Our Past | 1994: Waterville Together for a Drug Free Youth

Selected by Karen Larsen

The following excerpts come from an article about Waterville Together for a Drug Free Youth printed in the Dec. 1, 1994 edition of The Empire Press.


Waterville Group Takes on Tough Issues for Youths

By John Human

TV commercials show “successful” people having a great time while using alcohol. Commercials that follow show car wrecks pointing to alcohol as the cause. The confusing and contradicting messages spin youth around worse than a bad hangover.

In Waterville, a group is spreading a message they hope will clarify the whole issue.

The group, Waterville Together for a Drug Free Youth, is raising conscious awareness on issues of illegal use and abuse of alcohol and drugs in general.

Jim Rogers started the program about two years ago when he moved to the Waterville area from Spokane and accepted the call to pastor the United Lutheran Church.

“Naturally a lot of the focus of our discussions and programming is on the public school. The administration and the teachers have been very supportive of our efforts to bring awareness of abuse to our youth and community,” Rogers said.

Waterville Together has sponsored the “Bong Show” — a drug awareness program for adults at the school. Rogers spoke at the high school graduation in 1994 which was helpful in introducing the community to the program. The Together group gave six $200 scholarships to seniors who were alcohol and drug free. More scholarships will be available for 1995.

Currently there is a program for extra enrichment afterschool for elementary latchkey kids. Funding for that will come through a private organization. Since last year, the Together team has developed a program where the students will sponsor and show videos over our Channel 8, the community station, raising awareness of drug and alcohol issues. Commercials about the detrimental effects of use and abuse will be telecast during Channel 8 sporting events of Waterville High School. Mr. Doug Padden, a Waterville teacher, supervises this school program.

Padden pointed to a few programs that have been successful at helping alleviate boredom amongst the youth.

“The weightlifting program has become a great success. There is a lot of excitement going on right now,” Padden said.

Two students who were involved in the weightlifting program last year received trips to Philadelphia. Jody Flaget and Shannon Ludeman went on the four-day venture where they learned about drug and alcohol awareness. Padden hopes that experiences like that will lift the program and get more students involved.