Anti-drug message can be heard in the strangest places

There's a convincing school of thought that the meth problem in our community can't be solved from the interior of a police car. In other words, if the "no-tolerance" policy advocated by the local meth coalition is going to be heard, it's going to have to be shouted from all over our community.


Even the back room of a grocery store.


That's what's going to happen on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Grocery Outlet.


Owner David Cox and his wife, Lynne, will be using the extra room to host a drug-prevention program. And you can't get much more grassroots than that.


The idea came about after Cox asked members of the Sheriff's Office to talk to his 20 employees about the drug problem in the community and what parents need to know.


"Then I thought my customers would probably like to be educated as well," he said.


The timing is perfect, following last week's presentation of "Crystal Darkness," an anti-meth documentary that featured people from Carson City.


But Cox and the Sheriff's Office D.A.R.E. officer Lisa Davis have long worked together on drug issues.


When Davis talks to middle school students at the Boys & Girls Club, for example, he's brought snacks for the hungry kids (he began doing it after he learned she was spending her own money on food for the kids).


"We've all got to reach out," Cox said.


That free program will begin at 1 p.m. and run until 3 p.m. The store is at 1831 N. Carson St. There will be time for questions and answers, and you'll even be able to enjoy refreshments.


As for the D.A.R.E. program, it's going strong with Davis and her six volunteers. They spend 10 hours with each fifth-grade class and graduate more than 600 students each year.


The Cops and Kids program that uses the D.A.R.E. curriculum holds open houses and other events, including a spaghetti dinner on Feb. 20 so kids can sit down next and get to know officers.


"They all feel like they own a little of the Sheriff's Department," Davis said.


And, actually, Davis prefers to be called Deputy Lisa, in line with Sheriff Kenny Furlong's goal that every student know at least one officer by their first name.


She laughs about an experience at the Boys & Girls Club when one of the students reminded her she had promised to play tetherball. So, even though she was in uniform, she kept her promise and mixed it up with her young opponent. Another student noticed, walked over, and, in total seriousness, asked her if she shouldn't be working rather than playing.


The irony, of course, is that Deputy Lisa was probably accomplishing more by playing tetherball than if she were giving a speech on drugs.


She's learned in three years on the job that to be effective, she has to build relationships with the kids and show them she cares.


She can't play tetherball with all of the kids, nor even remember their names. But it is satisfying when a student comes up to her after recognizing Deputy Lisa long after they've graduated from D.A.R.E.




•••


Speaking of changing young lives and having fun at the same time, I received an e-mail this week about Trent Dolan. Most of you already know him as the son of longtime columnist Bill Dolan. He and his sister, Sue Ballew, now write the "Past Pages" column for the Appeal.


Trent is now on an around-the-world cruise with a mission of helping down-and-out kids. He's in Acapulco now, and on his way to San Diego.


It's called the Raymarine Lively Lady Project and, according to its Web site, "offers young people who, for whatever reason, have not had the best start in life, a chance to turn their lives around."


If sailing a leg on an around-the-world trip on a 36-foot yacht doesn't do it, probably nothing will.


The Lively Lady is scheduled to make 27 stops on her voyage, and its crew will change at each stop.


If you want to learn more about his voyage, visit http://livelylady.net.


Trent first sailed on Washoe Lake in Nevada as a teen, then Lake Tahoe. He writes on the Web site: "I became interested in the project while researching a degree at Portsmouth in Marine Biology (on yachting).


"I do believe this to be a life-changing experience for me and those around me. Many, many, people are watching me as I grow to meet the challenge of sailing part way around the world. For them, and my participation, I am grateful."


A friend of Trent from Northern Ireland, George Condell, sent us the e-mail, and included the note, "It's a shame Trent's Father died before seeing his Son's participation in this Challenge."


We'll keep you updated on Trent's progress.




• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. Contact him at 881-1221 or bginter@nevadaappeal.com.

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