Lyon County students help those in need |

Lyon County students help those in need

Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

Darren Smith’s family is working hard to make ends meet this year, but Darren still finds time to work for others.

“It’s just my mom and me and my baby sister, and we’re struggling,” he said. “No no one really talks about it.”

He was among 14 members of the Stand Tall Don’t Fall group of high school and middle school students who worked to put together about 40 food baskets for the needy this week at the Dayton Community Center. The food was donated during a recent food drive.

Stand Tall Don’t Fall is a national organization of high school and middle school students who work to prevent drug abuse among their peers. There are chapters at Dayton High School, Dayton Intermediate School and Silver Stage High School, and these students work to help others and discourage drug use.

Lavurne Jeffreys, coordinator of the Stand Tall Don’t Fall for the Central Lyon Youth Connections and Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, said the Dayton and Silver Springs chapters partnered together to create the baskets.

She said 25 students at Dayton High School, 20 at Dayton Intermediate School and 15 at Silver Stage High School were involved with Stand Tall.

Darren, 14, and a freshman at DHS, said he enjoyed taking part in Stand Tall activities.

“I wouldn’t say I have nothing better to do with my time, but it’s better doing this than just playing video games,” he said.

He has also helped out at Stand Tall’s Haunted House this past Halloween and participated in an anti-drug balloon release.

“We had all these red balloons for drug resistance and we put in a note card about what your anti-drug is, and let them go,” he said. “Say you are about to smoke something, and your friend said, ‘Don’t do that, you’re better than that’ and your friend would be your anti-drug.”

Jeffreys said students gain valuable skills working with Stand Tall, including leadership skills, presentation skills and empathy for others less fortunate.

“They learn to write donation letters, they collect the stuff and they learn how to help people who come in for assistance,” she said.

She said this year the holiday food supply has doubled in need, and with the help of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and Central Lyon County Fire Protection District, kids from the three schools put the boxes together after spending a week collecting food donations.

She said in addition to individual donations, a large donation from Grocery Outlet was available.

The students are also collecting winter coats, which will be distributed during the food bank on Dec. 11.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.