Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2003
Source: Midland Mirror (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Midland Mirror
Author: Janis Leering


With only one good arm, Sara-Jane Hortop still wasn't able to throw a
teddy bear into a waste paper basket. Even though her other arm was in
a sling, Sara-Jane's right hand wasn't able to hit the target.

It may seem like an easy task, but none of her peers were able to do
it either - when wearing special goggles.

But it wasn't her fault she didn't make the shot-the goggles simulate
what things would be like if she was drunk.

Many Grade 5 students in North Simcoe got a day off school this week,
even though they started school Sept. 2.

They were at the Midland Curling Club, to participate in the Race
Against Drugs with the local health unit and police services.

Approximately 650 students went to the event this year, and Carrie
Bourdon said it's an annual program to teach children about drugs.

"This shows them the ill effects of drug and alcohol use," said
Bourdon, public health nurse with the Simcoe County District Health

She said the students learn about being in control of their vehicle
while racing mini cars along a racetrack, and learn about smoking by
looking at a pig's lung after it was exposed to smoke.

"They learn their pharmacist is a role model, to ask about drugs, and
they also get to see a display of what some drugs look like. They
learn to eat well, be active, and learn that drugs are expensive,
which will affect other things in their life."

Bourdon said the program, which has run for a few years, does work to
teach the youngsters valuable lessons.

"They fill out an evaluation at the end, and kids this age learn
through fun. They are at school all day, but then they get to come
here where they do fun, interactive physical learning."

She said it's an unique experience for the children, and she is
surprised with what they say at the end. "They say they learned how
much drugs can cost, or how smoking can affect the lungs."

Officers from the Midland Police Service, OPP, Anishnabek Police, and
RCMP are in attendance, and often run the different stations around
the room.

"The students get a chance to see the officers in a community
atmosphere, and they ask them questions. That gives them visual impact
they need."

She said the idea for the program is to give students information so
they can make healthy choices in life. It's a base for what they will
learn next year, with a Values, Influences and Peers program.
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