Students ready an anti-drug message

WEIRTON – Area fifth-graders will be packing an anti-drug message when they head back to school this fall, courtesy of Never Alone West Virginia and its community partners.

Drawstring bookbags and supplies with the “Never Alone WV/Supporting A Drug-Free Community” logo will be distributed to fifth-graders attending Weir Middle, Oak Glen Middle, Follansbee Middle, Wellsburg Middle, St. Josephs School and St. Pauls School.

Never Alone President Patti Barnabei said their community sponsors – WCDK-FM, Weirton Medical Center, Ohio Valley Optimal Health Care, ArcelorMittal, Chaffin Luhana LLP, Donvernon Heating & Cooling and M. Ragan Sales and Service – teamed up to educate children about the importance of saying no to drugs.

“(WCDK-FM) partnered with us, and we were able to get sponsors to donate money to purchase an item in the bookbag,” Barnabei said. “The River got us the sponsors to help fill the bags and is (advertising) their businesses and the upcoming rally. Each of the sponsors paid for their advertisements.”

Weirton Medical Center supplied the drawstring bookbags with the Never Alone WV logo as well as the hospital’s. Additionally, WMC allowed the group to post bulletin boards in the hospital to encourage a drug-free community.

“The boards are our new way to gather donations to help others,” she said. “We have them each Friday night at the Weirton Event Center. There is a donation jar, and we ask each citizen if they would like to sign the board. After they are filled, we’ll bring them up to the medical center to display.”

She said WCDK-FM supplied them with 25 bulletin boards for the fundrasier.

Ohio Valley Optimal Health Care’s Matt Nardone purchased water bottles, while ArcelorMittal supplied folders with pamphlets detailing the signs of addiction and what to do if a problem is detected. Chaffin Luhana LLP provided hand sanitizer for each child, while Donvernon donated telephone-shaped magnets with contact information for important resources, like rehabilitation programs, poison control and emergency personnel. M. Ragan Sales & Service School Kits supplied pencils and erasers with a case.

“We will be giving out the book bags with supplies in August when the fifth-graders come back to school,” she said. “All fifth-graders will receive a bag.”

Never Alone’s rally is set for Aug. 17. Serving as master of ceremonies will be Kevin Elias, and the Rev. Ed Rudiger of Cove Presbyterian Church will deliver the opening prayer.