Students encourage minors to say 'No' to drinking

Diners entering Red's Old 395 Grill Saturday were greeted by students with a smile, a candy cane and a message: If you're an adult, don't drink and drive; If you're underage, don't drink at all.

Members of the Stand Tall, Don't Fall -- United Against Underage Drinking clubs from Carson Middle School and Carson High School will be at Red's in Santa hats again today and next weekend. Santa himself will also be there for free pictures.

Greeting diners and handing out candy canes in Santa hats from noon until 1 p.m. Saturday were Sarah Kiser and Stevi Tatham, both 12.

"The ones for the adults say 'Happy Holidays -- Drink wisely,'" said Sara.

"And the ones for the kids say 'Be Smart, Don't Start,' doing drugs and alcohol," Stevi said.

Santa was also there for photo opportunities with parent volunteer Pam Lim, wife of Red's 395 owner Al Lim, taking photos with a digital camera. She then printed them out in color on a Hewlett Packard printer the Parent Teacher Association bought for Santa photos at the High School Crafts Fair.

"We encourage people to do the pictures right away when they come, that way we can get them developed while they're waiting for their food," Lim said. The Lims' daughter, Kathryn, is involved in the Stand Tall, Don't Fall program at Eagle Valley.

The idea spread to the club at the high school, which is new this year, and students from both schools took turns doing one-hour shifts as greeters.

"It's a good community service project they do," Lim said.

She said that out of 900 students at Eagle Valley, only about 25 are involved in the club.

"It's a shame there's not more of them," she said. "They meet every two weeks, they get to eat and there's a late bus to take them home."

Stevi Tatham said for food they get "sub sandwiches -- sometimes."

Red's manager Matthew Bain was suited up as Santa and perched in chair for free photos. Red's connection to the high school goes beyond the weekend Stand Tall, Don't Fall club activities, according to Bain.

"Fifty to sixty percent of our greeters and bus staff are from the high schools," he said. "Mostly Carson but a few from Douglas."

As Santa, he said the most frequent gift requests were pet cats and Rapunzel Barbie dolls.

Parent volunteer Pauline Kiser said she appreciated being able to use Red's for the activity.

"Without community partners like Red's we couldn't get our message across," she said.

Red's General Manager Donn Leyba was glad to have them come in and see the lavishly decorated restaurant.

"You see the kids come in here and they just look around and stare," he said. "It's awesome. We really enjoy it."

Hannah Lang was active in the Stand Tall, Don't Fall club while she attended Eagle Valley Middle School, but when she went to Carson High School this year she found there was no such club -- so she started one.

"We didn't have one at the high school and we wanted to start one because we thought it would be good for the high school as well," she said.

She had to go in front of the Carson high student Council and tell them her mission statement in order for the group to be accepted as an official club. She feel there is a problem with drugs and alcohol at the school.

"Drugs and alcohol and just stupid decisions," she said.

Her club, which will be holding a rally at lunchtime on Friday in Senator Square, gets funding from fund-raisers and the state Stand Tall, Don't Fall organization.

Her co-greeter, Heather Walent from Eagle Valley, said she volunteered at Red's Saturday "because I'm drug free and I want to show it."


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