(Fort Myers, FL) – Hanley Foundation, a leading provider of substance abuse prevention programming in Florida, joined with the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida to reach nearly 800 fifth-grade students during the annual Drug House Odyssey, one of Southwest Florida’s largest impaired-driving prevention events, held on January 30, 31 and February 1, 2018.
Hanley Foundation provided a $2,000 sponsorship for the event, one of several Coalition events sponsored annually by the Foundation. The Odyssey was held at the Lee County Civic Center, where volunteer guides took the fifth-grade students on the walk-through Odyssey, a dramatization of an evening where three teenagers eventually make the fatal decision to drink and drive. The reenactment is conducted by local high school students, with the help of Lee County law enforcement, EMS and retired volunteer officers.
Once students viewed the reenactment, Hanley Foundation prevention specialists met with each class to process the drama, discuss positive decision-making and to give students the chance to commit to refusing to ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. As further testament to their commitment to sober living, students had the opportunity to sign their first names to a #REFUSE poster.
“The Drug House Odyssey event makes a real impact on this age group of students,” said Kevin Mace, West Coast Regional Prevention Coordinator for Hanley Foundation. “The impaired-driving dramatization captures their attention with its realism, but also raises important talking points that our specialists can then reinforce with our prevention messaging.”
Fifth-grade students from 11 Lee County elementary schools participated in the event, which included a tour of a medivac helicopter to help bring the Odyssey dramatization and consequences to life, as well as a Family Night open house the evening of the 31st. Teachers were provided with informational posters to take back to their classrooms to share the message of substance abuse prevention with all students and other educators at their schools.
Established more than 30 years ago by Mary Jane and Jack Hanley, Hanley Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides programming and grant support for statewide substance use disorder advocacy, prevention, education, and access to quality treatment. The Hanley Foundation has changed the conversation surrounding substance use disorders, their prevention, and their treatment. For more information about Hanley Foundation, or to request free prevention programming for a school, church or youth group, please visit www.hanleyfoundation.org or call 561-268-2355.