare professionals, sheriff office members and the police station involved,”Newby said. “We feel like we must all work together to solve this issue and by having them here the kids build positive relationships with the law enforcement community. It is good for them to see that they can go to them if they need help and it’s not a scary thing anymore.”

    Lori Anderson, a parent teacher organization member and mother, said that the event brought awareness to the students about the coalition and the support that exists in their community.

    “We have been having informational forums about vaping, marijuana and alcohol use,” Anderson said. “My hope is that they take in the information and see the importance of why we are here and that we want them to stay safe and healthy.”

    Hernandez, who recently stepped into the title of civil operator for the Blanco CoAPt, said that he also took a lot away from the event.

    “It is was a good experience to participate in the community and make an impact on the kids by helping steer them in the right direction,” Hernandez said. “I want to continue to be involved and assist the coordinator in any way we can. I look forward to getting deeply involved in the community.”



    Date Taken: 05.24.2019
    Date Posted: 05.29.2019 17:35
    Story ID: 324422
    Location: BLANCO, TX, US 

    Web Views: 51
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